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Recent civil rights losses and violations spur citizens to form Pueblo County ACLU Chapter

Local Puebloans Join Campaign to Demand the Facts

Responding to executive abuses of power and general concerns about the loss of civil rights, Pueblo and surrounding area residents are forming a Pueblo County ACLU of Colorado Chapter.

Warrantless wiretapping, presidential signing statements and the illegal collection of private phone records by government spies are examples of abuses of power grabbing both national and local attention.

More than 100 people packed the Historic Pueblo Union Depot on March 22 to hear about erosion of freedoms at a town hall meeting hosted by the ACLU of Colorado. The event stimulated a rush of area residents to form a local Chapter.

“After hearing about the executive branch’s flagrant disregard for our civil liberties and how our rights are being imperiled in Colorado, I wanted to be a part of an organization dedicated to protecting and defending my rights and the rights of all people” said Amanda Trujillo, Chapter Co-Chair. Three organizational meetings have been held since May to identify what projects the Chapter will work on.

Fifteen area ACLU members sit on the Chapter’s Board of Directors. They, along with the more than 250 other area ACLU members, have already hit the ground running by contributing to the ACLU of Colorado’s Demand the Facts petition drive.

When news reports revealed allegations about phone companies voluntarily sharing private phone records with the NSA with no court process ACLU affiliates across the country demanded action. The ACLU of Colorado formally requested the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Attorney General investigate. The CPUC elected to “defer” any investigation. The ACLU of Colorado then launched a Demand the Facts petition drive. Flanked by over forty ACLU members and staff, this morning Staff Attorney Taylor Pendergrass presented over 1,800 signatures to the CPUC demanding an immediate investigation.

The Pueblo County ACLU Chapter will continue adding strength to the ACLU of Colorado. It has identified several projects it will work on in the 14 Southeastern Counties the Chapter area covers. Education, Policy and Public Relations Committees have been formed to ensure success for each of the Chapter’s identified projects.

The new Pueblo County ACLU Chapter’s inaugural annual membership meeting will be held at the Pueblo’s Historic Union Depot, Wednesday, August 30, 2006 at 6:00 p.m. The public is welcome to come to the event to find out more information about the Chapter’s plans and hear keynote speaker, Lisa Graves, Senior Counsel for Legislative Strategy for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington DC Legislative Office. Ms. Graves is the lead ACLU staff person who defends civil liberties before Congress and the executive branch with a particular focus on the Patriot Act and post-9/11 policies.

About the ACLU of Colorado
The ACLU is a nationwide, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to defending and preserving the principles of the Bill of Rights through litigation, advocacy and public education.  The ACLU Foundation of Colorado works to protect the rights of all Coloradans.



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