Link to the LCCREF Criminal Justice Project, Wrong Then, Wrong Now, Racial Profiling Before and After September 11, 2001


About Freedom

What does it mean, "to be free"; to possess "freedom" has been discussed by philosphers for centuries. When I first started this section on freedom several years ago, I thought the answer was simple and straight-forward - at least for citizens of the United States. I was naive. I thought that the very idea of freedom was ingrained so deeply in all of us that there could be no question as to what freedom meant. No question that the idea and reality of freedom was at the core of being a citizen of the United States of America. Precious and vital, we knew that without freedom as we have always know it - we would cease to live, think and act as Americans. It has been our fight for freedom, the belief that we are free to think and act, to make out dreams and schemes become reality that is at the root of our success; politically, financially, in science and technology, in medicine and management as well as it the root of our compassion toward and care for our fellow travelers on this planet.

The freedom we continue to fight for is not merely personal freedom to come and go, to be all onto ourselves, independent of the need for others. Our pursuit of freedom has been tempered by our recognition that we are not alone, that as citizens of this country, our communities, and our families our freedoms are informed by our responsibilities. The information and links below are to people and organizations who seek to protect the freedom we have won and to fight against those who seek to constrict our freedom. JT

Protecting Your Freedom & Rights

MoveOn ( is working to bring ordinary people back into politics. With a system that today revolves around big money and big media, most citizens are left out. When it becomes clear that our "representatives" don't represent the public, the foundations of democracy are in peril. MoveOn is a catalyst for a new kind of grassroots involvement, supporting busy but concerned citizens in finding their political voice.

Liberties Lost Since 09/11/2001: from Lisa Rogers for President

Get Busy. Get Equal.

Civil Rights Organizations

American Bar Association Individual Rights & Responsibilities Section ( Section that specializes in protecting and advancing individual human rights, civil liberties, and social justice. Human Rights, their periodical and the IRR News Report are published in text.

American Civil Liberties Union ( ACLU civil rights/civil liberties organization with affiliate organizations in each state, and national projects that specialize in particular areas of concern (privacy and reproductive rights, HIV/AIDS, free speech, prison conditions, immigrant rights, employment rights etc), the ACLU is engaged in more litigation to protect rights than any other single US organization. ACLU also has an active lobbying presence in Congress and each state legislature.

Center for Constitutional Rights ( CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CCR uses litigation proactively to advance the law in a positive direction, to empower poor communities and communities of color, to guarantee the rights of those with the fewest protections and the least access to legal resources, to train the next generation of constitutional and human rights attorneys, and to strengthen the broader movement for constitutional and human rights.

Civil Rights.Org ('s mission is to empower the civil rights community to lead the fight for equality and social justice in the emerging digital society through the establishment of an online social justice network, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. The conference is a coalition of 185 national organizations representing people of color, women, children, labor unions, individuals with disabilities, older Americans, major religious groups, gay and lesbian people, and civil liberties and human rights group.

The Center for Law and Social Policy ( Public interest law and policy organization, CLASP's focuses on welfare reform, workforce development, childcare, child support, and the intersection of reproductive health and welfare.

The Constitution Project ( A bipartisan nonprofit organization that seeks consensus on controversial legal and constitutional issues through a combination of scholarship and activism.

Lawyers Committee for Human Rights ( works in the US and abroad to create a secure and humane world by advancing justice, human dignity and respect for the rule of law. LCHR supports human rights activists who fight for basic freedoms and peaceful change at the local level; protects refugees in flight from persecution and repression; promotes fair economic practices by creating safeguards for workers' rights; and helps build a strong international system of justice and accountability for the worst human rights crimes.

National Legal Aid & Defender Association ( Attorneys working with low-income clients, and their families and communities. NLADA represents attorneys in public defender and legal aid programs, providing legal assistance to indigent persons in criminal and civil matters.

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Children's Rights

American Bar Association, National Center for Children and the Law ( The ABA initiative to advance children's lives through "law, justice, knowledge, practice and public policy." Website includes links to the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues, the National Child Welfare Court Improvement Webpage, and other reports, journals, and a calendar of training conferences.

The Alliance for Justice ( The Alliance for Justice is a national association of environmental, civil rights, mental health, women's, children's and consumer advocacy organizations. Since its inception in 1979, the Alliance has worked to advance the cause of justice for all Americans, strengthen the public interest community's ability to influence public policy, and foster the next generation of advocates.

Annie E. Casey Foundation ( The Casey Foundation is one of the United States' leading philanthropic organizations supporting research and policy work about children and youth, with a particular focus on at-risk children. It publishes each year a national data book called KidsCount that is an invaluable source of information about the well being of the nation's children.

Benton Foundation's Connect for Kids ( This website seeks to bring together data, research, policy recommendations, and best practices from all over the nation. A weekly electronic newsletter also is published; subscription is free.

The Clearinghouse on International Developments in Child, Youth and Family Policies ( The Clearinghouse provides cross-national comparative information about the policies, programs, benefits and services available in 23 industrialized countries that address child, youth, and family needs. The Clearinghouse disseminates information via this web site as well as periodic newsletters, issue briefs, and press releases.

Children's Rights ( A national non-profit organization that grew out of the ACLU that brings systemic class action litigation to protect the rights of abused and neglected children who are in state foster care systems.

The Children's Defense Fund ( lobbies for all the children of American, paying particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities.

The Future of Children ( The Lucille and David Packard Foundation funds multiple initiatives in the US to improve the well being of children. One such initiative is a publication called The Future of Children is a FREE publication that brings together the very best thinking and data on each issue covered. Topics have included the rights of children to health care, and rights of children in divorce and custody disputes, children's health care in an era of managed care, and juvenile justice.

National Association of Child Advocates ( A national association of state-based child advocacy organizations. Includes at least one child advocacy organization per state.

National Center for Children in Poverty ( NCCP identifies and promotes strategies to prevent young child poverty in the United States and improve the life chances of the millions of children under age six who are growing up poor.

National Center for Youth Law ( A private, non-profit law office serving the legal needs of children and their families, the National Center for Youth Law uses the law to protect children from the harms caused by poverty and to improve the lives of children living in poverty.

UNICEF ( Established by the United Nations after World War II as the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, UNICEF provides an important role internationally in education about the Convention on the Rights of the Child and about the well being of children all over the world. Its Innocenti Research Center is a useful source of research on social and economic policy and the application of human rights instruments for the protection of children and youth.

The Youth Law Center ( The Youth Law Center works to protect abused and at-risk children. Their goal is to ensure that vulnerable children are provided with the conditions and services they need to grow into healthy, productive adults.

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Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund ( Works to protect and promote the civil rights of Asian Americans through litigation, advocacy and community education.

Human Rights Campaign ( Largest national lesbian and gay political organization that lobbies Congress, provides campaign support to candidates for federal office, and works to educate the public on a range of issues affecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, including workplace, family and discrimination issues.

Lambda Legal Defense ( A national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, the transgendered, and people with HIV/AIDS through impact litigation, education, and public policy work.

Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law ( Nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that involves the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination through litigation and public policy advocacy. Primary focus has been on issues of racial justice and economic opportunity and on representing the interests of African Americans in particular, other racial and ethnic minorities, and other victims of discrimination, where doing so can help to secure justice for all racial and ethnic minorities.

Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund ( MALDEF is now the leading non-profit Latino litigation, advocacy, and educational outreach institution in the US. Its mission is to foster sound public policies, laws, and programs to safeguard the civil rights of the 35 million Latinos living in the US. Its primary focus is in the areas of employment, education, immigration, political access/redistricting, language, and equity in the allocation of public resources.

The National Urban League ( NUL's mission is to enable African-Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity and power, and civil rights. It has affiliates in 100 US cities in 34 states. The website's virtual library contains a variety of reports and speeches.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ( The NAACP's principal objective is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens of the United States.

The Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund ( On behalf of Puerto Ricans and the wider Latino community, PRLDEF seeks to: secure, promote and protect civil and human rights; attain full civic participation, engagement and empowerment; preserve a healthy and vibrant Latino culture; realize Latino participation in a strong civil society that enjoys fully- developed community-based institutions; ensure Latino access to the legal and other professions; achieve educational excellence; and become a recognized and respected leader in national civil rights and international human rights communities.

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Freedom of Speech & of the Press

National Coalition Against Censorship ( NCAC is an alliance of over 40 national non-profit organizations, including literary, artistic, religious, educational, professional, labor and civil liberties groups that strives to create a climate of opinion hospitable to First Amendment freedoms in the broader community.

People for the American Way ( This foundation is committed to defending democracy and bringing the ideals of community, opportunity, diversity, equality and fairness together to form a strong, united voice. A premier source of vital information for policymakers, scholars and activists nationwide.

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press ( Dedicated to providing free legal help to journalists and news organizations. The News Media and the Law is available on-line.

Freedom to Read Foundation ( Established to promote and defend the first amendment; to foster libraries and institutions wherein every individual's First Amendment freedoms are fulfilled; and to support the right of libraries to include in their collections and make available any work that they may legally acquire.

Criminal Justice Reform

Amnesty International ( Amnesty International is dedicated to freeing prisoners of conscience, gaining fair trials for political prisoners, ending torture, political killings and "disappearances," and abolishing the death penalty throughout the world.

Building Blocks for Youth ( Building Blocks for Youth is an alliance of children's advocates, researchers, law enforcement professionals and community organizers that seeks to protect minority youth in the justice system and promote rational and effective justice policies.

Criminal Justice Policy Foundation ( CJPF provides information about issues in state and federal anti-crime proposals, e.g. "three strikes and you're out," mandatory minimum sentences, drug sentences, crack and powder cocaine sentencing disparity, forfeiture, gun control, crime prevention, prison construction, community policing, juvenile delinquency and prosecution, federalization of local crimes.

Justice Information Center ( A clearinghouse for information on criminal and criminal youth justice, the Justice Information Center allows users to search its holdings by topic and keyword.

National Prison Project ( The National Prison Project (ACLU) seeks to reduce prison overcrowding, reduce reliance on incarceration as a criminal justice sanction, create constitutional prison conditions and strengthen prisoners' rights through a program of class action litigation and public education.

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention ( OJJDP was established as part of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 with a primary mandate of removing status offenders from juvenile detention and correctional facilities (status offenders are youth who have committed offenses that would not be crimes if they had been committed by adults). Its website has an abundance of information about juvenile justice, risk-factors for juvenile delinquency, best practices in juvenile delinquency prevention and juvenile justice reform initiatives.

Vera Institute of Justice ( Working in collaboration with government and local communities, Vera designs and implements innovative programs that expand the practice of justice in public service and improve the quality of urban life. Vera operates demonstration projects, conducts original research, and offers technical assistance to public officials in New York City and beyond.

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Government Oversight

The Project on Government Secrecy ( The Project on Government Secrecy of the Federation of American Scientists works to challenge excessive government secrecy and to promote public oversight. Its web site contains a hypertext archive of the Secrecy and Government Bulletin, related documents from the Clinton Administration, documents from the Security Policy Board, and information on security classification. It publishes monthly, Secrecy News, which is available on-line.

EFF "Freedom of Information Act & Open Government" ( This section of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's site contains a hypertext version of the FOIA text.

Electronic Privacy Information Center FOIA Docket ( EPIC makes frequent use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain information from the government about cryptography and privacy policy in an effort to ensure that the public is fully informed about the activities of government.

OMB Watch ( focuses on budget issues, regulatory policy, nonprofit policy, nonprofit advocacy, access to government information, and activities at the United States' Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Voting Rights & Democracy

Common Cause ( is a nonprofit, nonpartisan citizen's lobbying organization promoting open, honest and accountable government and acts as a voice of the people against corruption in government and big money special interests.

Demos ( is committed to bringing everyone into the life of American democracy and to achieving a broadly shared prosperity characterized by greater opportunity and less disparity. Demos works on issues of voter registration and participation, campaign finance reform, and reducing economic inequality.

Project Vote Smart ( provides information on the government and a variety of issues like affirmative action, immigration, and campaign finance.

Rock the Vote ( This initiative seeks to protect freedom of speech, educate young people about the issues that affect them, and motivate young people to participate in the democratic process by registering to vote, voting, and speaking out.

The League of Women Voters ( A nonpartisan political organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

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Economic Rights

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ( Working on fiscal policy issues and issues affecting low and moderate income families and individuals. Specializes in research and budget analysis oriented toward policy decisions that policymakers face at both federal and state levels. Examines data and research findings and produces analyses designed to be accessible to public officials, other non-profit organizations, and the media.

Center for Economic Policy Analysis ( Research arm of the Department of Economics at the New School University. Goal of CEPA to build an active forum for debates on macroeconomic policy, wage inequality, and globalization.

Center for Economic and Policy Research ( Established to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives.

Citizens for Tax Justice ( Committed to tax justice at the federal, state, and local levels, Research and advocacy organization that promotes: fair taxes for middle and low income families; requiring the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes; closing corporate tax loopholes; adequate funding of important government services; reducing the federal debt; and taxation that minimizes distortion of economic markets. Includes the Good Jobs First initiative that documents best practices in state and local economic development incentives.

Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) ( Fosters widely shared and sustainable economic well being. CFED promotes asset-building and economic opportunity strategies, primarily in low-income and distressed communities, that bring together community practice, public policy, and private markets in new and effective ways. Publishes a useful "development report card" that ranks states on various indices of development, including level of education and income equality.

Economic Policy Institute ( Founded in 1986 by a group of economic policy experts, EPI seeks to broaden the public debate about strategies to achieve a prosperous and fair economy. Reports on labor market and workforce changes in the US and its states.

National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) ( Voice of fair housing. Works to eliminate housing discrimination and to ensure equal housing opportunity for all people through leadership, education and outreach, membership services, public policy initiatives, advocacy and enforcement.

National Low Income Housing Coalition NLIHC ( Dedicated solely to ending the United States' affordable housing crisis. Provides current information, policy reports and recommendations, and educates the public on housing needs and the strategies for solutions.

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Immigration Law

National Immigration Law Center cite: NILC is a national support center whose mission is to protect and promote the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their family members. NILC staff specialize in immigration law, and the employment and public benefits rights of immigrants. The Center conducts policy analysis and impact litigation and provides publications, technical advice, and trainings to a broad constituency of legal aid agencies, community groups, and pro bono attorneys.

National Immigration Forum The purpose of the National Immigration Forum is to embrace and uphold America's tradition as a nation of immigrants. The Forum advocates and builds public support for public policies that welcome immigrants and refugees and that are fair and supportive to newcomers in our country.

American Immigration Lawyer's Association cite: Founded in 1946, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is a bar association of over 7,500 attorneys and law professors who practice and teach immigration law. Member attorneys represent tens of thousands of US businesses and industries, foreign students, entertainers, and asylum seekers, often on a pro bono basis. AILA is an Affiliated Organization of the American Bar Association.

Freedom & Poverty

The National Center on Poverty Law cite: The National Center on Poverty Law (NCPL) is a legal and policy research, communications, and advocacy organization that provides national leadership in identifying, developing, and supporting creative and collaborative approaches to achieve social and economic justice for low-income people.

The National Employment Law Project cite: NELP has advocated for over 30 years on behalf of low-wage workers, the poor, the unemployed, and other groups that face significant barriers to employment and government systems of support. Several common themes connect NELP's work: ensuring that employment laws cover all workers; supporting worker organizing and alliance-building among key constituent groups working with low-wage workers; helping workers stay connected to jobs and employment benefits; and expanding employment laws to meet the needs of workers and families in changing economic conditions.

The Urban Institute cite: Established in 1968 to monitor and evaluate the Great Society program established by the Johnson administration. It was charged with providing independent analysis and research to improve understanding of the causes of urban unrest, focusing much of its research on persistent domestic problems such as poverty, education finance, unemployment, urban housing shortages, and welfare reform. Its current research agenda has broadened to include research on taxes, criminal justice, governance in new democracies, health care policy and philanthropy. Its Assessing the New Federalism Project is monitoring the transformation of the United States' "safety net" system (from one with some entitlement to so-called welfare "reform").

National Center for Law & Economic Justice cite: Works with and on behalf of low-income people to ensure that adequate income support - public funding provided based on the basis of need - is available whenever and to the extent necessary to meet basic needs and foster healthy human and family development.

Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation cite: Advances the cause of economic justice for low-income families, individuals and communities across the country. The Center has forged an ambitious agenda of litigation, policy advocacy, and support for low-income organizing. We work in partnership with national public interest advocates, private law firms, legal services lawyers, and grassroots groups.

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