To mark its 100 years of defending civil rights and civil liberties, the American Civil Liberties Union is coming to South by Southwest to kick off a tour of pop-up interactive exhibitions about voting rights, immigrants’ rights, and mass incarceration that will engage tens of thousands of attendees across the country.
“For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has blazed trails, taken on the most difficult fights, and worked tirelessly to protect the civil liberties and rights of every person in this country,” said ACLU Chief Communications Officer Michele Moore. “The expansion of our membership and supporter bases combined with our legal and advocacy work has given America the strongest ACLU it has ever known, and we will fight just as hard in our next 100 years to create a more perfect union.”
The tour will begin with the ACLU taking over SXSW in Austin, Texas. There, the events will kick off with a women’s rights brunch for International Women’s Day, and ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero will take the mainstage for a conversation with artist ambassadors and activists Amber Heard, Padma Lakshmi, and Ike Barinholtz. The organization will hold diverse panels with members of Congress, industry executives, and members of the media; a star-studded concert hosted by Lakshmi with Tom Morello and friends, Questlove, and other special guests; a live podcast recording, and more, at their event space.
The centennial celebration comes as the ACLU has emerged as a leader of the Trump resistance: having filed over 200 legal actions since January 2017, establishing innovative grassroots organizing platforms to mobilize its over 4 million followers, launching a voter education and advocacy program with wins for civil rights and civil liberties across the 2018 elections including the restoration of voting rights for over 1.4 million people in Florida, and spearheading the passage of bipartisan criminal justice reform that was signed into law, among many other victories. The ACLU’s staff has doubled since Trump took office, its membership and social media following have more than quadrupled. Leading up to the 2020 presidential election, the ACLU will use its expanded membership to shape the race around civil liberties and civil rights.
The ACLU 100 interactive exhibits will visit geographically diverse states and feature mobile exhibitions, food, including official co-sponsor Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and entertainment. The events will create opportunities for people to engage with ACLU experts, advocates, partner organizations, elected officials, celebrities, and much more.
At the pop-ups, attendees will hear the stories of people whose lives and communities have been impacted by mass incarceration and grasp the overwhelming numbers of people currently trapped in the system. They will bear witness to the stories of people who came to this country as immigrants seeking safety and a new life, and listen to allies who are fighting for their rights. They will also learn about the many barriers that prevent Americans from voting. Visitors will have an opportunity to learn and become active participants in the political process.
The ACLU 100 experience is free and open to all ages. The tour schedule is as follows:
- March 8-10: Austin, Texas
- March 16-17: Phoenix
- March 23: Los Angeles
- March 30-31: San Francisco
- April 6-7: Denver
- April 11-12: Des Moines, Iowa
- April 16-17: Milwaukee
- April 24: Detroit
- April 27-28: Cleveland
- May 5: Atlanta
- May 7: Montgomery, Alabama
- May 11-12: Miami
- May 17-19: Washington, D.C.
- May 22-23: Philadelphia
- May 31-June 2: New York City
For more information visit www.ACLU100.org.