Friday action item: Support the ACLU


In the wake of the recent U.S. election, we’ve started these “Friday Action Item” posts with ideas about specific things you can do to support science — from calling Congress to helping crowd-fund a cool new research project. Got a suggestion for a future Action Item? E-mail and tell us all about it!
The United States Constitution guarantees rights that are foundational to an open, democratic, free society — including freedom of speech and freedom from government-mandated religion, which are essential conditions for scientific inquiry. The Constitution’s guarantees alone don’t protect those rights, though. That task falls to organizations that take legal action to hold government at all levels accountable to the Constitution, and the premier organization taking on that responsibility is the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU promotes civic literacy, advocates for constitutional protections, and provides legal support for citizens facing government restrictions on speech, religious practice (or non-practice), and scientific inquiry, among many other issues. Remember the lawsuit against anti-evolution teaching in Dover, Pennsylvania, back in 2005? That was the ACLU, still fighting the fight that they started with the Scopes “Monkey” trial eighty years earlier.
So that’s your action item this week: become one of those famous card-carrying members, and if you can, kick in a few bucks beyond your membership dues.

About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy B. Yoder is an Assistant Professor of Biology at California State University Northridge, studying the evolution and coevolution of interacting species, especially mutualists. He is a collaborator with the Joshua Tree Genome Project and the Queer in STEM study of LGBTQ experiences in scientific careers. He has written for the website of Scientific American, the LA Review of Books, the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Awl, and Slate.
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