In light of the growing public health risk posed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties has postponed our Annual Membership Meeting and Board Elections, currently scheduled for March 17 at St Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral. Our decision was guided by science and by our responsibility to safeguard the health and well-being of our members, volunteers, staff and families, and the broader community.

Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this news may cause. Please know that we will reschedule this meeting as soon as we can do so safely. We look forward to electing our new board of directors and to updating you on our important work. Together, we achieved notable victories on multiple fronts in 2019 – locally, statewide and nationally. We are eager to begin the new fiscal year with even greater energy and impact.

Regarding the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis, be assured that we are closely monitoring updates from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), CA Department of Public Health and San Diego County Public Health Department; and we are communicating with the National ACLU office and other affiliates.

As the virus spreads, we are mindful that injustice and xenophobia can follow. We know that the most marginalized people are often the most impacted. Earlier this week, the ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties sent letters to various local officials who oversee jails, prisons and juvenile halls in San Diego and Imperial counties urging them to develop a comprehensive emergency plan for the prevention and management of potential COVID-19 cases at their facilities. We sent similar letters to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding the immigration detention centers in our region.

The ACLU’s stance is to ensure our government response is grounded in science and to stand firm against unlawful discrimination, whether public or private. If you learn of any government or private actions related to COVID-19 that may violate people’s civil liberties or represent unlawful discrimination in public accommodations, employment or housing, please contact us to follow up.

These are truly extraordinary times and many of us feel fearful, anxious and uncertain. Even so, we can be kind – to ourselves and our loved ones; and we can be courageous – and work together to expand the circle of human concern to include everyone. Certainly, this pandemic is evidence of the universality of our human experience.

We are deeply grateful for your membership and support of our work to protect and advance the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.  Thank you for being part of our ACLU community. We can’t do this without you!

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

In this together,

Norma Chávez-Peterson
Executive Director