The ACLU raised six times more money over the past weekend than it did in all of 2016
Unless you’ve become a hermit over the past few days, you’ve probably heard about the President’s controversial immigration and refugee executive order. And by “controversial,” I mean downright evil. If you’ve seen the coverage, you might be devastated, heartbroken, scared, and angry — and looking for a source for all this pent-up emotion and despair.
Well, you’re not alone, and much of that heartbreaking anger is being turned into cold hard cash for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has quickly emerged as the white knight in this dystopian nightmare of a political environment.
According to USA Today, the ACLU received more than 350,000 online donations totaling more than $24 million over the weekend, which is more than the nonprofit organization typically raises online in an entire year. In fact, it wasn’t just more than annual online donations – but six times more than last year.
The increase was due, in part, to public support for the ACLU by celebrities and investors, who’ve offered to match their fans’ donations. Sia, Rosie O’Donnell, and Judd Apatow each announced on Twitter that they will match donations to the ACLU up to $100,000. Lyft announced that it plans to donate $1 million to the ACLU, and at the SAG Awards on Sunday night, Sarah Paulson encouraged people to donate to the ACLU during her acceptance speech.
— sia (@Sia) January 28, 2017
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) January 29, 2017
— ROSIE (@Rosie) January 29, 2017
— John Nichols (@NicholsUprising) January 30, 2017
But even more than the donations of a few generous celebrities was the generosity of wide swaths of Americans who are fed up and looking for ways to funnel their despair and rage into worthy causes. Given the ALCU’s commitment to fighting injustice, hate and constitutional violations – and its legal success Saturday night — the legal nonprofit is an obvious choice.
After the executive order was signed on Friday, the ACLU quickly filed a lawsuit on behalf of two men from Iraq who were detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport because of the travel ban, and on Saturday night, a federal judge issued a temporary stay, banning immigration officials from deporting people detained in U.S. airports because of the ban. Although it was a minor victory and limited in scope to those immigrants who were on U.S. soil or were in flight when the executive order was signed, it was a victory nonetheless.
Given that Congress and the White House are both controlled by Republicans, the courts may offer the best chance for ensuring that our Constitutional rights don’t get trampled on, and the ACLU promises to fight those battles.
“We will be the David to the federal government’s Goliath,” Romero said.
The day before the inauguration, the ACLU shared its seven-point plan for fighting Goliath, but to do so it needs legal power and resources. Fortunately, America is coming through. According to USA Today, since the election, the ACLU’s membership has doubled and is now more than one million members strong, and since Saturday nearly 140,000 signed up for the ACLU’s email list, and the organization saw a 1,900% increase in the number of gifts received in January 2017 compared to the January 2016.
You, too, can easily become a member of the ACLU with a small donation by visiting the ACLU website. They even send you a membership card and a sticker with your donation, and the whole process only takes about two minutes.
“It’s really clear that this is a different type of moment,” he said. “People want to know what they can do. They want to be deployed as protagonists in this fight. It’s not a spectator sport.”