50 years. That’s how long the ACLU of Virginia has been fighting to protect and expand civil rights and civil liberties in the Commonwealth.

Fighting for equality for all. Fighting for free speech and religious liberty. Fighting for criminal justice reform. Fighting for privacy rights. Fighting for reproductive freedom. Fighting for voting rights. Fighting for everyone.

But we couldn’t do it alone. Not just with us, but leading the way, have been the incredible people who have served as plaintiffs in the dozens of lawsuits we’ve brought over the past half a century, mostly against the government when it discriminated against someone or denied their rights under the U.S. Constitution because of who they are or what they believe.

Make no mistake, being a client in an ACLU lawsuit is no small gift of service to the cause of freedom. ACLU of Virginia clients have faced imprisonment, harassment, and even been run out of the state for standing up for their rights and those of others. It is a selfless act of courage, resolve and tenacity, undertaken in the belief that no one should be mistreated by their own government – be it a statewide agency or a local school board, sheriff, city council, or other entity.

For each of the people mentioned in this video, there are dozens of others who also deserve our recognition. People who are their own best advocates, in their communities, before the legislature and before the public. We are humbled by their courage and offer our deepest gratitude to them for allowing us to amplify their voices.

To our members and supporters, when you stand with the ACLU of Virginia, you stand with brave and dedicated Virginians who seek to dismantle the vestiges of Jim Crow and fight other violations of their civil rights and civil liberties. You stand with people who, rather than shrinking from those in power, instead declare, “Never again. Not to anyone else. This should never happen again.” You help us educate the public, change the laws on our books and challenge injustice in the courts. We thank you for helping us make an impact in our first 50 years. Here’s to all we can accomplish together in the next 50.