American Civil Liberties Union

The First Amendment says, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Unabridged, from spoken word artists Steve Connell and Sekou (tha misfit), is a new collection of poetry written especially for the ACLU that celebrates the power of words and captures the passion behind several of our current battles in the courtrooms and in Congress. Listen in and stay tuned for more...

MORE FROM THE ACLU
> Abstinence-Only
> Surveillance
> Free Speech
> Racial Profiling
> Habeas Corpus


"few things more critical for our well being as a country then a good education for all its' citizens and few issues more demanding of a good education then the issue of sex" more...
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"'show us the body [of evidence against us]' is an idea so critical it deserves to be at the foundation of any free society and we wanted to expand on that" more...
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"The [report] was about technology as a monster and the chains struggling to contain it. It was such an apt and rich metaphor that we ran with it and expanded the idea" more...
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"The challenge at times working with ACLU, is to take serious, intellectual concepts and transform them into something emotional and alive. At the root of all these concepts is something beautiful and sacred." more...
listen | podcast

"How can racial profiling be anything more than a tool for injustice and discrimination, if one race is writing the description of dangerous races with one hand, while their other hand is covered in blood?" more...
listen | podcast

"inSECURITY"
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"Take America Back"
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"Choose Now"
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As people and as poets we put a lot of stock in words. America was built on the backs of some beautiful words and has struggled since its existence to live up to its own promise. We have always believed that great art, great poems, great people, shine before us to remind us what we are capable of in our finest moments, what the worst of us has wrought, and to keep us ever mindful of where we are moving.


The ACLU has always struck us as an organization profoundly devoted to the promise of America and dedicated to keeping a light shined on both what we are doing and what we can do, as well as helping to illuminate the path ahead. It is our hope that our work can do the same. This partnership, and certainly this specific project, provides us the opportunity to have a voice on some of the critical issues facing us and to participate in the ongoing dialogue of where we are going and what we will do along the way.



I believe there are few things more critical for our well being as a country then a good education for all its' citizens and few issues more demanding of a good education then the issue of sex. Without honest, open, candid dialogue about sex our children and our future is in jeopardy and if we don't find a way to make a strong education an essential value then we as a country will fall further and further behind the rest of the world. That's why I wanted to write this piece. It is my hope that this piece will join the efforts of the ACLU to eradicate this as an issue of contention in the near future.


For this piece we needed to look no further for the inspiration then one of the ACLU's own reports. The piece was about technology as a monster and the chains struggling to contain it. It was such an apt and rich metaphor that we ran with it and expanded the idea. It helped because our struggle to that point was writing a short piece that did the issue justice. There are so many sub issues that fall under this large topic and the Monster metaphor gave us a way to deal with all of them.


As you will hear, much to our surprise and delight, this piece sprang forth as an epic poem, our own little Odyssey. This came together as a story and the biggest struggle after it was written was in cutting it down to its' final length. A task much preferred to the alternative… struggling to even bang two words together. The hook of this for us was in discovering the literal translation of the latin phrase, Habeas Corpus, which means "show us the body." There was something so immediately accessible and sexy in that translation that we were instantly excited. The legal meaning of the term, "show us the body [of evidence against us]" is an idea so critical it deserves to be at the foundation of any free society and we wanted to expand on that by bringing to life the lives decimated by the absence of habeas corpus and calling to mind the need for the people to assemble to protest any attempt to take this essential right.


The challenge at times working with ACLU, is to take serious, intellectual concepts and transform them into something emotional and alive. At the root of all these concepts is something beautiful and sacred. The trick is to find the way to flush that to the surface. Freedom of speech doesn't just define us as Americans it celebrates us as human and without it we would be lost. In personifying speech one hopes that the feelings we have for the so many Americans who have embodied this ideal would transfer to the ideal itself.


With the assignment being a poem on Racial Profiling, I found myself caught between not wanting to write the obvious, cliche "angry, black man" piece about getting stopped by the cops, but also feeling a responsibility to speak out on a issue so close to home. So I chose to take on the subject but give it a unique, global approach - using the not-so-obvious device of levity - to illuminate the frightening, pervasive, and systemic truth of this dangerous practice, and answer the question: "How can racial profiling be anything more than a tool for injustice and discrimination, if one race is writing the description of dangerous races with one hand, while their other hand is covered in blood?"


"inSECURITY"
   listen | watch | more
"Take America Back"
   listen | watch
"Choose Now"
   listen

  OTHER RESOURCES

Steve Connell:
    web site | MySpace page

Sekou (tha misfit):
    web site | MySpace page



Graphics You Can Use >>



Matt Bors' ACLU Comics: Abstinence-Only >>

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