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ACLU-MN and the Value of our Community Partners

Rodrick Fields | Published on 8/5/2021

For many nonprofits, community partnerships are an essential part of carrying out their mission-driven work. Community partnerships should reflect the diversity of the communities an organization serves and bring value to all sides. Community partnerships create collaborative relationships and allies who help organizations to stay vital and effective. At the ACLU of Minnesota, where I work, we defend and promote civil liberties through litigation, legislation, and community engagement. 

"Our ability to take on large-scale litigation often hinges on partnerships with pro bono lawyers and law firms who are willing to donate their time and resources to our cases," said ACLU-MN Legal Director Teresa Nelson. These legal community partnerships and the support of our ACLU-MN legal volunteers allow us to protect civil rights by selecting and trying cases with the potential to establish legal precedent, broaden the interpretation of the law, and strengthen our civil liberties. 

The ACLU-MN Policy Department builds our community partnerships with a diverse coalition, including Americans for Prosperity, Justice Action Network, and Legal Aid.  Through these community partnerships, we helped pass a major reform of Minnesota's civil asset forfeiture system. This reform will better protect low-income and BIPOC Minnesotans from disproportionately suffering the harms that can arise from even minor contact with police.  "ACLU-MN continues to form community partnerships. We have worked in coalition with everyone from Legal Aid and the Coalition of Asian American Leaders to prosecutors and Americans for Prosperity to pass comprehensive legislation reducing the harmful impact of Minnesota's legal system on low-income and BIPOC communities," said ACLU-MN Policy Director Julia Decker.

"In our line of work at the ACLU-MN, our Volunteer Department values our Community Partnerships that allow us to have more boots on the ground and power in numbers movement that is often needed during times of crisis.  With our Community Partnerships, ACLU-MN was able to turn out one of its most successful voting campaigns in 2020.  Through our involvement and membership with MAVA, we are able to stay current on best practices, DEI work, and the advancement of volunteerism." Said ACLU-MN Volunteer Manager Rodrick Fields

Alone we can do a little. Together we can do so much. Helen Keller