The ACLU of Kentucky has more than 8,000 members statewide. It is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the membership and its work is accomplished through a network of volunteers, coordinated by staff working out of its Louisville office.

Our Mission: Preserving Liberty

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky (ACLU) is freedom’s watchdog, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people by the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

  • Our right to freedom of speech, association, assembly, and the press;

  • Our right to freedom of religion, supported by the strict separation of church and state;

  • Our right to be treated fairly by the government whenever life, liberty or property is at stake;

  • Our right to be free from unwarranted government intrusion into our personal and private affairs; and

  • Our right to equal protection of the laws, regardless of race, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, disability or other such classifications.

The ACLU works to extend rights to those who traditionally have been denied them, including:

  • Women,

  • Black, Indigenous, and people of color,

  • Immigrants,

  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals,

  • People who have experienced incarceration or entanglement with the justice system,

  • People with disabilities,

  • and young people.

Most ACLU clients are ordinary people who have suffered an injustice and decided to fight back. In some cases, the right in question belongs to people or causes that are unpopular or extreme. But the ACLU does not shy away from defending civil liberties just because a cause is controversial. History has shown that fundamental freedoms are often denied first to the most vulnerable and despised in our society. The ACLU believes that once the government is empowered to violate one person’s rights, it can use that power against everyone.

The ACLU is strictly non-partisan and never takes electoral positions — liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, left or right. It is funded exclusively by voluntary contributions from individuals and organizations who believe in the importance of defending the Bill of Rights.

Values Statement

Sixty years ago, when Jim Crow segregation was the law, the ACLU of Kentucky was founded, and the new organization’s legal docket was designed to address racial discrimination. We have defended communities of people who have been historically, and are currently, denied certain rights that are extended to others. These communities continue to endure discrimination and inequality denying them access to resources and opportunities.

Racial justice has been, is now, and will continue to be central to our mission. We dedicate ourselves to pursue cases designed to have a significant and wide-reaching effect on communities of color, to work in coalition with other civil rights groups and local advocates to lobby in local and state legislatures, and to support grassroots movements. Through these efforts, we strive to educate and empower the public on how racism impacts the issues that we work on – including but not limited to justice reform, reproductive freedom, LGBT and immigrants’ rights – and we commit to consider racial impacts when making hiring, policy and administrative decisions for the organization.