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Know Your Rights:

Civil Rights Organizations

Local Groups

  • Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California – The mission of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California (APALC) is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Pacific Americans, while also creating a more equitable and harmonious society.
  • California Association of Human Relations Organizations – California Association of Human Relations Organizations is a statewide organization of people and organizations that promotes full acceptance of all persons by conducting activities designed to protect basic human and civil rights, and by creating a climate of respect and inclusion through networks of collaborations that reduce community tension and build intergroup relationships.
  • L.A. Police Watch (213) 387-3325

National Groups

Alliance for Justice
The Alliance for Justice is a national association of environmental, civil rights, mental health, women’s, children’s and consumer advocacy organizations.

  • American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee – The ADC web page notes that the non-partisan civil rights group is the largest Arab-American grassroots organization in the U.S. ADC was founded in 1980 by former Sen. James Abourezk with chapters nationwide.

American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA)
The American Association for Affirmative Action is the association of professionals managing affirmative action, equal opportunity, diversity and other human resource programs.

  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
  • Anti-Defamation League – Fighting anti-Semitism and bigotry here and abroad, the Anti-Defamation League probes the roots of hatred against Jews and serves as a public resource for government media, law enforcement agencies and the public at large.
  • Asian American Justice Center – The Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) works to advance human and civil rights for Asian Americans, and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all. Areas in which the AAJC has been involved include affirmative action, anti-Asian violence prevention, race relations, the census, immigrant rights, immigration, language access, television diversity, and voting rights.
  • Asian Law Caucus – Based in San Francisco, ALC is the nation’s oldest Asian Pacific American civil rights legal organization providing legal services, community education, and advocacy assistance to low-income people, with a focus on Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants and refugees. The ALC’s multilingual staff offers services in the areas of civil rights, housing, employment, immigration and naturalization, and the rights of the elderly.
  • Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights
    The Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights is committed to the revitalization of a progressive civil rights agenda at the national level. Its work is grounded in the belief that such an agenda benefits the entire country, not just particular interest groups.

    Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
    CAIR is dedicated to presenting an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public. In offering that perspective, we seek to empower the Muslim community in America through political and social activism.

    • Educators for Social Responsibility – The mission of Educators for Social Responsibility is to make teaching social responsibility a core practice in education so that young people develop the convictions and skills needed to shape a safe, sustainable, democratic and just world.

    Equal Justice Network
    Its mission is to strengthen and expand the provision of civil legal assistance to low-income people through the collaborative efforts of a community of advocates that includes legal services programs, the private bar, social service and community organizations, law schools, courts, advocacy groups at the state and national levels, and poor people as advocates for themselves.

    • Facing History and Ourselves National Foundation – Facing History and Ourselves is a national educational and professional development organization whose mission is to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry.
    • HateWatch – HateWatch is a web-based educational resource and organization that combats the growing and evolving threat of online bigotry. HateWatch keeps an up-to-date catalog of hate groups that use the web to recruit and organize.
    • Japanese American Citizens League – JACL was founded in 1929 to fight discrimination against people of Japanese ancestry. The organization advances it mission through programs of civil rights, education, leadership, advocacy and redress. It is the largest and one of the oldest Asian Pacific American organizations in the United States.
    • Lambda Legal

    Lawyer’s Committe for Civil Rights Under Law
    The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The Committee’s major objective is to use the skills and resources of the bar to obtain equal opportunity for minorities by addressing factors that contribute to racial justice and economic opportunity. Given our nation’s history of racial discrimination, de jure segregation, and the de facto inequities that persist, the Lawyers’ Committee’s primary focus is to represent the interest of African Americans in particular, other racial and ethnic minorities, and other victims of discrimination, where doing so can help to secure justice for all racial and ethnic minorities.

    Leadership Conference on Civil Rights/Leadership Conference Education Fund’s mission is to empower the civil rights community to lead the fight for equality and social justice in the emerging digital society through the establishment of an online social justice network. leverages communications technologies to create an online society committed to the continued pursuit of equality and fostering greater understanding and mutual respect for difference.

    • Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics – LEAP is a national, nonprofit, non-partisan community-based organization founded in 1982 by a cross section of Asian Pacific Americans. LEAP programs include improving cross-cultural and inter-ethnic collaboration and interaction, and increasing public understanding of Asian Pacific concerns and their impact on policy formulation and decision-making at local, regional and national levels.
    • League of United Latin American Citizens – LULAC works to advance the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health and civil rights of the Hispanic population of the United States.
    • Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) – MALDEF is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect and promote the civil rights of the more than 29 million Latinos living in the United States.

    National Action Network
    The National Action Network (NAN), founded in 1991 by Rev. Al Sharpton, is a civil rights organization whose mission is to be the voice of empowerment for the disenfranchised throughout America. NAN offers a committed national advocacy network of activists, volunteers and religious leaders guided by the non-violent civil protest doctrines of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that speak against racism, bigotry and bias.

    National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium
    NAPALC works to advance the legal and civil rights of Asian Pacific Americans through litigation, public education and public policy.

    • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – The principal objective of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the policy, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens of the United States. The NAACP is committed to achievement through non-violence and relies upon the press, the petition, the ballot and the courts, and is persistent in the use of legal and moral persuasion even in the face of overt and violent racial hostility.
    • National Council of La Raza – The National Council of La Raza is a private, nonprofit organization established in 1968 to reduce poverty and improve life opportunities for Hispanic Americans. NCLR conducts policy analysis and advocacy activities in civil rights.
    • The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force serves as the national resource center for grassroots lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender orgainzations that are facing a variety of battles at the state and local level.
    • National Urban League – Founded in 1910, the National Urban League is a nonprofit, community-based organization headquartered in New York City, with 115 affiliates in 34 states and the District of Columbia that works to advance civil rights and social and economic equality for African Americans.

    National Women’s Law Center
    The National Women’s Law Center has worked since its inception in 1972 to protect and advance the progress of women and girls at work, in school, and in virtually every aspect of their lives. The Center brings to its work extensive subject expertise in the major areas of family economic security, health, employment and education. The Center uses a variety of tools to maximize its impact in bringing women’s concerns to public policy makers, advocates and the public, including public policy research, monitoring and analysis; litigation, advocacy and coalition-building; and public education.

    • National Youth Advocacy Coalition – The mission of the National Youth Advisory Council is to advocate for and with young people who are gay, lesbian, or transgender in an effort to end discrimination against these youth and to ensure their physical and emotional well-being.

    Native American Rights Fund
    The Native American Rights Fund mission is the preservation of tribal existence, the protection of tribal natural resources, the promotion of human rights, the accountability of governments, the development of Indian law and educating the public about Indian rights, laws, and issues.

    • Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays – Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons, their families and friends. PFLAG provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.

    Rainbow/PUSH Coalition
    The National Rainbow/PUSH Coalition (RPC) is a multiracial, multi-issue, international membership organization founded by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. We’re working to move the nation and the world toward social, racial and economic justice. From our national headquarters in Chicago and a bureau in Washington, D.C., we’re uniting people of diverse ethnic, religious, economic and political backgrounds to make America’s promise of “liberty and justice for all” a reality.

    • Southern Poverty Law Center – The Southern Poverty Law Center is an organization that combats hate, intolerance, and discrimination through education and litigation. The center is internationally known for its tolerance education program, its legal victories against white supremacist groups, its tracking of hate groups and its sponsorship of the Civil Rights Memorial.
    • Study Circles Resource Center – The Study Circles Resource Center is dedicated to advancing deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life in the United States via helping communities organize study circles that give people opportunities to make a difference in their communities.

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