A letter to our supporters about COVID-19

To our donors, members, and supporters:

In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic now spreading through the United States and most of the world, we have closed our physical office temporarily and are continuing our work remotely. As much as we love our work and seeing our colleagues every day, the health and safety of our staff and our community come first. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines make clear that the only way that we are going to “flatten the curve” and limit the spread of COVID-19 is by physically distancing ourselves from one another. Based on this recommendation, we believe it is our ethical responsibility to put the common good above organizational needs. Accordingly, we’ve required our staff to work remotely to protect everyone and to allow them to take care of themselves and loved ones as schools and other institutions are being closed. In light of the recent county and state emergency orders, the physical office will be closed until at least April 30, 2020.

We want to assure you that while our physical office is closed, the ACLU of Hawai‘i will continue to defend the rights and freedoms of those who live in these islands. We know that both the spread of this disease and our decisions about it affect not only our day-to-day work and planning, but also other people’s lives — especially the lives of people who are the most vulnerable, like people living unsheltered and those being held in prisons, jails and detention centers who have limited or no means to communicate with us. We are currently advocating to the people who can make decisions regarding the steps taken to protect these vulnerable people. We will continue to exercise vigilance so that we can identify and respond to civil liberties and civil rights abuses arising out of this public health crises.

We will work hard to support each other and those who most need us during this pandemic and stand fast against government incursions on our rights and liberties that are not justified by good science and the best expert advice. In this uncertain moment, it’s more important than ever for us to practice aloha while taking the necessary precautions and coming together with kindness, care and concern for the common good. We count on all of you to act in the public interest in ways that help ensure that this crisis is resolved as soon as possible and join us in advocating against discrimination and government overreach that limits our civil liberties in ways that are not essential to protect public health and safety.

We are all in this together. Please stay safe and hopeful during these uncertain times. Follow us on social media (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) and check out our dedicated COVID-19 landing page to stay updated on our response to the pandemic and how you can take action.

Mahalo nui loa for your unwavering support,

J Wisch headshot

Joshua Wisch

Executive Director, ACLU of Hawai‘i

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