Non-profit

ACLU of Southern California (ACLU SoCal)

Website:

www.aclusocal.org/

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Tax ID:

95-0490250

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2021):

Revenue: $6,468,432
Expenses: $3,573,107
Assets: $8,468,032

Status:

State-level affiliate, ACLU

Formation:

1923

Executive Director:

Hector Villagra

Budget (2023):

Revenue: $4,511,644

Expenses: $4,641,375

Net Assets: $9,315,722 1

References

  1. “2023 Centennial Report.” ACLU of Southern California. 2022-2023. Accessed May 2, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/publications/annual-report-2021-2022; ACLU of Southern California, Return of a Nonprofit Corporation (Form 990), 2023.

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) is an affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) social-liberal activist organization based in the counties surrounding Los Angeles, California. The ACLU Southern California engages in litigation, lobbying and influencing legislation, and political activism.

The ACLU of Southern California advances left-of-center policies such as removing police officers from schools, prohibiting local police to work with federal immigration authorities (also known as sanctuary jurisdiction policies), limiting qualified immunity to police officers, allowing the state to decertify police, diverting juvenile justice grant money from the police to other social programs, expanding LGBT legal protections, requiring LGBT issues to be taught in sex-education classes in schools, and expanding access to abortions. ACLU of Southern California states racism and white supremacy remain powerful forces today, so ACLU SoCal makes internal hiring and promotional decisions based on race. 1 2

History and Background

The ACLU of Southern California was founded in 1923 when socialist activist and author Upton Sinclair spoke in San Pedro, California to read the First Amendment to gathered workers and was subsequently arrested. 3 From the arrest, the newly formed national ACLU urged Sinclair to continue speaking and the ACLU of SoCal was formed as the first local affiliate in the country. 4 In the 1930s, the ACLU of Southern California employed one of the nation’s first civil rights attorneys to conduct pro bono work. 5

The ACLU SoCal serves the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernadino, Kern, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo. 6 The ACLU SoCal is associated with the ACLU of Southern California Foundation. 7

Positions

The ACLU of Southern California advocates on the issues of left-of-center economics, education equity, gender equity, abortion access, protection of immigrants and expansion of immigration, freedom of speech, and criminal justice and drug policy changes through litigation, legislation, and political means. 8 The ACLU of Southern California advocates that local law enforcement should not engage with federal immigration enforcement, that LGBT protections should be expanded, that LGBT issues should be added to school sex education, abortion access should be expanded, police should be removed from school campuses, and that police should only address serious crime and not mental illness, homelessness, and immigration issues. 9

ACLU SoCal states that racism has consistently shaped U.S. immigration laws and policies stating that racism and white supremacy remain powerful forces today. 10 The ACLU of Southern California states it will take race into account from hiring and promotion to staffing. 11

In May 2024, the ACLU of Southern California sided with pro-Palestinian protestors at UCLA in a dispute with the university stating encampments on the college campus should be removed pursuant to Supreme Court precedent allowing governments to place reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on otherwise First Amendment-protected expression. 12

Litigation

The ACLU of Southern California provides pro bono direct legal representation, files amicus briefs, and works with outside counsel on cases. 13

Racial Activism

In California v. Mosby and California v. Austin, the ACLU of Southern California served as co-counsel to the cases of individuals facing the death penalty under the California Racial Justice Act. 14 The defendants, both Black, are charged with murder by Riverside County and the defendant’s counsel and ACLU SoCal are seeking to prove the county cannot seek the death penalty due to Riverside County having a history of racial inequality and systemic racial bias. 15

Homelessness

In Tyson v. City of San Bernardino, the ACLU of Southern California with outside counsel filed and obtained a preliminary injunction against San Bernardino’s removal of homeless camps on parks throughout the city. 16 In Butts v. City of Lancaster, ACLU SoCal filed a lawsuit on behalf of a homeless individual who was fined for sleeping outdoors in a vacant lot arguing that criminalizing homelessness violates the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. 17

Elections

In Inland Empire United v. Riverside County, the ACLU of Southern California with outside counsel filed a lawsuit against Riverside County on behalf of a Latino group claiming the district map for the county board of supervisors discriminated against Latino residents, preventing them from meaningful participation in county government. 18

Legislation

The ACLU of Southern California works on statewide legislation by lobbying the legislature, analyzing proposed legislation, presenting draft legislation and testimony, and uses grassroots efforts to sway the California legislature. 19 The ACLU SoCal has opposed legislation allowing businesses to use facial recognition technology; supported legislation that became law to allow election day voter registration; and advocated for programs to allow social workers and community organizations to respond to emergencies involving mental health, homelessness, domestic violence, and natural disasters. 20

ACLU SoCal supports a California Constitutional Amendment that would allow those on parole and formerly incarcerated the right to vote and supports legislation to allow automatic decertification for police officers fired for specified misconduct, limit qualified immunity, and make it easier to file civil lawsuits for police abuse. 21 ACLU SoCal supports a bill that would require counties to distribute juvenile justice grant money to public agencies that are not law enforcement. 22 The ACLU of Southern California supports legislation that would require abortions and family planning be available to anyone in jail. 23

Politics

The ACLU of Southern California opposed the recall of Governor Gavin Newsom (D) in 2021. 24 The ACLU Southern California has promoted district attorneys who promote leniency in prosecution and sentencing, listing examples of several George Soros-backed prosecutors around the country. 25 The ACLU SoCal has been involved in redistricting, grassroots volunteer recruiting, get out the vote efforts, lobbying the legislature, and text-banks for elections. 26

In 2023, the ACLU of SoCal received pro bono assistance from at least 36 law firms in Southern California to write amicus briefs, work as co-counsel on cases, participate in litigation and policy memos, conduct FOIA requests, provide direct legal representation, and conduct other legal administrative duties. 27

Financials

In 2023, the ACLU of Southern California had net assets of $9,315,722. 28 In 2023, the ACLU of Southern California recorded $4,511,644 in revenue and had $4,641,375 in expenses. 29 In 2022, the ACLU of Southern California raised $5,545,274 in revenue and had $4,238,835 in expenses. 30

Leadership

Hector Villagra has been executive director at the ACLU of Southern California since 2011. 31 Previously, Villagra launched the Orange County chapter of the ACLU in 2005 where he worked as director until 2009 and then legal director from 2009 to 2011. 32 Prior to the ACLU, Villagra worked for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) from 2001 to 2005 as regional counsel and as staff attorney from 1999 until 2001. 33 Villagra sits on the boards of Just Detention International and the left-of-center California Immigrant Policy Center. 34

Officers of the Board of Trustees for the ACLU of Southern California have included left-wing Hollywood activists Jane Fonda and the late Norman Lear .35 Members of the Board of Trustees of ACLU SoCal include left-wing actresses Alyssa Milano, Barbara Streisand, and Olivia Wilde. 36

References

  1. “ACLU SoCal Racial Justice Framework.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/racial-justice-framework.
  2. “ACLU SoCal Racial Justice Framework.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/racial-justice-framework.
  3. “2023 Centennial Report.” ACLU of Southern California. 2022-2023. Accessed May 2, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/publications/annual-report-2021-2022.
  4. “2023 Centennial Report.” ACLU of Southern California. 2022-2023. Accessed May 2, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/publications/annual-report-2021-2022.
  5. “2023 Centennial Report.” ACLU of Southern California. 2022-2023. Accessed May 2, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/publications/annual-report-2021-2022.
  6. “2022 Year End Report.” ACLU of Southern California. 2021-2022. Accessed May 2, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/2022_report_final_online.pdf.
  7. “Difference Between ACLU and ACLU Foundation.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/difference-between-aclu-and-aclu-foundation.
  8. “Issues.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 4, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en; “Our Work.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 4, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en.
  9. “Immigrants’ Rights.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/issues/immigrant-rights; “Gender Equity and Reproductive Justice.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/issues/reproductive-rights-gender-equity; “Education Equity.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/issues/education-equity; “Police Practices.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/issues/police-practices.
  10. “ACLU SoCal Racial Justice Framework.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/racial-justice-framework.
  11. “ACLU SoCal Racial Justice Framework.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/racial-justice-framework.
  12. “Open Letter to UCLA to Protect Rights of Student Protesters.” ACLU of Southern California. May 1, 2024. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/news/open-letter-ucla-protect-rights-student-protesters.
  13. “Cases.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/cases.
  14. “California Racial Justice Act Cases.” ACLU. January 5, 2023. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://www.aclu.org/cases/california-racial-justice-act-cases#press-releases.
  15. “Cases Under California Racial Justice Act Move Forward.” ACLU. January 26, 2024. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://www.aclu.org/press-releases/cases-under-california-racial-justice-act-move-forward.
  16. Tyson v. City of San Bernardino. ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/cases/tyson-v-city-san-bernardino.
  17. “Butts v. Lancaster.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/cases/butts-v-lancaster.
  18. “Inland Empire United v. Riverside County.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/cases/ie-united-v-riverside-county.
  19. “Legislation.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 4, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/legislation.
  20. “The C.R.I.S.E.S. Act.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 4, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/thecrisesact; “Prevent Expansion of Facial Recognition Tech.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 4, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/legislation/prevent-expansion-facial-recognition-tech-oppose-ab-2261; “Election Day Registration.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 4, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/electiondayregistration.
  21. “Decertify Abusive Police and Strengthen Civil Liability for Police Violence.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 4, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/legislation/decertify-abusive-police; “Free the Vote for Californians on Parole.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 4, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/legislation/free-vote-californians-parole-aca-6.
  22. “P.R.O.M.I.S.E Act.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 4, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/legislation/promise-act-ab-1007.
  23. “Strengthen Reproductive Care for People in Jails.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 4, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/protect-reproductive-dignity.
  24. Villagra, Hector. “Why the ACLU Opposes Governor Newsom Recall.” LA Progressive. July 29, 2021. Accessed May 2, 2024. https://www.laprogressive.com/election-reform-campaigns/governor-newsom-recall.
  25. “Los Angeles: Vote for Your District Attorney in 2020.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 4, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/campaigns/los-angeles-vote-your-district-attorney-2020; Thayer, Parker. “Living Room Pundit’s Updated Guide to Soros District Attorneys.” Capital Research Center. March 30, 2023. Accessed May 4, 2024. https://capitalresearch.org/article/living-room-pundits-updated-guide-to-soros-district-attorneys/.
  26. “Be A Social Activist.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 4, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/campaigns/be-socal-activist.
  27. “2023 Centennial Report.” ACLU of Southern California. 2022-2023. Accessed May 2, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/publications/annual-report-2021-2022.
  28. ACLU of Southern California, Return of a Nonprofit Corporation (Form 990), 2023.
  29. “2023 Centennial Report.” ACLU of Southern California. 2022-2023. Accessed May 2, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/publications/annual-report-2021-2022.
  30.  “2022 Year End Report.” ACLU of Southern California. 2021-2022. Accessed May 2, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/2022_report_final_online.pdf.
  31. “Hector Villagra.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 2, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/biographies/hector-villagra.
  32. “Hector Villagra.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 2, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/biographies/hector-villagra.
  33. Hector Villagra.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 2, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/biographies/hector-villagra.
  34. “Hector Villagra.” ACLU of Southern California. Accessed May 2, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/biographies/hector-villagra.
  35. “2023 Centennial Report.” ACLU of Southern California. 2022-2023. Accessed May 2, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/en/publications/annual-report-2021-2022.
  36. “2022 Year End Report.” ACLU of Southern California. 2021-2022. Accessed May 2, 2024. https://www.aclusocal.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/2022_report_final_online.pdf.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: March - February
  • Tax Exemption Received: December 1, 1970

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2021 Mar Form 990 $6,468,432 $3,573,107 $8,468,032 $329,018 N $6,556,734 $0 $4,542 $244,394
    2020 Mar Form 990 $5,032,282 $3,532,962 $5,680,181 $452,007 N $5,045,500 $0 $35,327 $167,865
    2019 Mar Form 990 $4,670,372 $3,247,120 $4,555,293 $817,337 N $4,792,744 $0 $24,867 $121,371 PDF
    2018 Mar Form 990 $7,902,504 $7,101,670 $2,466,838 $149,279 N $8,129,763 $0 $19,261 $109,567 PDF
    2017 Mar Form 990 $8,319,468 $7,152,288 $1,621,354 $107,456 N $8,499,504 $0 $1,244 $66,843
    2016 Mar Form 990 $2,104,510 $1,874,823 $495,407 $152,149 N $2,203,982 $0 $603 $64,448 PDF
    2015 Mar Form 990 $1,817,056 $2,111,709 $371,787 $255,611 N $1,860,062 $0 $636 $62,740 PDF
    2014 Mar Form 990 $2,032,731 $2,187,395 $558,363 $149,647 N $2,113,986 $0 $346 $192,541 PDF
    2013 Mar Form 990 $1,962,495 $2,267,677 $778,669 $220,180 N $2,073,728 $1,158 $823 $186,539 PDF
    2012 Mar Form 990 $1,884,610 $2,116,712 $1,583,713 $723,363 N $2,009,357 $0 $13,648 $209,108 PDF
    2011 Mar Form 990 $3,089,300 $2,643,660 $2,008,070 $922,720 N $3,118,063 $0 $24,345 $189,405 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    ACLU of Southern California (ACLU SoCal)

    1313 West Eighth Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90017-4420