Civil Liberties Defense Center

Assert your rights, we've got your back!

aka CLDC   |   Eugene, OR   |  www.cldc.org

Mission

The Civil Liberties Defense Center supports movements that seek to dismantle the political and economic structures at the root of social inequality and environmental destruction. We provide litigation, education, legal and strategic resources to strengthen and embolden their success.

Ruling year info

2006

Executive Director/ Staff Attorney

Lauren Regan, AAL

Deputy Director

Stephanie Tidwell

Main address

1430 Willamette St. #359

Eugene, OR 97401 USA

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EIN

58-2670951

NTEE code info

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Civil Liberties Advocacy (R60)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In 2003, CLDC Executive Director and staff attorney Lauren Regan, in combination with environmental and social justice activists and attorneys, founded the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC). The creation was an urgent response to the growing need for education and legal assistance within the progressive change movement in the post-September 11th era in which decrees like the PATRIOT Act were put in place. CLDC immediately developed a number of public education, outreach, and legal aid programs, offering low and reduced-rate legal assistance to activists, conducting national media interviews and commentary, and monitoring and challenging repressive legislation in the courts. Our legal know-how, ability to effectively translate legalese, and litigation expertise, provide a foundation that our constituents can rely on to tackle the tough issues they are confronting. Additionally, the trainings we organize weave together to build activists’ confidence and awareness of pertinent laws.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Justice in Action

Through Justice in Action, our litigation program, the Civil Liberties Defense Center provides free legal representation or referrals to peace activists, environmental and animal rights activists, immigrants’ rights activists, marriage equality activists, and others involved in progressive social change. Of the numerous requests the CLDC receives, we accept cases with the most potential to effect systemic change beyond the individual case, and to serve communities with difficulty obtaining excellent legal representation. Whether by successfully representing a mosque in a challenge to the FBI’s attempt to subpoena religious records after September 11, or by providing continual assistance with legal representation and referrals of the "Green Scare” defendants and grand jury witnesses, the Civil Liberties Defense Center excels in precedent-setting cases and impact litigation in order to protect constitutional rights.

Population(s) Served
Activists

Uses education to proactively challenge attacks on our civil liberties and rights. Our Know Your Rights (KYR) training is our most regular and widely held educational event with each workshop tailored to the needs of the participants. CLDC has substantially increased the diversity of trainings we provide including but not limited to; youth, parent, immigration, landlord-tenant, workers, arrest to sentencing, activist, and our trainers’ trainings. Additionally, under our "Effective Communities Campaign”, we paired with other activist groups to walk them through not only their first amendment rights, but also the rights of the entities they are protesting. Armed with knowledge, activists are able to make informed choices regarding their interactions with government agents or counter-protestors and, thus, better protect their rights.

Population(s) Served
Activists

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Civil Liberties Defense Center’s mission focuses on defending and upholding civil liberties through education, outreach, litigation, and legal support and assistance. The CLDC strives to preserve the strength and vitality of the Bill of Rights and the U.S. and state constitutions, as well as to protect freedom of expression.

CLDC’s projects educate people about their rights and why their rights are important. We defend front line activists, and expose and confront the persistent erosion of our civil liberties and the Bill of Rights. We believe knowledge is power, when, people have the tools and understanding to take action and demand that the government honor all their rights, then grassroots activism will be the best chance of exacting necessary change. CLDC educates, supports, and defends grassroots activists.

CLDC's core programs are called "Justice in Action" and "Dissent and Democracy." Together, they advance our mission of confronting and dismantling the political and economic structures at the root of social inequality and environmental destruction by:

1. Providing free and low-cost legal representation and support to frontline climate and social justice activists: The Justice in Action program both (A) represents activists who have been criminally charged as a result of their work for a better world and (B) uses the civil court process to hold powerful governments and corporations accountable for violating the constitutional rights of activists and marginalized communities; and

2. Providing the education and tools that activists and communities need to assert their rights and defend ecosystems and lives: The Dissent and Democracy program provides Know Your Rights trainings and others for activists and marginalized communities - from climate activists to immigrants to the un-housed. Online versions are available in Spanish and Arabic. We also conduct Legal Observer, Copwatch, and other trainings that ensure activists are able to make informed decisions about their interactions with government agents, corporations, and counter-protests and thus better protect their rights. A recent addition to our education program is a segment on digital security for activists, which is always evolving in the past-paced world of technological development.

CLDC has been working for 17 years now to defend your right to dissent. We have either won outright - or had dismissed - the majority of the criminal cases we have represented clients in, set precedent for advancing the climate necessity defense in 2020 and kept the right to peaceably protest viable in the digital surveillance age. We have now trained more than 5,000 people through our Dissent and Democracy program, and we continue to build the network of climate and social justice leaders who are educating their communities on how to effectively engage in dissent that drives social change.

Activist Defense
- Represented 2,500+ environmental, animal and social justice activists for civil disobedience.
- Member of the Water Protector Legal Collective. We are one of the firms of record in the suit against North Dakota police for their countless acts of brutality against water protectors at Standing Rock. We also represented several water protectors facing criminal charges for their role in resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline.
- Coordinated legal defense team representing the 52 individuals arrested in Anacortes, WA for their part in the “BreakFree from Fossil Fuels” protest.
- Defended “valve-turner” Ken Ward for his part in the “Shut it Down” actions targeting tar-sands oil production and transportation.
- Coordinated the successful defense of Shell No! Activists, who used civil disobedience to challenge Shell’s Arctic oil refinery operations, against a military tribunal — winning 4 of 5 cases outright and settling the fifth.
- Since 2010, successfully defended six citizen journalists facing empty charges for observing government conduct in public, including one where all charges were dropped against an individual who filmed a roundup of wild buffalo outside Yellowstone National Park.
- Successfully represented local activist Perry Patterson, a mother of two draft-age sons, who was arrested for shouting “No!” at a Cheney rally after the Vice–President stated that an escalation of the war in Iraq was necessary.

Civil Rights Litigation
- Successfully aided the Winnemem Wintu tribe in regaining their right to perform a traditional coming of age ceremony in peace, and continued to provide legal support for the tribe’s fight for sacred spaces and water rights.
- Won a major precedent-setting victory in civil courts, upholding the rights of Occupy Eugene activists to assemble on federal property.
- Assisted Tar Sands Blockade activists in obtaining documents exposing the FBI’s close relationship with Transcanada (the corporation responsible for the Keystone Pipeline), to infiltrate and subsequently undermine the activist organization.
- Won a civil rights lawsuit against the Eugene Police Department for their use of excessive force against an environmental activist.
- Fought against the Green Scare — the government’s unconstitutional attack on environmental and animal rights activists — by conducting research, participating in public outreach and education, and assisting with the legal defense of non-cooperating defendants; CLDC also provided attorney referrals for various individuals and assisted their attorneys with various legal issues.
- Secured the right of Oregon prisoners to practice the Rastafarian religion by allowing them to wear dreadlocks while incarcerated
- Represented a Portland–area Mosque in a successful block of the FBI’s first–ever attempt to subpoena religious records
Won a major victory in the Oregon striking down the state's "Interfering with Agricultural Operations" statute.

Financials

Civil Liberties Defense Center
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Civil Liberties Defense Center

Board of directors
as of 02/02/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Rebecca Smith

Attorney, Public Interest Defense Center

Term: 2014 -

Dana Johnson

Kerul Dyer

Michael (Mookie) Moss

Glencora Boradaille

Anna Held

Kirin Oomen

Michael Hames-Garcia

Cindy Cordova

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/2/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability