Table of Contents

Part I: Letter from the Executive Director
Part II: Bringing an End to Stop and Frisk
Part III: Resisting Discrimination Based on Religion
Part IV: Fighting for Transgender Rights
Part V: Enforcing Consent Decrees
Part VI: Ending Juvenile Solitary
Part VII: Protecting Children in DCFS
Part VIII: Making Springfield Work
Part IX: Parody is Protected
Part X: Looking Ahead

Download the 2015 Annual Report as a PDF 

Part I: Letter from the Executive Director

Dear ACLU Supporters,

We have had an incredibly productive year at the ACLU of Illinois! The ACLU has won significant victories for our clients, and our herculean efforts kept new harms from being visited upon the most vulnerable in our state. We also secured ground-breaking agreements that will protect Illinois residents for years to come.

The ACLU has seen significant transitions in 2015 as well. Long-time legal director Harvey Grossman is stepping down, leaving a profound legacy in advancing justice and fairness. It is perhaps fitting that after decades of working for racial justice, one of Harvey’s last achievements as legal director was finalizing a landmark agreement with the City of Chicago to address the use of stop-and-frisk on the City’s streets. We will miss Harvey and thank him for his hard work over so many years.

Our work has taken on increased urgency in the wake of the state’s financial problems. After the Governor vetoes the state budget, the ACLU repeatedly returned to federal court to force the state to continue to pay for the essential services promised in a series of federal consent decrees involving people with disabilities, children under the care of DCFS and youth in state-operated detention centers. As I write this, the state still does not have a budget and we remain vigilant to protect our clients.

It was heartening to learn this year that our work is recognized far and wide. Just recently, Chicago Magazine recognized us as one of the area’s best charities, pointing out not just the breadth and expertise of our efforts but also the efficiency with which we use our resources.

Thank you for your on-going support. We hope you share our pride in the accomplishments of this past year.


Colleen K. Connell
Executive Director

Next: Bringing an End to Stop and Frisk