About Us
Advisory Board
Our Accomplishments
Coalitions & Partner Organizations

Our 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.

Our Approach

CLDC defends front line activists, pursues civil rights litigation, and educates people about their rights and how to use them in order to expose and confront the persistent erosion of our civil liberties and the Bill of Rights. We believe knowledge is power, and that when people have the tools and understanding to take action and demand that the government honor all their rights, grassroots activism has a stronger chance of exacting the change necessary for building a more sustainable and just world.

CLDC’s Justice in Action and Dissent & Democracy programs bring a multi-pronged approach to achieving the goals set forth by our mission. By utilizing education, and when necessary, the courts, the Civil Liberties Defense Center both proactively and reactively challenges governmental attacks on our liberties and rights.


In 2003, Lauren Regan, CLDC’s Executive Director and staff attorney, in partnership with a group of environmental and social justice activists and attorneys, founded the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC). The creation was an urgent response to a growing and increasingly crucial 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 legal representation, education and outreach programs, offering free 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 activists can rely on to tackle the tough issues they are confronting. Additionally, the trainings we organize weave together to build activist skills, confidence, and awareness of what to expect from interactions with law enforcement or counter-protesters.

Non-Discrimination Policy

The Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) does not discriminate with respect to employment, membership or provision of services on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, gender, disability, socio-economic background, age, sexual orientation, marital status, political affiliation, national origin, ancestry, status with regards to public assistance or immigration status. The CLDC is committed to diversity in staff, leadership and membership. Outreach, recruitment, and hiring practices shall reflect our commitment to actively developing the skills of a diverse community.

Anti-Racist Policy

The Civil Liberties Defense Center affirms its commitment to recognizing, addressing, and eradicating all forms of racism and ethnic oppression. We focus on engaging and collaborating in organizing, educating, and providing legal support that challenges oppressive and unjust forces. We work to reduce racial injustices both within the legal system and the broader community. The CLDC staff, Board of Directors and volunteers are united in the pursuit to end racial and ethnic bias and to empower our communities towards this collective goal.

We acknowledge that regardless of one’s own race or ethnicity, individuals are at various points along an anti-racist journey. We also understand that bias can be unconscious or unintentional and that racism is the combination of social and institutional power plus racial prejudice. Identifying these two specific forms of oppression and disparate outcomes does not automatically mean that those involved intended negative impact and having these conversations requires courage, respect, and compassion, and may not always be or seek to be comfortable. However, as an anti-racist and ethnically unbiased community we will purposefully strive to identify, discuss, and challenge issues of race, color, ethnicity and the impact(s) they have on clients, community members, volunteers and staff members.

We Stand Committed

  1. To affirm explicitly and in united solidarity our identity as an anti-racist social justice organization.
  2. To individual and organizational exploration and examination of implicit bias and systemic advantage/oppression such that our anti-racism commitment be reflected in the life and culture of the CLDC through our policies, programs, and practices as we continue to learn about racism and ethnic oppression.
  3. To the development and implementation of strategies and best-practices that dismantle racism and ethnic oppression within all aspects of our organization, community, and society.