In New Radio and Television PSA Campaign, ACLU Urges Victims of Racial Profiling to Fight Back

August 21, 2000 12:00 am

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NEW YORK — Stepping up efforts to end the discriminatory police practice of racial profiling known as “Driving While Black,” the American Civil Liberties Union today launched a new national public service announcement (PSA) campaign for radio and television.

The new PSA campaign includes radio spots in English and Spanish as well as a video PSA in both English and Spanish for television audiences. Local radio stations throughout the country and national television networks have already to committed to airing the PSA during its 13-week run.

“The ACLU created this PSA campaign in order to let victims of DWB and others know that they no longer have to sit in silent acceptance of this shameful practice,” said ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser.

“Racial bias is a persistent and pernicious threat to democracy in this country, and nowhere is that more evident than in the treatment of people of color by law enforcement and the criminal justice system,” he added. “The ACLU has battled this national disgrace in the courts and in Congress, and now we are taking to the airwaves in our effort to arrest the racism.”

The campaign purposefully targets the Latino and African-American communities because they are more frequently stopped for no apparent reason except their skin color, Glasser explained. However, it is the ACLU’s hope that other minority groups who may have been victims of DWB will hear or see the PSA and call the toll-free number (1-877-6-PROFILE) to report their complaints.

The PSAs feature reality-based scenes that convey the humiliation and outrage suffered by innocent people who are stopped by the police. The radio spots feature two men of color commiserating over DWB, while the television spot show scenes on the highways and streets of this nation that have become all too familiar to people of color.

In some states, the ACLU said, statistics show that motorists of color are more than 75 times more likely than white drivers to be stopped by the police while driving.

During the ACLU’s first radio PSA campaign in 1999, the organization received more than 1,000 calls to its toll-free hotline.

The ACLU continues to be in the news on its efforts to end the national shame of racial profiling.

On Saturday, August 26, the ACLU, along with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Reverend Al Sharpton, will be participating in “Redeem the Dream,” a rally in Washington, D.C. against racial profiling and other forms of discrimination. The rally also celebrates the 37th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington.

Next month, the ACLU plans to release an update to its widely read 1999 report, “Driving While Black: Racial Profiling On Our Nation’s Highways.” The ACLU report and related information, including daily updates on DWB, is online at

The video PSA was created by Kinocraft, a Philadelphia production company. NFL Films of New Jersey donated the processing and film transfer for the spots. The English language radio PSA was created pro bono by Carol H. Williams Advertising of Oakland, CA. The Spanish language PSA was created by Headquarters Agency, based in San Francisco.

The ACLU is a nationwide, non-partisan organization dedicated to defending and preserving the Bill of Rights for all individuals through litigation, legislation and public education.

Headquartered in New York City, the ACLU has 53 staffed affiliates in major cities, more than 300 chapters nationwide, and a legislative office in Washington, DC. The bulk of the annual $40 million budget is raised by contributions from members — 275,000 strong — and gifts and grants from other individuals and foundations.

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