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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Defending Rights & Dissent

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Censorship, Freedom of Speech & Press, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Democracy

Mission: Defending Rights & Dissent, formerly the Bill of Rights Defense Committee & Defending Dissent Foundation, protects the right of political expression to strengthen participatory democracy, and to fulfill the promise of the Bill of Rights for everyone.

Results: DRAD has coordinated grassroots campaigns from coast-to-coast that have worked to strengthen civil rights protections in their community and defeat attempts to curtail civil liberties. DRAD has brought together a diverse range of groups, including non-civil liberties groups, to act as unlikely allies in the fight for political rights. We've documented curtailments of political rights and educated the public at large and key decision makers about these ongoing violations.

Target demographics: Protect individual rights and liberties and to strengthen our Democracy.

Direct beneficiaries per year: To defeat anti-protest bills across the country, educated members of Congress about FBI harassment of activists, and published a groundbreaking report on state anti-whistleblower intiatives ("ag-gag laws:_

Geographic areas served: national, state, and local level

Programs: Providing leadership, resources and technical support to grassroots coalitions and their independent advocacy for policies and practices protecting all of our civil liberties.

Community Stories

58 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Curtis C.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Defending Rights and Dissent has an outsized impact on national and state issues in the US around issues of free speech, assembly and intrusive policing. I have worked in coalitions with the organization in planning events. Defending Rights and Dissent has worked both to promote the events to make sure they are successful, and to provide knowledgeable speakers from the organization for the events themselves. Recently, writings and talks from Defending Rights and Dissent have been broadcast more widely in the media, providing crucial analysis for activists across the country on how to protect our rights.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Defending Rights and Dissent is an exceptionally effective small organization which protects Americans' privacy and right to protest in myriad forms. It is worthy of our support, especially now when dissent and privacy are being threatened by politicians and businesses.

Read more

Board Member

Rating: 5

For almost 60 years Defending Rights and Dissent (DRAD) has been a tireless champion of free speech. Nimble and feisty, DRAD is unwavering in its principles and remarkably effective at fighting against government and corporate efforts to silence dissent and political expression. It continues to be a leader in helping shape the national conversation on civil liberties and supporting grassroots movements, and I am proud to serve on its board.

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Defending Rights & Dissent with its timely notifications of challenges to civil liberties and to the voices of dissent provide an antidote in these troubled times where there is a concerted efforts to obfuscate the truth and demonize truth tellers through the use of self-serving labels like "alternative facts". I turn to Defending Rights & Dissent to be informed of the most critical issues and threats to our rights. Defending Rights & Dissent plays an irreplaceable role in cutting through the false narrative being consistently put out and propelled through the right-wing echo chamber and those complicit with spinning their lies.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I support this nonprofit because I had an experience at a polling place where officers of that polling place were going to violate my rights. Because I like to read and visit websites of groups like Defending Rights and Dissent I was able to learn from those websites information that helped me at that particular moment at that polling place in protecting my voting rights. I think Defending Rights and Dissent website is great.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I believe Defending Rights and Dissent (DRAD) is a great organization. The society we live in at the present time is a society that is extremely polarized by people’s political ideas and religious beliefs. DRAD ‘s commitment to defending people’s rights, and especially the rights of people who are in a minority to dissent, is well demonstrated through the composition of its board. DRAD ‘s board is very diverse. The different ethnicities, races, religions, age groups, genders and sexual orientations of DRAD’s board members bring into the organization the individual board members’ personal experiences, perspectives and commitments to the issues as those issues are presented within the polarized society we all live in today. Great Board Composition !!!!! FIVE STARS !!!!

Board Member

Rating: 5

DRAD has been at the forefront of the fight for civil liberties even at those moments when the public mood has been at it's most fearful and paranoid. They've campaigned for the rights of our most vulnerable citizens and activists against the overwhelming powers of the surveillance state and have shown time and time again that they can be counted on to fight the battles for our democratic freedoms when no one else will.

Board Member

Rating: 5

DRAD is an essential voice in today's political environment, where First Amendment rights are being assailed from all directions. It leverages its small staff and lean budget to generate outsized impact.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

DRAD's work to ensure that Americans continue to enjoy their First Amendment rights express to political dissent and unpopular viewpoints is more essential than ever before. I am proud to be a member of DRAD's Board because of the importance of its mission--which has never been more important than it is today--the storied history of the organization, and the expertise and dedication of its hardworking staff.

1 Joan Q.

Donor

Rating: 5

Defending Rights and Dissent provdes absolutely critical work to help save our democracy. This organization is supported by brilliant, committed, Hard-working professionals. I pray this organization will receive all the help and donations that it deserves because we need it now more than ever before!!!

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a retired Superior Court staff attorney who specialized in criminal law. Defending Rights and Dissent is an incredibly important organization at any time - and especially in this crazy time of Trump!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Defending Rights and Dissent is, relative to its small staff size, a total powerhouse organization. Their tireless, principled work makes all dissenters safer. Collaborating with DRAD is always a pleasure.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Defending Rights & Dissent has been at the forefront in the struggle to defend free speech, the right to association, and to protest, for decades. In the face of the enormous threats to personal liberties and growing threats to the dissent, DRAD is needed now more than ever. The organization provides critically needed analysis, connects organizers and civil society leaders from different movements, and mobilizes through grassroots campaigns that are pivotal to everyone involved in social justice work. I continue to support DRAD, personally and professionally, as the organization is a bedrock for everyone who cares about challenging power and protecting our constitutional rights.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a retired attorney with a deep interest in civil rights and civil liberties, and I count on the review of civil rights and civil liberties put out on a daily basis by Chip Gibbons from Defending Rights and Dissent. It is invaluable reading to anyone interested in this field.

More recently, I and several organizations I am a member of turned to Defending Rights and and Defense to help us explain to our state legislature that proposed legislation penalizing the BDS movement would violate the constitution. Defending Rights and Dissent took the lead in crafting an outstanding analysis joined in by other civil rights organizations. I frankly do not know how they can turn out such high quality work with the small staff they have.

This is a remarkable organization that I cannot recommend too highly.

Susan T. Nicholson, Ph.D., Esq.
Gloucester, MA

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with one of the merged organizations - BORDC -from the days when it mobilized cities and communities to pass local resolutions against the USA PATRIOT Act.

Then and now in its merged form, it is a dynamic force for informed participation and holding government accountable and for resistance to government overreach and suppression.

I am impressed with the job that Sue Udry has done in merging BORDC and Defending Dissent into an even more important and powerful entity -- and with the commitment she and her colleagues demonstrate and the quality of work they do.

susangaissert

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering for DRaD about seven years ago, when the then-director read a blog post I wrote and graciously asked me to volunteer as a writer. I was immediately impressed: This person was really working -- looking for ways to serve his organization, reaching out to strangers he thought might be able to help. I have remained impressed to this day.

The people who work at DRaD are frighteningly smart, incredibly energetic, and passionate, passionate, passionate about equal rights and justice for all. In my time writing for DRaD, I was introduced to many of the groups and organizations they partner with -- all of them organizations that involve the community, work hard and do good work.

Good work. That's the way I'd sum up what DRaD is: Good people who do good work. The organization is essential and, sadly, increasingly more relevant.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My interactions with Sue Udry and the staff of BORDC/DDF have always been positive, intelligent, and inspiring. These people work hard, really hard, and working with them is a pleasure. They exude dedication, passion, and a fighting spirit. The work they do really matters, to all of us, and I am extremely grateful to them for doing it.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

DRAD and its predecessors have persisted for over 50 years, especially when the Bill of Rights were attacked, to defend the civil liberties of all of us.

giblfiz

Board Member

Rating: 5

DRaD is an absolutely amazing organization. I have seen few others that do as much with their resources, and particularly in the urgent times we are moving into, with freedom of speech and freedom of expression being threatened from every side, I can think of no organization that I would rather support.
DRaD effectively fights Police Militarization, Entrapment, Surveillance, and Lack of Accountability in our government. It serves as part of the non-profit nervous system that keeps activist organizations working together synergistically, and it helps mobilize and inform concerned citizens.

I liked this organization so much, I joined the board!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Defending Rights & Dissent(DRAD) has a storied history of often being first out in front to defend our most vital civil liberties and concomitant rights to dissent and protest free from unwarranted surveillance and harassment. These rights are essential elements of a functioning democracy the absence of which illuminate or presage devolution into authoritarianism. DRAD has stood against McCarthyism, the unconstitutional surveillance elements of the Patriot Act, the often hidden indefinite detention clause of the National Defense Authorization Act, FBI unwarranted harassment of peaceful activist groups, denial of rights and persecution of animal rights activists, and many other affronts to our democratic rights and liberties. DRAD is that small, innovative, cutting edge organization punching above its weight to protect and ensure our fundamental rights now and in the future.

Julie Greenberg T.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Not a day goes by that I don't learn (and share) things we all need to know in these distressing times.

Benjamin D.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Defending Rights & Dissent is at the front lines, handling unpopular issues that many mainstream groups avoid. It is principled, courageous, prudent, and strong.

Charlotte42

Advisor

Rating: 5

Please, we desperately need the voice of BORDC! They need all our support.

Donor

Rating: 5

We live in an age when the Lam Stream Media, controlled by the corporations of the 1% and serving as it's propaganda arm, fail miserably to cover events critical to the nations populace. The Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation is hard at work, publishing the truth behind much of this Propaganda. In a nation where the rich have massive wealth and greed drives their attempt to appropriate more from the poor, whether it be liberty, wealth, privacy or freedom, the BORDC/DDF serves as a scout for Activist who are valiantly progressing the struggle to right these despicable wrongs.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Great source of information not generally available.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Performs a valuable service in collecting and presenting news items concerning civil liberties-related issues.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Khalil Abu Rayyan's story is exactly why we need agencies like the Bill OF Rights Defense Committee. The FBI entrapped a lonely man, using his need for love to manipulate him into doing and saying things he never would have said otherwise. The FBI should be sued for this. This is not the first such story I have heard about the outrageous behavior of undercover agents. I myself am being tortured and controlled by undercover agents. They hurt me, and they violate my rights every single day of my life. When I protest, they (the police, medical staff, psychiatrists, my family and my husband) falsely accuse me of being mentally ill. All of this they do, AFTER they have ridiculed me, threatened me, tortured me, hit me, propositioned me for sex, used me for child pornography, stolen my money my ideas and my documents, and in general treated me like dirt.

At the end of the article about Khalil is this: "In California, alleged eco-terrorist Eric McDavid was released last year after his lawyers discovered the government withheld documents, including love letters, which showed the FBI had manipulated him through an informant known as “Anna.”" Author Trevor Aaronson✉[email protected]​trevoraaronson.com

We need agencies like the BORD to keep us informed so that we can protect ourselves from the criminal behavior of the police.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I try to keep up on issues with the erosion of Constitutional Rights, and the BORDC Digest is the one e-mail I open and read daily. They do the deep reputable research and FOIA requests that are needed for long-form journalism and also post links to Court cases or articles about current disclosures about abuse of govt. power.

Martine Z.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

BORDC/Defending Dissent Foundation's work is so important to citizen activists taking part in movements for change (environmental, social * economic justice). Powerful forces are at work, constantly attempting to criminalize dissent and equate activism with "threats" to national security. BORDC/DDF provide valuable information to activists on this front, and help guide citizen advocacy to ensure our rights, especially 1st, 4th amendment protected rights are not eroded.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Re: Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation.
This splendid group is aware and quick to see threats which could endanger our form of government and further erode our most essential rights. As the public editor of The New York Times, Margaret Sullivan, noted: This administration is opaque.
That means great effort must be made to acquire information to which the public is entitled including government activities that should not be kept secret. Yes, we were promised "transparency, but what we got was opacity.
Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation are vital sources of information, especially now.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Doing cutting edge and courageous work that many others are unwilling to take on!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

BORDC is an essential source for those of us who believe that civil rights are an essential element of a democacy. Without the continual flow of information about the state of affairs in regards to protection of free speech, free association, and so forth, we, as a society, would be in a much less informed and weaker position

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've worked with BORDC for years and trust their research and help with their actions. Indispensable!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

BORDC works diligently to help grassroots organizers around the country mobilize to protect their civil liberties. They are well worth supporting.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

BORDC puts out a great news digest. I always read it to know what is going on over a wide variety of issues. The leaders of BORDC are also very easy to work with and are always knowledgeable and informed about legislation and other threats to the Bill of Rights.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

BORDC is a "hands-on" group that helps local communities craft policies to protect our civil liberties. They do an amazingly effective job with very little staff, and know how to organize folks to take leadership. I also appreciate how diverse both the staff and their supporters are.
Kudos to BORDC.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a daily comprehensive compilation of news that is otherwise (mostly) buried. A very important service is being provided!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a great organization that works to keep the Government honest. We need this more than ever!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

BORDC helps to keep the government of this country honest. Without it, the United States could easily become a facist state and that would be unbearable for all of us!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

BORDC is perhaps the most reliable source of news and activism in protecting American Constitutional Rights. In today's hi-tech world and social media, we're all flooded with pitches and other environmental clutter. There is not enough time in the day to read or become involved with every good cause. One has to narrow one's focus to the best of the best. BORDC is the best of the best!

Steve Hohensee

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

These folks are doing righteous work! If there's ANY HOPE AT ALL for "The Children of the Future", we ordinary mortals of today must STAND UP against what has become "the powers that be". Unless WE THE PEOPLE vigilantly -- even jealously -- guard against the erosion of our Constitutional RIGHTS, we stand the very real risk of LOSING our own Democracy!!! HANG IN THERE, CITIZENS -- it's WORTH DOING whatever you have to do, so that our great DEMOCRACY -- "OF, by, and FOR the PEOPLE" -- as they say: SHALL NOT PERISH FROM THE EARTH...

-gs [G.S. Khalsa: [email protected]; 510-575-6695]

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our politicians are truly selfish and self-centered.
Their main focus is getting re-elected. Their focus is not on the Constitution.

Our politicians treat the Bill of Rights like it is an "ancient artifact".
The Bill of Rights is the Rule of Law!

BORDC is to be endlessly thanked for the unselfish efforts they continue to engage in.
As you know, defending our individual liberties and our 4th Amendment right is non-stop!

And the reason it is non-stop is because our politicians treat the Bill of Rights like it is an ancient artifact! Do you really feel that your state and county politicians care about you?

They care about ONE thing...and THAT is getting re-elected.

It seems like our government feels like they have the right to "own" us.
The fact is...they OWE us!

TV? Newspapers?
They never talk about domestic surveillance.
And domestic surveillance is EVERYWHERE!
When you have to disclose your social security number to get a fishing license?

WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON? I'll tell you what is going on.
We are living in a police state where you are guilty before even talking to a judge.

I remember the days of the rotary phone.
One NEVER felt like our government was "tapping the line".
Now, I'm afraid to give my phone number to ANY government agency!

I trust the BORDC. We need the BORDC.
Our Bill of Rights is NOT an ancient relic. It remains valid and necessary.
It doesn't matter what your political party affiliation is. We all are American patriots.

And as American patriots, it IS our duty to defend life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

And it is true...it is obvious...
We will have to engage in a non-violent revolution.
Otherwise, we will find ourselves doing the same old...same old...
Waiting and hoping...waiting and hoping...as our 4th Amendment rights silently vanish.

Sad...very sad.

Donna83

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been targeted for over 34 yeras since I was 16 yrs of age with " Covert Electronic Harassment and Surveillance and Gang Stalking & Gang Raping with a Military Human Rights Research Experiment funded by our own Governments and I am tyeted daily!

Ms, Donna Joy Plattner
4544 Nicholas St, Apt 4#
Omaha Nebraska, 68132
USA
402-884-5176
[email protected],com
December 30th, 20012

Patrick23

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Bill of Rights Defense Committe is the most active group and organization that I know of that works tirelessly to restore freedom to our country.

They understand the importance of reporting the failings of our U.S. Congress in the preserving of our U.S. Constitution. They also understand the urgency to pass resolutions in all levels of government throughout the country, to guard ordinary American citizens against tyranny and military indefinite detention.

The BORDC continually inspires me to write and publish my works in order to educate and inform the uninformed people of our nation. It is their unparalelled efforts that provide me with the energy and ambition to make phone calls and write letters to our leaders in Washington.

As long as I have the support of this great organization, I will refuse to be silent http://www.patrickwebdesign.com/index.html/2012/11/07/where-freedom-lies-in-post-2012-elections/. My voice will be heard everywhere and anywhere, despite the fact that Congress works to remove that right from me and all the rest of us American citizens, through ilegal legislation, and the ignoring of Supreme Court decisions.

Civic L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As the policy director of A Better Way Foundation, I have worked with BORDC since 2010. Shahid, Emma, and George were very informative and helpful on immigration issues about I.C.E. BORDC was instrumental in helping us craft new legislation for Connecticut's Anti-racial Profiling Law. I appreciate their professionalism and passion for the work. Our members were excited about how their civil rights being challenged because of the Patriot Act during a forum. Immediate response was looking at religious freedom differently. Members began discussing how religion should be included in our work discussion. We are partners working towards the same goal. Thank you BORDC for your insight and courage.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I met George back in May at a press conference re: some organizing Charlotte and NC folks were doing around the DNC. After i spoke and the press conference ended I was approached by George from BORDC who was super enthusiastic about some of the work I had mentioned about migrant justice in Charlotte. Then she invited me to BORDC's conference and I got the really amazing opportunity of connecting with folks all across the country who were doing amazing work in addition to picking up tools on how to strengthen the coalitions in NC. Ever since that conference and ever since having gotten to know BORDC and George, they have been genuinely invested in building community and people power here in Charlotte. In the face of all of the struggles we are facing I know that BORDC and George has my/our back.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I really believe in Shahid and in the mission of the BORDC. (Note: I'm on the advisory board.) Shahid is passionate, visionary, and clear-eyed. He is so committed to preserving civil liberties and is creative about how to make that happen, but, at the same time, he is practical about what is possible at any given moment. I think the campaign to involve local jurisdictions in taking a stand for civil liberties is the best example of this: it's tractable to get local governments to take a stand, since they are more easily moved than larger branches of government, but, at the same time, there's a larger campaign at work: getting ordinary Americans involved in civic dialogue. Shahid is all about building coalitions and is great at listening to people and finding common ground. Uncompromising leaders like Shahid are an important part of our constitutional democracy.

umesh1989

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The BORDC and its dedicated staff do a fantastic job trying to protect our Constitution, and ensuring that America is a 'Beacon of Hope' in the struggle and aspirations for the advancement of human rights, civil liberties, and human dignity.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

BORDC has an excellent combination of clear vision and smart organizing, using the tools it has available to build grassroots movements across the country. Its focus on creating alliances across marginalized groups and coalition-building with locally based organizations makes it one of the most effective organizations that supports local groups across the nation. I have worked with BORDC staff as part of a local campaign, and am always inspired by their dedication and talent. They run well-organized conferences and events, and do good work connecting and facilitating local campaigns. Keep up the good work!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I am impressed with the BORDC because the group actively seeks participation of people from underserved populations, including immigrants, people of color, those targeted with discrimination, and economically insecure. This organization also includes frequent teleconferencing and followup in its operations. I am also impressed with the relevancy of the issues that are focused on.

Andrew31

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the honor of working with several staff members at BORDC over the last several years and have nothing but high regards for them and their remarkable work. My interaction with BORDC has primarily been through Shahid Buttar and George Friday. Shahid has spoken at several events in Chicago the last few years, one of which I was responsible for planning. He gave a passionate and extraordinarily well articulated keynote address at our Public Interest Law Reporter symposium that was very well received by academics, attorneys, students, and lay people that were in attendance. He has also been a great source for information on building an effective movement necessary to achieve our vision. More recently, the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights invited George Friday to assist us in convening and facilitating a coalition building event here in Chicago. George is a dynamic speaker and fantastic organizer with years of first hand experience in the trenches. These experiences shine clearly through her work and made the event very successful. It is safe to say that BORDC is leading the charge as our country's most effective national organization focused on supporting local efforts to combat the growing police state.

Client Served

Rating: 5

A representative from BORDC, George Friday, came to Chicago to facilitate a meeting of dozens of activist organizers and did a great job of soliciting honest opinions about the struggles we are facing and the visions we have for advancing them. With candor and humor, she played an invaluable role in helping to forge deeper understanding, including of our very real differences, that will help us network for more effective action.

Thomas17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

BORDC is committed to helping its volunteers grow both professionally and personally. Numerous opportunities for networking, development and education are made accessible. The staff have a vested interested in the work they do and are very knowledgeable.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights (www.ccdbr.org), of which I'm president, has greatly benefited from BORDC's support and counsel. Through its remarkable networking, BORDC has brought us several new young board members who have completely re-energized and galvanized our organization. Shahid, George, Emma and others have repeatedly generated suggestions and plans (with supporting visits) for actions and policies which we have adopted in part or in full. Their focus on local action is crucial and fits very well with out capabilities and mission. It's more than ordinarily helpful to have the kind of national coordination for coalition-building (so necessary in Chicago), skills and resources, and inspirational leadership which BORDC has uniqely brought to the civil liberties table. We feel we're working in a partnership for a common cause, with a common understanding of the alarmingly underappreciated threats to constitutional freedoms. Bob Clarke, Chicago

George13

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

BORDC has provided consistent and invaluable support to the Coalition for a Safe Berkeley in Berkeley, California. In large part due to their encouragement, mentorship, and deep understanding of civil rights policy issues, we have won substantial changes in local police policies. The support from BORDC includes both content and process; their insight into the role local government can play in challenging federal repressive practices has provided a breakthrough for our policy work. Their counseling on network and coalition building has helped us create a stronger and more effective organizing effort.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Glorious small group with guts to legally and legislatively challenge big brother misguided policies of the US government

Review from JustGive