The Mid-Missouri Civil Liberties Association was created in November of 2011 when the Mid-Missouri ACLU Chapter was terminated by what was then known as the Eastern Missouri ACLU Affiliate. The Mid-Missouri ACLU Chapter had been active for over 40 years. The members of that Chapter and its Board of Directors believe it is important that an organization devoted to the preservation of civil liberties in our area of the state remain active and independent.
The mission of MOCLA is to be a tool for citizens to advocate for preservation of constitutional rights and liberties as well as civil rights. Since our founding, we have endeavored to work on a consistent and cooperative basis with the ACLU. Since our formation, the ACLU Affiliates of Eastern Missouri and Western Missouri have merged into a single organization, the ACLU of Missouri, headquartered in St. Louis, and maintaining an office with paid staff members in Kansas City.
MOCLA works for many of the same goals and purposes as the ACLU, but focuses on the Mid-Missouri area and on the Missouri General Assembly in Jefferson City.
MOCLA has engaged in litigation, has been active in legislation and has engaged in public education efforts designed to raise awareness of and sensitivity to threats to civil liberties.
MOCLA has sponsored candidate forums which focus on civil liberties concerns. In 2016, MOCLA sponsored a candidate forum prior to the November elections which included candidates for the United States Congress, the Missouri General Assembly and various other offices. In 2017, MOCLA held a candidate forum which featured candidates in three races for seats on the Columbia City Council.”
MOCLA generally meets once each month on a Saturday afternoon. Recent meetings have been held at the Unitarian-Universalist Church, 2615 Shepard Boulevard in Columbia. The meeting date is set at the conclusion of the previous month’s meeting.
Meetings generally last approximately two hours. We sometimes feature a guest speaker, either in person or by telephone conference call. Past guests at MOCLA Board meetings have included Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton, ACLU-MO Executive Director Jeffrey Mittman and ACLU Legislative and Policy Director Sara Baker.
Members of MOCLA were active in helping to establish the Columbia Police Citizens Review Board which handles appeals regarding the disposition of citizen complaints about police misconduct. MOCLA participates in the annual Earth Day celebration in late April in Columbia, as well as the annual Pridefest event which takes place in August.
MOCLA has sponsored public speakers, including attorney Sean O’Brien, discussing death penalty cases, and attorney J.R. Hobbs, discussing the case of Shakir Hamoodi who was sentenced to serve time in federal prison for sending money to his family.