In addition to organizing against war with Iraq, Women Against War, early on, opposed the USA Patriot Act and sought to educate the public about the far reaching affects on civil liberties of this law. The USA Patriot Act, a federal law enacted very shortly after September 11th, greatly expanded the surveillance and investigative powers of law enforcement agencies. Passed with little Congressional debate, supporters claimed these powers were necessary to fight terrorism. Patriot Act Fact Sheet.
WAW organized a Public Forum in February 2003 to educate area residents about the practical application of the Patriot Act. The program presented a panel comprised of a representative from the NY Civil Liberties Union, an attorney who worked with immigrants, a librarian and one of the founding directors of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC). The program was very well attended by the public as well as the media.
Following the program, several Bill of Rights groups formed which succeeded in lobbying their local governments to pass resolutions opposing the Patriot Act.
WAW sponsored another forum in March 2006, following Congressional re-authorization of provisions of the Patriot Act which were scheduled to sunset. The speaker was once again, Nancy Talanian, founding director of the BORDC. She discussed the changes that were made to the Patriot Act as part of re-authorization and renewed the call to continue the opposition to it. WAW continues to work for the protection of civil liberties and to demand equal justice for all.