ACLU Membership Conference 2007
February 24, 2007
The ACLU of San Diego and Imperial counties hosted its first ever membership conference at California Western School of Law. The wildly successful event drew together legislators, lawyers, and activists for an afternoon of civil liberties workshops, an art exhibit and auction and keynote address by civil libertarian, author and actor, Mike Farrell.
The conference raised some funding for the ACLU, but most importantly brought together over 200 civil libertarians in the San Diego area.
The afternoon began with four workshops on hot civil liberties issues:
- An Eye for an Eye? Revisiting the Death Penalty in the 21st Century
- Living on the Border: Understanding Immigrants’ Rights from Legal and Humanitarian Perspectives
- Presidential Abuse of Power Debate and
- Our Bodies, Ourselves: The Right to Privacy in Reproductive, End of Life and Treatment Decisions
The workshops were followed by a social hour, and awards presentation. The ACLU awarded two civil liberties awards at the conference.
Civil Liberties Awards
The Civil Liberties Champion award was given to Mike Farrell, a committed activist for change who opposes the death penalty, and actively works for human rights causes both at home and abroad. Mike was elected to be the president of Death Penalty Focus in 1994, and continues to speak out against the death penalty throughout the country, and work towards its eradication.
The Outstanding Civil Libertarian Under 30 was awarded to Malia Fontana. During her sophomore year of high school, Malia took a principled stand in defense of free speech rights, risking her discipline-free record in favor of youth rights. The ACLU intervened with the school and demanded that her record be restored to its pristine state and the matter was settled without litigation. The ACLU honors Malia for her willingness to stand up for her rights, and the rights of her peers.
Keynote Address: Death Penalty
Following the awards ceremony, Mike Farrell’s keynote address eloquently illustrated the problems with the use of the death penalty in California and throughout the nation. He presented striking stories, and statistics that expose the inhumanity of the death penalty, and call for its abolition.
The first ever Mobilization and Membership conference of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial counties was a great success, and accomplished its purposes of bringing together active civil libertarians throughout the San Diego area, to learn, discuss, and raise awareness of civil liberties concerns in San Diego and Imperial counties.