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In Memory of First Amendment Champion Judith Krug

Ed Yohnka,
Communications Director, ACLU of Illinois
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April 15, 2009

Those of us in Chicago — and across the nation — who share a fierce commitment to protecting freedom of expression lost a great champion this past weekend with the passing of Judith Krug. A librarian by training, Judith became a champion for the First Amendment whether it was confronting efforts to ban books in pubic libraries (including public school libraries), challenging efforts to force libraries to place clumsy, ineffective filters on public computers with internet access or critiquing the intrusive provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, especially as those provisions affected library patrons.

She was a robust advocate, who relished the opportunity to advance her position — a position that always advanced fundamental constitutional principles. We appeared together on a number of panels in recent years discussing the USA PATRIOT Act, and it was easy to get “fired up” when Judith was on you side. She never backed away, never backed down and always argued from a principled perspective that was deeply-held and well-articulated.

More than anything else, Judith reminded us never to be afraid of ideas. She saw clearly that the path to personal development and growth comes through knowledge and information, and that information comes through reading from a wide variety of sources. She loved books, loved reading and she shared that passion with young and old alike.

We are better off in Chicago for having her powerful and effective voice emanate from this City and we will miss her.

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