ACLU of Maine to Honor Lewiston and South Portland Students With Prestigious Baldwin Award

Students To Be Recognized For Their Brave Advocacy On Civil Liberties

Affiliate: ACLU of Maine
June 4, 2015 11:15 am

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PORTLAND, ME – On Thursday, the ACLU of Maine will honor seven high school students with the organization’s prestigious Baldwin Award, in recognition of their bold efforts to stand up for civil liberties at their respective schools.

Four of the students – Kalgaal Issa, Chandler Clothier, Iman Abdalla, and Muna Mohamed – are from Lewiston High School, where they successfully fought for their right to hang a #BlackLivesMatter poster and helped lead a protest march to bring attention to racial injustice and police brutality.

Three of the students – Gaby Ferrell, Lily SanGiovanni, and Morrigan Turner – are from South Portland High School, where they engaged in a lengthy debate with administrators over whether students should be advised of their right to not say the Pledge of Allegiance, eventually convincing faculty to approve a new procedure for the morning announcement.

“These students are an inspiration for their brave stands on behalf of civil liberties,” said Alison Beyea, executive director of the ACLU of Maine. “Not only were they successful in their efforts, but their conviction to publicly share their stories means that other students in Maine seeking social change will have role models to look up to.”

The Baldwin Award is presented annually to a group or activist that has made a distinguished contribution to the protection and promotion of civil liberties in Maine. The award is named for Roger Baldwin, an ardent activist for social justice who helped found the American Civil Liberties Union, and served as its Director until 1950.

“These seven students in Lewiston and South Portland were willing to tackle important civil liberties issues in spite of the controversy their actions generated,” said Susan Peck, president of the ACLU of Maine. “The ACLU is so excited to honor their work and to recognize their courage in speaking out for what is right.”

The presentation of the Baldwin Award will take place on the Lewiston campus of USM and will begin at 4:00 p.m. Following their acceptance speeches, all seven students will take part in a roundtable discussion where they will share insights into their experiences and take audience questions about what it was like to speak up for civil liberties in a school setting.

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