ACLU of Utah Seeking High School Civil Libertarians For Youth Activist Scholarship

Affiliate: ACLU of Utah
October 5, 2010 12:00 am

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Salt Lake City, UT – The ACLU of Utah is now accepting applications for its 2010 – 2011 Youth Activist Scholarship Program, which recognizes Utah high school seniors involved in civil liberties activism. Three $1,000 scholarships will be awarded. Winners will be honored at the ACLU of Utah’s annual Bill of Rights Celebration in the spring of 2011.

“Over the past three years we have identified and honored nine incredible young people for the strength and depth of their contributions to protecting or promoting civil liberties in their school or community,” said Karen McCreary, Executive Director of the ACLU of Utah. “We are proud to continue recognizing outstanding Utah high school youth who are important role models of political and civic engagement.”

The ACLU of Utah firmly believes in the importance of recognizing young activists. As 2010 winner Joel Organista said, “When youth are effectively involved in politics and know their rights, they become agents for positive change in their communities.”

The application is quite simple. Students complete a short application form and write a 1,000-word essay about their commitment to, and work on behalf of, civil liberties. They must also submit two recommendations from non-family references.

To qualify for the scholarship the student must:
• Have demonstrated a strong commitment to civil liberties through some form of activism,
• Be a high school senior planning on entering an accredited college or university as a full-time, degree-seeking student,
• Have attained a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. If the GPA is less than 3.0, the student is still eligible, but must submit an explanation for the lower GPA.

Applicants will be judged on the following standards:
• The strength and depth of the candidate’s contributions to civil liberties
• Demonstrated leadership
• The likelihood of the applicant continuing commitment to civil liberties in the future
• Commitment to academic excellence
• Demonstrated financial need

A committee of community leaders, representing diverse political and cultural demographics, will review the applications and consider the strength and depth of the candidate’s contributions to civil liberties, demonstrated leadership, the likelihood of the applicant’s continuing commitment to civil liberties in the future, and their commitment to academic excellence along with their financial need.

Applications to the Youth Activist Scholarship Program are due to at ACLU of Utah Office (located at 355 W. 300 N., Salt Lake City, UT 84103) on Tuesday, November 9, 2010. Winners will be notified by early December.

Last year’s winners were:

• Ingrid Asplund, Walden School, Provo. Ingrid, Student Body President at Walden School in Provo, started an “Eco-Team” to make the school a greener place to learn. She also joined forces with Planned Parenthood to implement a more comprehensive sexual education program for Walden students. She has participated in local and national political campaigns, and staffed the Sierra Club booth at the Farmer’s Market for several years. Ingrid has been on service trips to Mexico, Guatemala and Turkey, and spent her junior year as an exchange student in Germany.

• Joel Organista, West High School, Salt Lake City. As a young Latino facing and witnessing racial prejudice, Joel Organista felt compelled to do something. This motivation bore fruit with his work on a documentary called “Red Flags: Racism and Ethnic Stereotyping in Schools.” Joel has traveled to various national conferences to present and discuss the film. He was named to the national advisory board of the “Education Through Liberation” Network and played a pivotal drafting a National Student Bill of Rights.

• Amber LeBaron, American Fork High School. As a summer intern for the Worldwide Organization of Women at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Amber interviewed women for the U.N. and compiled their stories for the Mother’s Legacy Project. She was also invited to represent youth from around the word at the Civil Society Development Forum, hosted by the Conferences of NGOs. She drafted sections of the Youth Civil Society Development Forum Report, emphasizing the need for youth to be engaged and acknowledged. Locally, Amber has worked with the Utah WOW program, and she was a student government leader at her high school.

For additional information about the program, please visit:

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