ACLU Youth Leaders Spearhead National Week of Student Action Against the PATRIOT Act

October 22, 2003 12:00 am

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NEW YORK – Students across the country are joining in the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Week of Student Action to Oppose the Patriot Act, October 26-November 2. At college campuses from New York to California, they will reach out to their peers with information, petitions, rallies, letter-writing campaigns and other educational initiatives that highlight the violations of basic individual rights and liberties embedded in the PATRIOT Act and its planned sequel, known as Patriot II.

ACLU student volunteers called for the National Week of Action at the ACLU’s inaugural Membership Conference last June and have been working since the summer to plan and implement the event.

“”The government and senior leadership in the United Stated need to know that America’s next leadership generations – now in college or beginning careers — vigorously oppose the violations of individual rights condoned by the Patriot Act,”” said undergraduate Morgan Macdonald (Johns Hopkins, ’05), coordinator of the national event.

Student volunteer Maria Poulos (Dominican University ’03) added, “”While students are of course concerned for the safety of all Americans in the wake of 9/11, we should not need to have our school library records monitored, or our dorms searched without permission. We need to keep informed and to mobilize against unwarranted government interference in our civil rights.””

Suggestions for student activities, along with detailed information about the Patriot Acts, are available on line at http://www.stopthepatriotact.org/. Among special events now planned for the Week of Action are:

  • “”Patriot Act Un-birthday Bash”” at Judson Memorial Church in New York City, October 24, 6 p.m.
  • Lecture by ACLU president Nadine Strossen at Dartmouth College, October 28,
  • “”Patriot Acts – The Bill of Rights Theatre Project”” – a series of short skits dramatizing key concerns about civil liberties since 9/ll at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, November 1.

The student action week marks the second anniversary of the passage of the Patriot Act, which was passed on October 26, 2001, just 45 days after the attacks of 9/11. The week of action is part of a widespread, bipartisan effort to roll back anti-civil liberties portions of the law. The ACLU has spearheaded a national “”Keep America Safe & Free”” campaign to oppose anti-civil liberties provisions in the Patriot Act and other unconstitutional government actions since 9/11.

Across the country nearly 200 communities, including the states of Hawaii, Alaska and Vermont, have passed “pro-civil liberties” resolutions, many of which call for corrections to be made to the USA PATRIOT Act. Now, 25.5 million Americans reside in “pro-civil liberties” areas.

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