East Cleveland Student Wins First ACLU Youth College Scholarship

Affiliate: ACLU of Ohio
April 20, 2000 12:00 am

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CLEVELAND, OH — The American Civil Liberties Union today announced the winners of a nationwide student activist scholarship competition, awarding eight high school seniors $4,000 each for outstanding contributions in the struggle for civil liberties and the rights of young people.

The first annual ACLU College Scholarship for Youth Activism Award was created by an anonymous donor to recognize the efforts of graduating seniors who have demonstrated a strong commitment to civil liberties and civil rights through some form of student activism.

rious ACLU forums and special programs, the more I saw how wide the ACLU’s net was cast,” Griffin said. “The positions are sometimes controversial, but dissension is important for education; it forces us to say what’s on our minds.”

As an associate with her local ACLU’s summer program, Griffin produced literature and helped plan educational programs for the affiliate. “Concerned citizens are always at the forefront of positive change,” said Griffin, who now works with the ACLU to design programs for high school students.

Christine Link, the executive director of the ACLU of Ohio, said Griffin is a blossoming activist.

“Nichole confronted a high school environment hostile to student expression with a determination to educate and to defend civil liberties,” she said.

Student winners from California, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah, and Massachusetts were selected based on the personal statements they wrote describing their reasons for becoming civil rights/liberties activists. Some students established civil liberties clubs at their high schools, while others participated in ACLU lawsuits, or fought discrimination and censorship.

“The next generation of civil libertarians will face new challenges as part of their ongoing defense of the Bill of Rights,” said Ira Glasser, executive director of the national ACLU. “This scholarship gives the ACLU an opportunity to recognize the bravery of these students and the inspiration they provide.”

The ACLU college scholarship fund was made possible by a grant from an anonymous donor.

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