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PORTLAND, OR – The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon will honor its long-time Executive Director, David Fidanque, with its highest honor, the E.B. MacNaughton Award, at its annual fundraising dinner on March 2.
ACLU of Oregon Board President, Candace Morgan, noted that the ACLU's MacNaughton Award is reserved for individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to civil liberties and civil rights in Oregon.
"David Fidanque's leadership for civil liberties and civil rights has been exemplary," Morgan said. "In his 20 years as Executive Director of the ACLU of Oregon, and his 31 years on the ACLU staff, he has been instrumental in protecting and advancing freedom in this state and nationwide."
Morgan said that Fidanque has been the primary spokesperson for the organization since 1993 and he is frequently quoted in the news media explaining the significance of civil liberties issues. A former journalist, he has spoken to countless audiences, given thousands of interviews and written numerous articles for the purpose of furthering a better understanding of civil liberties and civil rights values in Oregon.
"Many people are surprised to learn that Dave Fidanque is not a lawyer because his knowledge of the law, legal procedures and case law is vast," Morgan said. "Over the years, he has worked closely with many of the ACLU's volunteer attorneys to develop legal strategies for the Oregon affiliate."
Morgan noted that Fidanque has played an integral role in many ballot measure campaigns involving civil liberties and civil rights in Oregon.
"Dave has been a consistent voice among those who have worked to ensure that basic rights should not be matters decided by popular vote," Morgan said. "However, when such efforts have qualified for the ballot, he has also helped ensure the defeat of efforts to diminish a woman's reproductive rights, debase and devalue gay and lesbian people, roll back our free expression protections, and strip the fundamental due process rights from individuals accused of crimes."
Morgan also noted that Fidanque was selected by his fellow Executive Directors of ACLU state affiliates to chair the ACLU Executive Directors Council from 2006 to 2010. In that role he helped implement the national organization's efforts to increase collaboration between the National ACLU and affiliates nationwide. He also advocated for greater financial support for the ACLU's smallest affiliates.
"The civil liberties and civil rights climate in Oregon and nationwide would be far different today had Dave Fidanque not been the leader of the ACLU of Oregon for the past 20 years," Morgan said.
The keynote speaker at the ACLU Foundation of Oregon Liberty Dinner will be Glenn Greenwald, civil rights and national security columnist for The Guardian and author of three New York Times bestsellers. Greenwald has been named one of the 25 most influential political commentators in the nation by The Atlantic. Tickets are $125 and may be purchased online at www.aclu-or.org/LibertyDinner.
The E.B. MacNaughton Civil Liberties Award was created in 1962 and is bestowed only when there is an appropriate candidate, and is not given each year. E.B. MacNaughton was a respected leader of many Oregon institutions, including The Oregonian, the Reed College Board of Trustees and First National Bank. MacNaughton also served as the first Chair of the National ACLU advisory committee.