This fall, we will host our annual student conferences at three different locations across Maine, each featuring a series of workshops on different civil liberties topics that directly affect young people. Between these conferences and our many classroom visits we were able to reach more than 1,800 students last school year, but as we’ve been looking ahead to the 2014-15 school year we’ve been searching for ways to reach even more.
Earlier today, President Obama signed an executive order to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from workplace discrimination at businesses that contract with the federal government. This was not unexpected, but it is still well worth noting, especially in the context of the blog I posted last week.
Late last year, when the U.S. Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), it was viewed by many as one of the highlights of an already-historic year for LGBT people. In Maine we have protections so that no one can be fired or not hired based on their sexual orientation, but the majority of states do not have such a law. So when ENDA passed, we celebrated here in Maine.
This Saturday marks the first official day of summer, and what better way to celebrate than by marching with us through the streets of Portland for the city’s annual Pride Parade? We hope you can join us to show your support, but if not, don’t fear: this won’t be the only time you can connect with us this summer.
Educating young people about their constitutional rights has been a key component of the ACLU of Maine’s mission for well over a decade. In that time our program has grown step by step, and this year we are proud to say we reached more students and schools than ever before.
At last year’s Pride Parade, the ACLU of Maine crew marched through the streets of Portland with bright blue signs declaring “I’m On Team Edie!” This was our show of support for Edie Windsor, the ACLU’s client in the groundbreaking laws
Each year the ACLU of Maine teaches over 100 workshops to students, which gives us plenty of chances to cite both new and old decisions by the Supreme Court. Hypotheticals can be fun, but students routinely tell us that they enjoy hearing about real cases - and why wouldn’t they? Disputes that make it to the Supreme Court are often fascinating, and the big cases involving students tend to be particularly juicy and ripe for debate.
It’s been nearly a year since the Guardian and the Washington Post first began publishing reports based on leaks from Edward Snowden, and in the months that followed neither newspaper was immune from criticism.
Publishing articles that expose government misconduct and shine a light on previously undisclosed programs is never easy to do, and yet it is an essential public service protected by no less an authority than the U.S. Constitution.