This is my last blog post for the ACLU of MAINE. I have wanted to work for the ACLU since I was a little girl. So, how can I possibly do justice to my time here in one blog post? The truth is I can’t, but I can tell you what the best part has been.

The best part has been you.

For the first Scolnik Dinner I attended, I created a short video of interviews with former ACLU of MAINE board presidents. What amazing ACLU of MAINE members! I asked board presidents what advice they had for young civil libertarians. Orlando Delogu said, “When you can be muzzled, then your colleague can be muzzled and I can be muzzled and none of us are really free from the possibility of being muzzled if we espouse what at that point in time may be a less popular idea… and that all of our rights are protected when everyone’s rights are protected.” It was a great lesson to hear in my first few months of organizing.

The summer following that dinner, I spent weeks running around the state connecting with ACLU of MAINE volunteers on the REAL ID People’s Veto campaign. It was the best, worst time of my life. It was the worst because I hardly slept and had so many details in my brain that I’m surprised it didn’t explode. It was the best, though, because every day I was able to connect with ACLU of MAINE members - passionate, dedicated, hard-working ACLU of MAINE members. I have very vivid memories of driving in the Penobscot County area on a beautiful Maine summer day and stopping at people’s homes, farms, and places of work to pick up petitions and drop them off. People turned in signatures for the People’s Veto and fed me food. The hard work of hundreds of people across the state was inspiring, and still inspires me today.

The following fall, I ran my first series of student conferences. It was inspiring to watch students engage with their Constitutional rights in an academic setting. I was heartened when ACLU of MAINE members John Paterson, Dick O’Meara, Kelly McDonald, and many, many others joined in the effort. ACLU of MAINE Board Member Bernie Huebner even spent a total of 10 hours driving with me up to Presque Isle to lead a conference there. The ACLU of MAINE has great members, and it makes an organizer proud.

We also have a great network among the affiliates. A few weeks before Election Day in 2009, I got a call from ACLU – MA staff attorney Gavi Wolfe, who wanted to bring some ACLU – MA staff to join in the marriage equality effort. On Election Day, I drove to the Eliot area to canvass with Katy Jayne. I will never forget that car ride. We met ACLU of Massachusetts staff members in a church basement to cut turf and knock on doors to turn out pro-equality voters. The sense of solidarity was palpable, and as I think about it now, it still knocks the wind out of me.

I’ve been blessed to work with some of the best coalition partners in the country. There are so many examples of this, but for the sake of brevity, I will share only one. This past legislative session, I experienced my first anti-choice protestors at a press conference I helped organize. We needed someone to stand outside the door, but I really didn’t want to stand there alone in the midst of our opposition. I called the staff of the Maine Women’s Lobby, all of whom (literally, the entire staff) rushed over to help support speakers and to stand outside the room with me. It was a true testament to the strong coalitions in Maine. Remembering the feeling of solidarity brings tears to my eyes.

As I move on to a new opportunity, I will carry with me these wonderful memories, and the opportunity to have connected with you.

Thank you for all that you do,