Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Video: Rachel Maddow Champions Liberty at Saturday’s ACLU of Wisconsin Bill of Rights Celebration

Before one of the largest crowds in the recent history of the ACLU of Wisconsin’s Bill of Rights Celebration, special guest Rachel Maddow described how indefensible arguments that destroy civil liberties will always be struck down. Bad laws, from spying on Americans to banning same-sex marriage, do happen. But with the strength of citizen advocates and organizations like the ACLU, the arc of history always bends toward justice and freedom.

"Oh my God: It's the A C L U!"

"If something is indefensible, it can be defeated. They want you to think their position is inevitable... but you can still make sangria in Virginia."

"When we have an honest debate about the issues bad policies won't win."

Special thanks go to our event's very generous sponsors: Stacey Herzing, Mark Thomsen, Chris Abele, Legacy Bank, and Joseph Pabst and Ray Vahey.

ACLU of Wisconsin Bill of Rights Celebration Awards:
Also during the evening, the ACLU presented several awards to community activists who demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to civil liberties.

Sheila Cochran from the Milwaukee Area Labor Council AFL-CIO received the William Gorham Rice Civil Libertarian of the Year award for her leadership and dedication to labor organizing, coalition building, and election protection. Cochran spoke warmly about her partners in the struggle to protect voting rights and to fight back the perennial attempts to disassemble same-day voting in Wisconsin. The award was presented by Jeralyn Wendelberger.

Salvador Gomez received the Jack and Lucy Rosenberg Youth Civil Libertarian of the Year for his continued commitment to ACLU of Wisconsin educational and activist programs. He first became involved several years ago through his participation in the Other America Tour, an ACLU of Wisconsin youth program that promotes cultural awareness, action and responsibility. Since then, Gomez has lent his talent as a filmmaker to many ACLU programs including youth-friendly voting rights videos that were widely seen on YouTube and at the National ACLU Voting Symposium in Washington D.C. Salvador accepted the award on behalf of all of the young volunteers who are active in the ACLU of Wisconsin’s youth programs. The award was presented by David Glicklich.

Dianne Greenley, long-term board member and disability rights legal advocate, was honored with the Eunice Z. Edgar Lifetime Achievement award. Dianne served on the ACLU of Wisconsin board for twenty-five years. While Dianne was not able to receive the award in person (due to being away on vacation to the Galapagos Islands to see sea lions and blue-footed boobies) , her history of fighting for the rights of people with mental illness and her role as an important part of patients’ rights, community support programs and mental health services in the state was fondly articulated by Disability Rights of Wisconsin Executive Director, Lynn Breedlove. The award was presented by ACLU of Wisconsin Board President, Erik Guenther.

The Bill of Rights Celebration is an annual event which recognizes extraordinary leadership in the protection and advancement of civil rights and liberties in Wisconsin.

More on Rachel:
Rachel Maddow hosts MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” featuring her take on the biggest stories of the day, political and otherwise, and includes lively debate with guests from all sides of the issues, in-depth analysis and stories no other shows in cable news will cover. Maddow also continues to host “The Rachel Maddow Show” on Air America Radio.

In January of 2008, Maddow was named an MSNBC political analyst; she is a regular panelist on MSNBC’s “Race for the White House with David Gregory” and a frequent contributor on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.” She has been the regular guest host for "Countdown," has filled in for David Gregory on "Race," and has been a regular panelist on MSNBC's 2008 election coverage.