Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Youth Scholarship Winner Reports Back From NYC ACLU Adventure

A report back from NYC and the Madison-area ACLU youth scholarship winner, Natalia Thompson:

"Last March, I was thrilled to be named one of sixteen recipients of the ACLU Youth Activist Scholarship. After spending much of my time in high school engaged in social justice activism, receiving recognition (and crucial financial support for college) from the nation's foremost civil liberties and civil rights organization was a very humbling honor, to say the least.

"In addition to this scholarship, the ACLU also invited me to attend their Youth Activist Institute, held in New York City at the ACLU's national office. I just returned to Madison from four exciting days spent learning about the ACLU and exploring New York.

"The Youth Activist Institute was a wonderful experience -- I loved the opportunity to meet other student activists from across the country; participate in a training on grassroots organizing and student activism in the model of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone; meet ACLU lawyers and advocates who have led campaigns on human rights, racial justice, women's rights, LGBT equality, and more; participate in a conversation with ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero; and enjoy summer in New York (including a Broadway production of Avenue Q)!

"I left New York energized and inspired by the phenomenal efforts of the ACLU to promote and protect social justice and human rights, even during an age when our president blasts torture one day and champions indefinite detention without charge or trial the next.

"Next month, I'll be leaving Madison to attend college at Yale University, where I hope to major in women's studies and political science. Although I'll miss Madison's wonderful community of activists, I'm excited about getting involved in the ACLU's work at Yale and beyond."

Thanks Natalia! Good luck in college!