Bill of Rights Celebration Honors Utahns Who Fight for Democracy

May 2, 2012

The Bill of Rights celebration is an annual fundraiser for the ACLU Utah.  Anna Brower is the Development Director for the ACLU of Utah. She spoke with UPR's Ashley Tolman about the organization's Bill of Rights Celebration taking place this week in Salt Lake City.

Brower explains the choice of this year's theme, "Power of the People":

"We wanted to celebrate all the barriers that have been torn down over the past 90+ years of the ACLU's history -- barriers to participatory democracy. We're celebrating our protection and advancement of voting rights, our demand for government transparency, and our work to protect the First Amendment, since they are all critical to preserving America's vision of what community political participation is all about."

Spencer Overton will be a guest speaker at the fundraiser. Overton is voting expert and law professor at the George Washington University. According to Brower, he was invited because,

"He talks about how small changes in policy and law can chip away at people's access to the political process and he will talk about what some of those threats are and what people are doing across the country to battle back against those attacks."

The fundraiser is also an opportunity to award scholarships to the ACLU's 3 winners of the Youth Activist Scholarship Award. One recipient is from Ogden and 2 are from Salt Lake City. Brower says, "They are amazing young people with really inspiring stories of personal hardship that they've overcome to be engaged in civil liberties activism."

Brower's hope for guests of the fundraiser is that they come away knowing that "There are serious problems facing our democracy but there are concrete solutions and actions that can be taken and that individual people can make a big difference...There's a lot of work to be done but people can definitely contribute to that."

The 2012 Bill of Rights Celebration will be held Wednesday, May 2, at the Rail Event Center, 235 North 500 West, in Salt Lake City. More information at ACLU Utah's website.