Nov. 14, 2012
MONTPELIER – The American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont presented Laura Ziegler of Plainfield with its 30th annual David W. Curtis Civil Liberties Award at its annual meeting Nov. 10 in Montpelier. Ziegler was honored “for protecting the rights of psychiatric survivors and people with disabilities and for her steadfast commitment to government accountability.” The award citation described Ziegler as “a tireless, self-appointed advocate for citizens who are frequently marginalized and unheard in our society,” said Allen Gilbert, ACLU-VT executive director.
Also honored were:
Attorneys Julie Kalish of Norwich and Bernie Lambek of Montpelier received the organization’s Jonathon B. Chase Cooperating Attorney Award for their work representing a Franklin woman who challenged her town’s practice of opening the annual town meeting with a sectarian prayer. Kalish and Lambek successfully argued in Vermont Superior Court that “the Vermont Constitution’s Article 3 ensures freedom of conscience while prohibiting state endorsement of any religion through compelled attendance at worship,” according to the citation.
Eileen Blackwood and Lynn Goyette of Burlington received the organization’s Development Award for their work as volunteer auctioneers at the ACLU-VT annual meeting. The two were cited as having followed in the footsteps of Richard Hathaway, a Goddard professor who became an auctioneer in order to help nonprofit organizations raise money. After Hathaway’s death in 2005, Blackwood and Goyette went to auctioneering school and received auctioneers’ licenses. In the last five years they have helped the ACLU-VT, and other nonprofits, raise thousands of dollars by volunteering their auctioneering skills.
Robyn Cook-Hubner of Hardwick received the organization’s Volunteer Award for her long service helping to run the ACLU-VT annual meeting. She also volunteered for many years on the ACLU-VT Legal Advisory Panel, which reviews complaints sent by citizens for possible litigation.
Elected to the ACLU-VT Board of Directors were Jerome Allen of Winooski, Euan Bear of Bakersfield, Jeff Dworkin of Montpelier, Traci Griffith of Williston, Julie Kalish of Norwich, Bill Sayre of Bristol, and Bill Schubart of Hinesburg. The ACLU board is made up of 11 other incumbent members.
The ACLU is a nonprofit organization with 2,200 members in Vermont and 500,000 nationally. The ACLU-VT will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2017 and the National ACLU its 100th anniversary in 2020.