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Statement from the President
From the NC-ACLU Liberty Newsletter

Our chapter almost died a year and a half ago, but a committed group of activists got together and brought it back to life. Everyone that started coming to the meetings knew they wanted to protect civil liberties but nobody knew quite how to do it or what to do.

A year and a half later, the ACLU Chapter at NCSU is combating anti - ACLU propaganda from the religious right, educating students about the Moratorium for the Death Penalty in North Carolina, spearheading a statewide initiative to have a strong and effective ACLU Chapter in every public university in North Carolina and selling cookies for civil liberties like hell. All of this would not have been possible with out our 7 dedicated members, who at times stood in freezing temperatures for 5 hours a day in the Brickyard to promote ACLU and our campaigns.

Through out those long cold hours we’ve encountered some intense opposition. Students accused us of taking prayer out of schools, supporting child rapists, and even tried to persuade us that racial profiling against blacks and Arabs is a good thing. Of course, they lost the arguments because the facts are always on our side.

One issue that was not as contentious as the others was the death penalty. In September, with the help of Wake County ACLU, we invited Alan Gell (who spent several years on the death row) to speak at NC State One hundred and eighty students turned out.

In order to keep death penalty in the spotlight, we tabled in the Brickyard throughout the semester, giving students our cell phones so they could call the Governor between classes and ask him to halt executions (when there were any). Students were hesitant about calling the Governor, simply because they didn’t know anything about the person being executed. They were very curious, however, about the two-year moratorium that could be passed this year in North Carolina legislature. After a bit of persuasion, most students that came up, ended up call the Governor anyway and gladly read about the moratorium.

Being all out of money and realizing that (thankfully) there were only a few executions a year, we needed another reason to stay in the public eye and keep people aware of our existence and our message. We decided to sell Cookies for Civil Liberties. The semester-long bake sale was a tremendous success. In two months we raised around 150 dollars for our upcoming 2nd Annual NC Student ACLU Chapters Conference, passed out a lot of ACLU literature and spoke to a couple of hundred students and faculty.

Just when we thought we had a full load of issues to work on already, we got word that students were being followed around, harassed and questioned by the police and the FBI’s Joint Terrorist Task Force during and after peaceful demonstrations such as “Honk for Peace” and “Food Not Bombs”. We’ve always read about this type of harassment on the news and how the FBI infiltrated and harassed activist’s organizations 60’s and 70’s. We never thought it would happen here in Raleigh. Being only students, we realized this matter can only be handled by professionals and quickly referred it to the NC-ACLU chapter. Oddly enough, the national ACLU filed a lawsuit through out the entire nation against the FBI for exactly the same reason, harassing and infiltrating peaceful organizations with out a reason.

The political atmosphere in the US is tense and pressure on civil liberties is building. It’s good thing that our chapter is finally organized, focused and ready to stand up for our civil liberties.

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