WKU hosting ACLU 60th anniversary celebration

Samantha Wright

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, a non-profit organization advocating for social issues across the Bluegrass State. 

In celebration, an exhibit called “60 Pages of Freedom” tells of the organization’s history using stories of the individuals who helped form it. The exhibit will be presented from March 29 through May 1 in the Mass Media and Technology Hall Gallery. In addition to the exhibit, the ACLU of Kentucky is sponsoring several events on campus that feature past and present civil liberty issues.

The ACLU of Kentucky lists its mission on the website as one of protection and aid.

“The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky (ACLU) is freedom’s watchdog, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people by the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” the website states.

Patti Minter, associate professor of history, encouraged students to attend the events and the exhibit because of the educational benefits.

“Students should come to the exhibit and events because understanding the past is a great way to understand issues in the present,” she said. 

Amber Duke, communications manager for the ACLU of Kentucky, thinks this exhibit and the events will be highly beneficial for WKU students.

“I think WKU is being true to its mission of preparing students to be productive, engaged, and socially responsible citizen leaders by hosting these events,” she said in an email. “The ACLU’s work covers a lot of areas, and to be able to bring people to campus that are directly impacted by some of the most challenging civil liberties issues of our times is an amazing learning opportunity for students. And if a student is inspired by what they’ve heard to take action or work toward social change, the ACLU can provide actions and next steps.”

As part of the exhibit, there will be a special art station set up that will allow visitors to make mock protest signs about issues they care about, which will later be displayed at the main 60th anniversary celebration at the Olmsted in Louisville on Nov. 12.

Other events include the Witness to Innocence Tour featuring death row exoneree Sabrina Butler Porter at 3:30 p.m. at Gary Ransdell Hall Auditorium on April 9. A panel discussion on the history of ACLU of Kentucky’s Work on LGBT Rights will be held April 20 at 5 p.m. in Gary Ransdell Hall Auditorium. 

Both of these free events are swipeable and open to the public.

More information about the organization’s history can be accessed online at www.aclu-ky.org, where interested visitors can view videos that explore the organization’s work. The Faces of Liberty project, which profiles a different board member, client, or supporter that assisted ACLU of Kentucky can also be read online.