NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union today announced the winners of its 2008 Youth Activist Scholarship contest. Fifteen high school seniors from across the country will each receive a $5,000 college scholarship in recognition of their “outstanding work to protect civil liberties, especially for young people.”
Highland High School student Cara Cerise was awarded one of the 15 scholarships for her work in gay and lesbian issues.
Cerise has been active in supporting gay rights and social justice throughout her high school career. In addition to accepting leadership roles in her school?s social justice club, Building One New Dream (BOND), and lobbying against anti-gay bills in Utah?s state legislature, she also started the Utah chapter of Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere. COLAGE is a support group designed to ?engage, connect, and empower people to make the world a better place for children of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender parents and families.? The ACLU of Utah also recognized Cara in its local scholarship competition for her demonstrated leadership and initiative.
?I?m an activist because I know I can make a difference. As I finish high school, my activism will not stop. I see it as an ongoing process. It is my passion, my drive, my reason for living,? Cerise said.
?It?s heartening to know that in a time when our civil liberties are under constant attack, so many young people across the nation are stepping up to defend their rights as students and as Americans,? said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. ?We are pleased to award the ACLU Youth Scholarship to recognize the courage of these young men and women who are future leaders in the fight for civil liberties.?