ACLU of Utah announces scholarship

The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah is seeking scholarship recipients in honor of their commitment and passion to civil liberties.

Since 2008, the program has awarded $1000 scholarships to three Utah high school seniors who demonstrate a desire to preserve civil liberties. Past scholarship recipients have positively impacted their communities by advocating for women at the United Nations, standing up for queer peers by starting queer-straight alliances, lobbying their elected officials for the protection of immigrants’ rights and championing free speech and free press.

“We are getting more and more applications each year from amazing young people who really care about protecting and promoting individual freedom,” said Anna Brower, development director at the ACLU of Utah, in a press release. “No matter how challenging our work at the ACLU gets, we always get a boost of inspiration from students who are fighting along with us in their schools and neighborhoods.”

Cara Cerise, Highland High School, was one of the ACLU of Utah’s first scholarship recipients in 2008. She spoke out for queer rights throughout her high school years. In addition to accepting leadership roles in her school’s social justice club and lobbying against anti-queer bills in the Legislature, Cara also started the Utah chapter of Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere. COLAGE is a support group dedicated to helping children of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents and families.

“What is so impressive about these young activists is the sophistication of their understanding of issues related to inequality and injustice. Our Selection Committee continually has been blown away by how much our applicants care about individual freedoms, and particularly about how other people may be prevented from exercising those freedoms,” Brower said.

Interested graduating seniors, currently attending Utah high schools, who plan on entering an accredited college or university, can apply online at acluutah.org. Qualified applicants will be selected, based on specific criteria, by the volunteer Scholarship Selection Committee, which is comprised of various community members and leaders. The top three applicants receive a scholarship award of $1000, and are honored at the ACLU of Utah’s Annual Bill of Rights Celebration in the spring.

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