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Friday, September 16, 2011

ACLU of Eastern Missouri Honors Three Social Justice Titans Tonight

Posted By on Fri, Sep 16, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Tonight, the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri hosts its 40th annual Bill of Rights Celebration. Three local activists will be honored for their work in diverse areas of civil liberties.

Lois Jean Turner will be receiving the Distinguished Citizen Award. Scott Emanuel, development associate for the ACLU of Eastern Missouri, calls her a "fireball."

"She's a longtime social justice advocate. She came to the board more than ten years ago," says Emanuel. "She's at every protest, every event. She just gets it."

The Civil Liberties Award, which Emanuel says recognizes a lifetime of devotion to bettering communities around civil liberties, goes to attorney Thomas Blumenthal.

And the Roger Baldwin Award, named for the St. Louisan who founded the ACLU, goes to Murray Underwood, who has been a presence in activism for a lifetime.

"Underwood has been unapologetically active for 60 years. He was one of the first straight guys to be out about support of gay people," Emanuel says.

The event promises to be a great party, too, with an impressive-looking array of snacks from local restaurants, an open bar and valet parking. Put on your fancy pants, and head to the Soulard Preservation Hall at 7 p.m. Tickets are $75, and you can RSVP online or by calling 314.652.3111.

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