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Speaking Freely With the ACLU-PA

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Back to School, Part 2

For part two of our two-part back-to-school series, we hear from Preston Heldibridle, state policy associate for the Pennsylvania Youth Congress. PYC is an LGBTQ youth advocacy group and a client of ACLU-PA in defense of the Boyertown Area School District's practice of allowing transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms appropriate to their gender identity. (More information is available at aclupa.org/Boyertown.) As a recent high school graduate, Preston offers the perspective of...


Back to School, Part 1

Students around the commonwealth and the nation are headed back to school. With the focus on school security that never really ends but heightens after high profile tragedies, ACLU-PA Senior Policy Advocate Harold Jordan joins this episode to talk about how school officials are reacting after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February. Harold also offers insight into the research on how different students are disciplined differently - there's talk now of a Pre-School to Prison Pipeline -...


See you in court!

In 1920, a small group of activists founded the ACLU. Most of them were not lawyers. Today, the ACLU is muscling up its advocacy work and getting a lot of attention for it, from the New York Times to the New Republic to Politico. In between, the ACLU became the fiercest public interest law organization in the country, litigating some of the most prominent civil rights issues of the 20th and the 21st centuries. For this episode, we hear from Witold "Vic" Walczak and Mary Catherine Roper, the...


Episode 9: The Campaign for Smart Justice

Pennsylvania's approach to criminal justice over recent decades has been a failure that has fueled mass incarceration. In the commonwealth and around the country, the ACLU has prioritized reform, launching the Campaign for Smart Justice, to reduce the prisons and jails population by 50 percent and combat racial disparities in the criminal justice system. In this episode, we hear from Jondhi Harrell of The Center for Returning Citizens and Terrell Thomas, senior field organizer for the...


Episode 2: "Lives are at stake"

In episode 2, we talk with Brandi Fisher of the Alliance for Police Accountability, a grassroots, community-based organization in Pittsburgh. Brandi talks about understanding that different communities are served differently by the police, why we have to keep fighting, and why APA has expanded its mission to include both police accountability and mass incarceration. Then we're joined by Naiymah Sanchez, organizer and transgender advocacy coordinator for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, for our Meet...


Episode 1: "They find their voice"

Welcome to our premiere episode! Parthiv Patel is a lawyer, a Dreamer, and a client of the ACLU-PA. After graduating from law school and passing the bar exam, Parthiv was initially denied his admission to the bar because of his immigration status. He discusses his experience as an immigrant, how he got his law license, and what the Dream Act means to people like him. Information about his case is available at aclupa.org/patel. In March, the ACLU-PA recognized Sister Janice Vanderneck with...


Trailer: Speaking Freely With the ACLU-PA

Speaking Freely is the podcast that tells the story of civil liberties in Pennsylvania. With each episode, you'll hear from those who are directly impacted and those who are shaping the latest civil liberties issues.