The New York Civil Liberties Union held its Youth Night celebration “Finding Our Voices” on June 17th, 2004. It was a night to honor winners of its First Amendment H.S. Essay contest; peer educators in the city’s schools and the ACLU Scholarship winner. The evening ended with performances from bourgeoning city talent.
“This is a night to celebrate the future civil libertarians,” says Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU. “They inspire us with their words, actions and song.”
The NYCLU honored the winners of the First Amendment Essay Contest that was opened to all high school students in NYC. Nearly 200 students submitted essays on the importance of the First Amendment in the post-9/11 era. Their applications came from public, private and alternative schools.
The winners were:
- First prize was awarded to Gil D. Zamfirescu-Pereira, an 11th grade student at Hunter College High School in Manhattan. He also receives $500.
- Second prize was awarded to Caroline Friedman, a 10th grader also at Hunter College High School and she receives $250.
- Third prize -- a tie -- goes each to Sabina Khan, a 10th grade student at the Baccalaureate School for Global Education in Queens and to Chantale Soekhoe, an 11th grade student at the Urban Academy in Manhattan. Each will receive $100.
Honorable mentions were awarded to Laura Moore, a 10th grader at Frederick Douglass Academy in Manhattan and Nairobi Valdez, an 11th grader at Bronx Leadership Academy, with each receiving $50. There were 10 additional finalists whose names are listed here. This contest was made possible by a grant from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation.
Others honored at the celebration were 16 peer educators from the NYCLU’s Teen Health Initiative Project (THI). These young people advocate for and spread the word about reproductive rights for youth. The THI project is headed by LeeChe Leong who acknowledged the very fine work of the educators.
The evening’s other honoree was Lindsay Roberts who received the 2004 ACLU Youth Activist Scholarship. Lindsay is a senior at Trinity School and she’ll be attending the University of Pennsylvania in the fall.
“Finding Our Voices” took place in the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater at the Peter Norton Symphony Hall in Manhattan. The night also had performances by up-and-coming singers and musicians, including Liana Stampur, Erich Bergen, Dana Steingold and Michael Larsen who directed the show.