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March 14, 2008: Tennessee High School Senior is Among 15 Winners of ACLU College Scholarship for Youth Activism


March 14, 2008

CONTACT: Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN Executive Director, 615-320-7142

NASHVILLE - - The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) today announced that Evan (Evie)Farnsworth of Nashville is one of fifteen high school seniors from across the country who will receive a $5,000 college scholarship from ACLU in recognition of their outstanding work to protect civil liberties, especially for young people.

Since 2000, the ACLU has awarded scholarships annually to honor the efforts of graduating seniors who have demonstrated a strong commitment to civil liberties and civil rights through student activism.

"We are delighted that Evie was selected as a scholarship winner and we are so very proud of her. Evie embodies the best of the next generation of student activists. She is thoughtful, passionate and committed to her goal of protecting civil liberties and civil rights," said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN Executive Director.

Farnsworth was inspired by the suicide of her gay uncle to become engaged in LGBT issues at her Nashville, Tennessee high school. She is a founding member of a student-led coalition to get the Metro Nashville School Board to expand the student non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity, expression and appearance. Through a comprehensive public education campaign, the students, working with ACLU-TN, have built up a coalition of Nashville's most respected child welfare and youth groups dedicated to showing how anti-gay and anti-transgender bullying affects all students. Evie and the rest of the Support Student Safety coalition hope that their efforts will be a model for other students who want to make positive change within their school districts. Evie is also active in her school’s Gayaight Alliance, and helped to organize campus events like the Hume Fogg AIDS Walk, National Transgender Day of Remembrance, World AIDS Day and the National Day of Silence.

In her essay, Farnsworth wrote, “I strongly believe that every person in this world is owed the right to embrace his or her individuality… While anger, sorrow and pain have their justifications, hatred has no righteous place among humanity. My deepest desire is that peace can be given to those who have been robbed of it by a misinformed and unkind society. I will fight for that peace with all the power I possess.”

In addition to Farnsworth, this year’s other recipients come from Alaska, California, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico,New York, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia and Puerto Rico.

The ACLU College Scholarship program was made possible by a generous grant from an anonymous donor.

For more information about the Support Student Safety Campaign, please click here to visit the “Recent Developments” on our LGBT Rights page.





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