ACLU Announces Winners of Second Annual Stand Up for Freedom Contest: 3,500 Young People Get Creative About Defending Civil Liberties

March 15, 2006 12:00 am

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NEW YORK – Completing a key phase of their yearlong campaign aimed at inspiring young Americans to defend civil liberties, the American Civil Liberties Union today announced the winners of the second annual Stand Up for Freedom Contest. Launched on July 4th, 2005, the competition challenged young people across the country to get creative about defending their rights by producing a TV public service announcement (PSA) or writing an essay on today’s pressing civil liberties issues.

Lauren Humphrey, a recent graduate of the University of Southern California, took the $5,000 award in the PSA category for her submission “You Do,” which focuses on the invasiveness of the Patriot Act. In the writing category, the $1,000 prize was awarded to Steven Gaughan for his submission “Hide and Seek,” a powerful piece on censorship.

“While we received many impressive entries, Lauren Humphrey and Steven Gaughan exhibited outstanding creativity and thoughtfulness in their responses to our challenge,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “In a time when many of our core freedoms are in jeopardy, it is encouraging to see young people defending civil liberties with such energy and imagination.”

A pool of more than 3,500 entries was narrowed down to seven finalists in each category, and a panel of acclaimed celebrities selected the two winners. Judges included filmmakers Ron Howard, Reginald Hudlin and Warrington Hudlin; award-winning musicians Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas; authors Cheryl Howard, Deborah Santana and Jessica Blank; philanthropist Marisol Thomas; Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; New York Film Festival Director Richard Peña; HBO Entertainment President Carolyn Strauss; and ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero.

The ACLU said the contest is a key part of its campaign to engage the next generation of civil libertarians. This ongoing effort continues with the launch of StandUp ( the ACLU’s new Web site for students and young people. StandUp spotlights bold and inspiring entries from the recent contest and also features live streaming of Listen Up for Freedom, an ACLU-branded CD sampler featuring songs from top Atlantic Records artists.

To learn more about the contest winners and other ACLU StandUp activities, visit

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