ACLU of Maine Recognizes Patricia Ryan of Brunswick with Annual Civil Liberties Award

Affiliate: ACLU of Maine
October 28, 2014 3:51 pm

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Ryan is a Champion of Liberty and Rights for Women and Girls in Maine

October 28, 2014

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BANGOR – The ACLU of Maine awarded the annual Roger Baldwin Award to Patricia Ryan of Brunswick at its 2014 Annual Meeting and Celebration on October 27. The award is named for Roger Baldwin, an ardent activist for social justice and founder of the American Civil Liberties Union. It is given annually to a group or activist that has made a distinguished contribution to the protection and promotion of civil liberties in Maine.

“For over 40 years, Pat Ryan has been at the forefront of the movement for gender equality in Maine, working to ensure that all Maine women and girls are able to lead lives of dignity, free from violence and discrimination,” said Alison Beyea, executive director of the ACLU of Maine. “We salute Pat for helping build a Maine where women and girls have equal opportunity under the law.”

“Roger Baldwin, an activist for social justice, strikes a passion in me – and the fact that I am the recipient of recognition named after him is humbling,” said Ryan.

In 1973, Ryan served as statewide coordinator of the Maine Coalition for the Equal Rights Amendment, a group of 25 organizations that worked together to make Maine the 17th state to ratify the constitutional amendment in 1974. In 1978, she helped to found the Maine Women’s Lobby, a statewide organization dedicated to advancing the interests of women and girls.

Ryan served as executive director of the Maine Human Rights Commission for 32 years, retiring in 2009. In that role she actively shaped policies and enhanced laws protecting not just women but all Mainers from discrimination on the basis of their age, race, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, ancestry or national origin.

Under her leadership, Maine law was amended to include pregnancy as a form of sex discrimination; families with children were protected from housing discrimination; sexual harassment was defined and strongly enforced; girls were protected from discrimination in education; and sexual orientation discrimination was finally made illegal.

Photos of Ryan accepting the award are available upon request.

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