Charlotte Student Wins First ACLU Youth College Scholarship

April 20, 2000 12:00 am

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RALEIGH, NC — The American Civil Liberties Union today announced the winners of a nationwide student activist college scholarship competition, awarding eight high school seniors $4,000 each for outstanding contributions in the struggle for civil liberties and the rights of young people.

The first annual ACLU College Scholarship for Youth Activism Award was created to recognize the efforts of graduating seniors who have demonstrated a strong commitment to civil liberties and civil rights through some form of student activism.

lped Samantha to stage the play.

“Once you’ve created something you feel proud of it,” said Gellar who questioned why her play — which has no sex or nudity other than a quick kiss — wasn’t suitable for the stage. “I thought my play should be staged and consider the censorship a form of discrimination.”

Student winners from California, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah, and Massachusetts were selected based on the personal statements they wrote describing their reasons for becoming civil rights/liberties activists. Some students established civil liberties clubs at their high schools, while others participated in ACLU lawsuits, or fought discrimination and censorship.

“The next generation of civil libertarians will face new challenges as part of their ongoing defense of the Bill of Rights,” said Ira Glasser, executive director of the national ACLU. “This scholarship gives the ACLU an opportunity to recognize the bravery of these students and the inspiration they provide.”

The ACLU of North Carolina, who this year gave Gellar the affiliate’s award for outstanding individual work in support of civil liberties, said that even in the face of adversity — coming out of the closet as a lesbian teen — Gellar’s commitment to fairness was unwavering

“Samantha’s play was not merely good. It was an exposé of our deepest emotions and desires and our capacity for love and hope,” said Deborah Ross, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “This play teaches the kind of values that we hope to instill in future generations who grow up in a diverse society. How could the law let this play be censored?”

The ACLU college scholarship fund was made possible by a grant from an anonymous donor.

To learn more about Gellar’s play, see the ACLU’s press release at:

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