Commentary

04.15.15

A Legacy of Volunteers Defending Freedom

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Group of hands raised, in act of volunteerism

Fighting for civil liberties is no simple task. In fact, it takes an army. It’s through the tireless efforts and contributions of volunteers throughout the past century that the ACLU has become the strong force it is today.

The ACLU of Ohio benefits from hundreds of volunteers from various walks of life. Their involvement ranges from providing expertise and training, to assisting with office projects, and many tasks in between.

Providing Support

Diana Prufer

Diana Prufer has supported and advocated for the protection of civil liberties by volunteering with the ACLU. She has served in virtually every volunteer capacity short of trying cases. Diana is a shining example of how any committed activist can help achieve social justice, whether they have a law degree or not. Her contributions include administrative support, writing and editing educational materials, and acting as an advocate for civil liberties issues throughout her community.

“It has meant so much to me to be able to volunteer for an organization that works to protect the rights of all Americans, including those whose voices aren’t always heard because they lack financial or political power, or who are in some way outside of the mainstream,” said Prufer. “During the decade or so that I’ve volunteered at the office, I’ve also come to appreciate the kindness, energy, intelligence, and commitment of the ACLU’s staff; they are an incredibly impressive group of people.”

Speaking About Education

Frank Kunstel

Frank Kunstel started his career as a public school teacher, and has carried those skills into his many roles as an educator with the ACLU of Ohio. From conducting volunteer and speaker’s bureau trainings, to speaking about national security and general civil liberties to groups throughout Northeast Ohio, to providing direction and guidance in the strategic planning process, Kunstel has spent over a decade lending his expertise to the ACLU. He provides many of the necessary tools to continue the fight for civil liberties in Ohio.

“Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.” -Helen Keller, volunteer and co-founder, American Civil Liberties Union

“There are several things important for a democracy to work–citizen participation, rule of law, sanctity of voting rights, individual freedom,” explained Kunstel. “The Bill of Rights undergirds all these and the ACLU is the premier organization devoted to the comprehensive protection of those rights.”

Representing the ACLU

Raphael Davis-Williams

Raphael Davis-Williams employs his skills as a litigator on many ACLU cases. As Associate General Counsel, he consistently represents the ACLU as a speaker and panelist at various community meetings and events throughout Ohio. He can often be counted on to travel across the state to collaborate with groups in the name of civil liberties. Davis-Williams’ legal expertise and commitment to educating Ohioans about their rights is invaluable.

“I firmly believe our civil liberties are the backbone of our democracy and without them our system would collapse into chaos,” said Davis-Williams. “The ACLU has amassed nearly a century of demonstrated commitment to protecting and expanding these civil liberties and for that reason I am committed to the ACLU and its mission, and I always carve out time to volunteer for the ACLU.”

Celebrate National Volunteer Week by sharing your time and talents to support civil liberties!

Our volunteers’ contributions do not go unnoticed. They know what it takes to defend freedom. They epitomize what it means to be an activist. Without them our important work would not be accomplished, and for that we are beyond thankful.

 

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