2012 Biennial Conference

July 27-28, 2012
Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capitol Square
75 East State St.
Columbus 43215

On July 28, 2012, civil libertarians from all around Ohio came together in Columbus to meet, learn from and inspire one another.

Cocktails, Conversation, and the Constitution

Friday, July 27th
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capitol Square
75 East State St., Columbus 43215

The experience began Friday evening with an exciting cocktail reception, featuring LGBT hero and YouTube sensation Zach Wahls, and 2012 Freedom’s Flame Award recipients Becky Collins and her son Zach.

At the cocktail party, attendees had the opportunity to mingle with civil libertarians from across the state and several of our conference speakers, including:

  • Mary Beth Tinker, trailblazing activist and plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines
  • Nsombi Lambright, director of communications and development at One Voice Mississippi, who helped defeat the Mississippi state personhood amendment
  • Dan Mach, a prominent defender of religious liberty and the director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief

Keynote Speakers

Presenting the outstanding keynote speakers for Your Voice! You Power!:

Zach Wahls
Zach became an overnight hero to the LGBT community after he took the Iowa General Assembly to task on the issue of gay marriage. Click here to see him in action! Zach was featured during our Friday evening reception, Cocktails, Conversation, and the Constitution, and during our Saturday conference workshop, When Love’s Against the Law.
Nsombi Lambright
Nsombi is the director of communications and development at One Voice Mississippi. In the heart of the Bible belt, Nsombi fought tirelessly against the Mississippi Personhood Amendment. Her work paid off. The amendment was ultimately rejected by voters in what many consider to be the most conservative state in the nation.
Lisa Graves
The executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, Lisa shared her insight on groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), who use their relationships with legislators to get them in the door, then attempt to remake the legislative agenda in their own partisan image.

Freedom’s Flame Award

This year, the ACLU of Ohio proudly honored Becky Collins and her brave son Zach with the 2012 Freedom’s Flame Award during Cocktails, Conversation, and the Constitution on Friday evening.

Zach is openly gay, and has faced bullying from his classmates since grade school. Becky repeatedly contacted school administrators, asking them to protect her son. But the bullying continued.

Finally, years of bullying culminated in a vicious classroom beating at the hands of another student. A video of the incident surfaced on the internet, and spread like wildfire. It sparked national outrage and drew attention to the challenges lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students like Zach face every day.

With assistance from the ACLU of Ohio, Zach and his mother have taken a stand against bullying, working with school administrators to maintain and enforce anti-bullying policies that will keep what happened to Zach from happening to other students.

Your Voice! Your Power! was made possible thanks in part to the following community sponsors:

CAIR Ohio Ohioans to Stop Executions Equality Ohio
Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network - Dayton
Columbus NAACP National Association of Social Workers, Ohio Chapter

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

League of Women Voters of OhioCWRU - Scubert Center for Child Studies