The Ohio State University at Marion

​“Civil Liberties in the Age of Trump”

The Ohio State University at Marion invites the community to attend the 45th Annual Norman Thomas Memorial Lecture, Tuesday, April 11th, 12 p.m., in Maynard Hall's Guthery Community Room on the Marion campus. This year’s guest speaker is Senior Policy Director at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Mike Brickner. Brickner will present a lecture entitled, “Civil Liberties in the Age of Trump.”

Brickner will discuss the various immigration orders, the use of private prisons, the setbacks we have seen with the Departments of Justice and Education, etc., as well as the important current work of the ACLU.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded in 1920 to ensure the promise of the Bill of Rights and to expand its reach to people historically denied its protections. In The ACLU's first year, it fought the harassment and deportation of immigrants whose activism put them at odds with the authorities. In 1939, the ACLU won in the Supreme Court the right for unions to organize. The ACLU stood almost alone in 1942 in denouncing the U.S. government’s round-up and internment in concentration camps of more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans. In addition to times in U.S. history when frightened civilians have been willing to give up some of their freedoms and rights in the name of national security, the ACLU has been the bulwark for liberty.

The ACLU has grown from a roomful of civil libertarians to more than 1 million members, activists, and supporters across the country. The ACLU is now a nationwide organization with a 50-state network of staffed affiliate offices filing cases in both state and federal courts. The ACLU appears before the Supreme Court more than any other organization except the Department of Justice.

Brickner has dedicated his career as senior policy director to mass incarceration issues, particularly the intersection between criminal justice and poverty and the treatment of people in prisons and jail. During his tenure at the ACLU, he has worked on a variety of critical civil liberties movements. These include coordinating campaigns to expand and protect the right to vote, combating privatization of prisons, and promoting reforms to Ohio’s criminal justice system. In 2013, Brickner co-authored two reports focusing on the intersection of poverty and the criminal justice system. One report culminated in the Ohio Supreme Court increasing education and training for court personnel and issuing bench cards with clear rules for collecting fines and court costs.

Held annually at Ohio State Marion since 1972, The Norman Thomas Memorial Lecture was named in recognition of Norman Thomas, an American Presbyterian minister from Marion, Ohio, who achieved fame as a socialist, pacifist, and six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America. The lecture choses speakers from a wide variety of fields including, historians, labor leaders, educators, editors, and authors. All lecturers invited to speak have demonstrated concerns similar to those for which Norman Thomas lived—peace, social justice, rational discourse, and the expansion of democracy.

The Norman Thomas Memorial Lecture is free and open to the public. This annual lecture is organized by the History Department at Ohio State Marion, and sponsored by the Harding/Thomas Endowment Fund, and Fahey Bank.