With everything Andrea Young has going on as executive director of the ACLU of Georgia, like fighting against a controversial anti-abortion bill, she treasures the times she can just pick up the phone and call her father.
Her father, Ambassador Andrew Young, will be one of the keynote speakers this weekend to mark the American Civil Liberties Union’s upcoming 100th birthday.
“I don’t play that card often,” Andrea Young said. “But my first interaction with the ACLU was watching them represent my dad in a redistricting case in the 1970s. So, this is coming full circle.”
The ACLU will turn 100 in 2020. Andrew Young, 87, was an early civil rights leader and confidant of Martin Luther King Jr. He was later a U.S. congressman, U.N. ambassador and Atlanta mayor.
To recognize the century mark, the organization is hosting an interactive exhibition Saturday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Historic Old Fourth Ward Park – close to where King was born. The exhibition is traveling across the country.
Andrea Young said the event will bring together artists, elected officials and community organizations to spark deeper conversations about “the challenging, high stakes civil liberties battles of the nation’s past, present, and future.”
Visitors can participate in immersive experiences on mass incarceration, immigration and voting rights, Young said.
“This will be a moment to reflect, re-energize, and dare to create, together, the future that works for all,” she added.
Young noted that in Georgia, her hands have been full. Particularly when it comes to the so-called “heartbeat bill,” which would outlaw abortions once a doctor detects a heartbeat in the womb — usually about six weeks into a pregnancy and before most women know they are pregnant.
House Bill 481 passed the Georgia House and Senate during the last session and is awaiting Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature.
Young said the bill “represents a callous disregard for their health and wellness and contempt for the constitutional rights of Georgia’s women,” and violates the right to an abortion established by the 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision.
“We are preparing to challenge this if the governor signs it,” Young said Wednesday.
Aside from Andrew Young, who will speak on the legacy of the ACLU in the South, speakers will include:
• Desmond Meade, president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.
• Georgia State Sen. Jen Jordan and Georgia House Rep. Erica Thomas, who will talk about their opposition to the Georgia abortion bill.
• Georgia State Sen. Elena Parent and Georgia House Rep. Matt Wilson, who will talk about voter rights and gerrymandering.
ACLU 100 Year Anniversary Pop-Up Experience
Saturday, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Historic Old Fourth Ward Park
640 North Ave., Atlanta
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