Exhibit, talk to highlight civil liberties

Civil liberties will be in the spotlight this month at SUNY Oswego’s Penfield Library with a traveling exhibit, “Faces of Liberty,” showing through Sept. 27 and a guest speaker Sept. 15.

“Faces of Liberty,” sponsored by the New York Civil Liberties Union, highlights 22 significant New York state civil liberties cases. Through black-and-white photographs and accompanying text, it documents the actions of ordinary people who faced unpopularity and adversity when standing up for their beliefs.

“This exhibit shows that the Bill of Rights is not an abstraction but a blueprint for ordinary people to use to guarantee their individual rights,” said Donald Parker, who created the exhibit. He is a member of the NYCLU Nassau County chapter board.

Barrie Gewanter, director of the Central New York chapter of the NYCLU, will speak at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, on “Why Both the Left and Right Are Concerned About Civil Liberties Since 9/11.”

As a community activist, Gewanter has worked on issues of workplace health and safety, solidarity with workers and unions, women’s rights, economic justice, gay and lesbian rights, civil rights and civil liberties. She worked to ensure the passage of a Bill of Rights preservation resolution in the Syracuse Common Council in 2003.

Her work on the Syracuse living wage campaign, which resulted in a living wage law in Syracuse, and other social justice issues led the Human Rights Commission of Syracuse and Onondaga County to give her an award for her contributions to human rights in 2003. In 2004, Peace Action of Central New York gave her a Peacemaker Award, its first such award for “making peace by advocating for civil liberties.”

In her current work with the NYCLU, Gewanter coordinates the Central New York Bill of Rights Defense Campaign and its efforts to educate and mobilize the community to oppose provisions of the federal Patriot Act that erode Americans’ civil liberties.

The “Faces of Liberty” exhibit and Gewanter’s talk are open to the public free of charge. The exhibit at the library entrance and continuing into the library’s Lake Effect Cafe may be viewed during library hours: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.

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(Posted: Sep 06, 2005)