Who are you thankful for this year?
We've put together a few of the 2013 acts of leadership, courage and vision that we think are especially deserving of our gratitude. We hope you'll take a moment to share one or more of them to let your friends and family know who you're thankful for this year.
Edie Windsor took on the government — and won. When her spouse
and partner of 40 years, Thea Spyer, died in 2009, the government
considered them complete strangers. Windsor and the ACLU fought back —
taking her case all the way to the Supreme Court. In June, the Court
issued a landmark decision striking down a key provision of the
discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Her determination led to a
history-making breakthrough that will affect the lives of millions
Javier Contreras, a 17-year-old student from Ann Arbor,
Michigan, was brought to the US from Mexico by his father when he was
four years old. Federal legislation grants young immigrants like
Contreras — referred to as DREAMers — the ability to work in this
country legally. But, they still face huge hurdles in accessing basic
necessities, like a driver's license. Javier took a tremendous risk by
becoming the lead plaintiff in an ACLU challenge to this law.
Thankfully, we helped Javier as well as many other DREAMers in Michigan
and across the country face one less obstacle in their daily lives.
Edward Snowden risked everything and lost much to let the
American people know the truth about the government's massive, secret
spying program. By bringing to light information that the powers-that-be
would rather keep secret, whistleblowers like Edward Snowden play a
fundamental role in our democracy. His actions have helped advance
challenges to massive abuses of government power carried out in the name
of national security.
Viviette Applewhite is 93 years old and cast her first-ever
vote for John F. Kennedy in 1960. She has voted in nearly every election
since. But, under a new, restrictive Pennsylvania law, Viviette could
be barred from the polls. She is standing up for herself and everyone
else in her state who could be denied the right to vote as the lead
plaintiff in the ACLU's lawsuit challenging her state's harsh Voter ID
Jagjeet Singh is a Sikh truck driver who, after being pulled
over for a flat tire, was called a "terrorist" by police officers and
arrested for refusing to remove his kirpan, which Singh was lawfully
wearing in accordance with his religious beliefs. When he showed up for
his court date, the judge referred to his turban as a "rag" — and
threatened to punish him unless he removed it. By speaking out and
forcing local government denunciation of his treatment, Jagjeet Singh
stood up for the right of everyone to practice his or her faith.
To stop a radical and dangerous bill that threatened women's
health and reproductive freedom in Texas, Wendy Davis launched an
awe-inspiring, one woman 11-hour standing filibuster — giving voice to
the concerns and realities of women across America [and creating a run
on pink tennis shoes everywhere].