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ACLU conference, dinner open to all

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The Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis will host the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana Student Conference that will focus on issues faced by students at the high school, college, and law school levels.

The conference, which is open to the public, will be from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 16 at Inlow Hall, 530 W. New York St.

The conference will be followed by the ACLU-Indiana Annual Dinner at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Student Center, 4th Floor, beginning at 6 p.m.

The conference’s theme is “The Life of Jane Addams.” It will honor various aspects of Addams’ life, including her time as a social worker, suffragist, anti-war protestor, founding member of the ACLU and NAACP, and first woman Nobel Peace Prize winner, which she won in 1931.

Following breakfast and registration from 8 to 9 a.m., ACLU-IN legal director Kenneth Falk will discuss “The Current Status of Civil Liberties,” followed by breakout sessions.

Susan Curtis of Purdue University’s Department of History will present a “Historical View of Jane Addams” that will explore her 18th century life during the luncheon from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m.

Workshops in the morning will include Butler University professor Terri Jett and ACLU-IN board member Daryl Campbell presenting a film and discussion, “Know Your Rights When Stopped By Police”; immigration rights and issues will be discussed by Juan Solana of the Consulate of Mexico in Indianapolis and Sister Marikay Duffy of St. Mary’s Parish in Indianapolis; and social networking and privacy issues will be addressed by Baker & Daniels partner Kevin R. Erdman.

Afternoon workshops include a discussion about religion in schools, which will include Eric Workman, a plaintiff in a case involving Greenwood High School’s decision to have prayer at its graduation ceremony; “How Straight People Can Advance LGBT Rights,” presented by Indiana native, Ball State University graduate, and current Miss New York Claire Buffie, with M. Cripe, former PFLAG board member; and reproductive rights and the national health policy, addressed by Betty Cockrum, chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, with ACLU-IN board member Mikki Randolph.

Following the workshops, participants will be able to discuss how to have a successful student chapter, featuring professor Tom Kotulak of Indiana University-Southeast, officers of the ACLU of Indiana IU-Southeast Chapter, and ACLU of Indiana Executive Director Gilbert Holmes.

A public reception will begin at 6 p.m., and dinner will be served at 7 p.m. The dinner will honor Indianapolis attorney Irving L. Fink for his lifelong commitment to protecting civil rights for all Indiana residents, including prisoners, conscientious objectors to the Vietnam War, and the Ku Klux Klan leadership. He also had a hand in helping found the ACLU of Indiana and the organization now known as Indiana Legal Services.

Buffie will be the keynote speaker and will discuss advocacy work for equal rights. Her platform is, “Straight for Equality: Let’s Talk.”

Registration for just the conference is $25 and includes parking at Lot 85 on the corner of California and New York streets, a continental breakfast, and a light lunch. Registration for the conference and annual dinner is $75 for students and $100 without a student ID.

More information, including how to register, can be found at www.aclu-in.org. Registration and payment must be received by Oct. 6.

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  2. Access to the court (judiciary branch of government) is the REAL problem, NOT necessarily lack of access to an attorney. Unfortunately, I've lived in a legal and financial hell for the past six years due to a divorce (where I was, supposedly, represented by an attorney) in which I was defrauded of settlement and the other party (and helpers) enriched through the fraud. When I attempted to introduce evidence and testify (pro se) in a foreclosure/eviction, I was silenced (apparently on procedural grounds, as research I've done since indicates). I was thrown out of a residence which was to be sold, by a judge who refused to allow me to speak in (the supposedly "informal") small claims court where the eviction proceeding (by ex-brother-in-law) was held. Six years and I can't even get back on solid or stable ground ... having bank account seized twice, unlawfully ... and now, for the past year, being dragged into court - again, contrary to law and appellate decisions - by former attorney, who is trying to force payment from exempt funds. Friday will mark fifth appearance. Hopefully, I'll be allowed to speak. The situation I find myself in shouldn't even be possible, much less dragging out with no end in sight, for years. I've done nothing wrong, but am watching a lot of wrong being accomplished under court jurisdiction; only because I was married to someone who wanted and was granted a divorce (but was not willing to assume the responsibilities that come with granting the divorce). In fact, the recalcitrant party was enriched by well over $100k, although it was necessarily split with other actors. Pro bono help? It's a nice dream ... but that's all it is, for too many. Meanwhile, injustice marches on.

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