News

National security vs civil liberties in the US

  • Date

    Mon 9 Oct 17

Statue of Liberty and the American flag

Does President Trump really pose an unprecedented threat to civil liberties in the US? And if so, what can ordinary Americans do to take back control of their rights?

Anthony D Romero, the US’s leading human rights defender, will address these issues and more in an exclusive public lecture at our Colchester Campus this month.

As Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Anthony has led the resistance against policies made in the name of national security that impact human rights since 9/11. 

In his lecture, entitled The land of the free? Rights and liberties in America, on 23 October 2017, Anthony will address the issues of racial justice and xenophobia, the use of religion to discriminate, and authoritarianism. He will outline some of the threats and challenges posed by the current administration as well as the ACLU response.

Professor Andrew Le Sueur, Executive Dean for the Humanities, said: “It’s a huge honour to be hosting Anthony Romero’s only public lecture during his trip to the UK. 

“Our thriving academic and student human rights community, centred around our world-leading Human Rights Centre, is incredibly excited, as we all are, to hear what Anthony has to say about the many challenges faced by his organisation in the US, through which we can all learn to be better, more effective, human rights defenders.”

In 2017 ACLU secured the first legal victory against President Trump’s so-called Muslim travel ban by winning a nationwide stay just 24 hours after it was issued.

Anthony has personally spearheaded a new ACLU initiative called People Power which has galvanised new levels of grassroots activism to fight what it deems an unconstitutional crackdown on sanctuary cities.

Prior to the Trump administration, Anthony created ACLU’s National Security Project, which achieved legal victories on the Patriot Act, uncovered the widespread torture and abuse of detainees in US custody, and filed the first successful legal challenge against the Bush administration’s illegal NSA spying programme. 

During his visit to Essex, Anthony will also meet staff and students from our Human Rights Centre, offering advice about careers, and how academic tools can be used in the fight to protect human rights.