Change Agents 8/4/22: ACLU of Maine

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

Change Agents, human right and social justice advocates on WERU FM

This month: Recent decisions by the US Supreme Court indicate a significant move to the right on civil rights issues.
-How to protect civil rights in Maine
-Bringing civil rights cases in State court may lead to different rules between the Supreme Court and state courts
-What is difficult about litigating civil rights cases for clients and for lawyers

Zach Heiden and Carol Garvan, are respectively the Chief Counsel and Legal Director at the ACLU of Maine. Zack and Carol discussed their current work to protect the civil rights of all people in Maine. They discussed strategies for strengthening those at the State level.

About the host:
Steve Wessler will soon will be starting his 28th year of working on human right issues. He founded the Civil Rights Unit in the Maine Attorney’s Office in 1992 and led the Unit for 7 years. In 1999 he left the formal practice of law and founded the Center for the Prevention of Hate. The Center worked in Maine and across the USA. He and his colleagues worked to reduce bias and harassment in schools, in communities, in health care organization through workshops and conflict resolution. The Center closed in 2011 and Steve began a consulting on human rights issues. For the next 5 years much of his work was in Europe, developing and implementing training curricular for police, working in communities to reduce the risk of hate crimes, conflict resolution between police and youth. He has worked in over 20 countries. In late 2016 he began to work more in Maine, with a focus on reducing anti-immigrant bias. He continues to work in schools to reduce bias and harassment. Wessler teaches courses on human rights issues at the College of the Atlantic, the University of Maine at Augusta and at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in northern Virginia.