Vermont ACLU Director to Speak on Civil Liberties
James Duff Lyall, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont, will speak at an open meeting sponsored by the Bennington Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAAW). The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 21, at the Bennington Free Library. Refreshments will be offered.
A New England native, Lyall is graduate of Middlebury College and has a law degree from Georgetown University. He joined the ACLU of Vermont in 2016, becoming the 12th director in the organization’s history. Deeply involved with immigration issues, Lyall was a staff attorney for the ACLU of Arizona from 2011 to 2016, where he opened the first ACLU satellite office in Tucson to investigate and litigate civil rights issues related to the US/Mexico border. Prior to joining the ACLU, he was a law fellow at the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project in Los Angeles, where he provided legal representation to detained and unaccompanied immigrant children in deportation proceedings.
National news stories report on threats to civil liberties on multiple fronts, from the rights of voters to the rights of immigrants. Lyall will address the state of civil liberties in Vermont, where the ACLU works in the legislature and the courts to preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights – for all Vermonters, but also for the most vulnerable communities and those who have historically been denied the rights and protections afforded to everyone else. He will discuss the ambitious agenda the ACLU of Vermont has mapped out for the year ahead, which focus on criminal justice reform, stronger privacy protections and a Vermont that works for everyone. Throughout the legislative session, the organization is advocating for Vermont to raise the minimum wage, pass paid family leave, establish universal primary care and priortize investment in mental health care.