ACLU of Texas
This was played at the ACLU of Texas Annual Meeting on Aug. 1, 2009, shortly before Ruth Epstein was presented with a lifetime achievement award.
A little more about Ruth:
Ruth is a civil liberties activist based in Austin. Her relationship with the ACLU dates back to 1950, when she first became a card-carrying member.
Mrs. Epsteins first act of activism took place, when she was still in high school. She organized for Penny Milk. At the time, the Department of Agriculture had a policy of dumping surplus milk. When considering the number of people who could not afford milk and the gallons going to waste, Ruth was appalled by the policy, so she marched to have the policy changed.
In 1958, Ruth and her husband moved to Austin. She was an active member of the Travis County Democratic Womens Committee for 20 years, where she served as a watchdog over the city council. When her daughter joined the city council,Ruth resigned from the women's committee and joined the Texas ACLU.
Most Austinites know Ruth as the producer and host of Taking Liberties, a public access television program treating local and national civil liberties related issues. One the show, subjects such as net neutrality, racial profiling and prisoner abuse at Guantanamo are discussed. According to Ruth, Taking Liberties services the community by educating people on the entire constitution. As Mrs. Epstein laments, People just dont know what rights they have. Her show is an attempt to change that sad fact. Ruth can often be seen handing out pocket sized constitutions for the very same reason.
Ruth's activism reaches far beyond the scope of television. Currently, she tracks sex offender legislation for the ACLU of Texas. Her expertise in this field recently earned her the right to testify before members of the Texas Legislature on behalf of the ACLU of Texas. She is also a member of the lege team for the ACLU of Texas and the Vice President of the Central Texas Chapter of the ACLU. As Vice President, she handles public affairs for the group and works with coalition members, such as the NAACP or LULAC, to advance civil liberties at the state capitol.
Ruth's selfless and lifelong dedication to the rights of others has been an inspiration to all who have had the pleasure of knowing her.
"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)