About 160 members and friends joined the Northern Virginia Chapter’s Crabfest and Annual Meeting, held at Fort Hunt Park in Alexandria on Sunday, June 24, 2018.

This annual festivity has been held by the Northern Virginia Chapter since 1995, according to Chapter Chair Steve Conn.

The event featured ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Gastanaga as its guest speaker. She provided several “story-behind-the-story” assessments of the various civil liberties issues, lawsuits, victories and setbacks this year in Virginia.

Activities also included the re-election to the NoVa chapter board of two currently serving Board members: Robin McKiel and Greg Shannon.

A member asked our Executive Director Claire Gastanaga, who was on the stage, a question

In addition, the event spotlighted local NoVa chapter happenings during the past year. This included a recent “tabling event” at the Del Ray Farmers’ Market in Alexandria. Event co-coordinator and chapter board member Libby Witt noted that this site featured more than 20 farmers and vendors. Event co-coordinator and fellow chapter board member Bev Tatum added that the event gave NoVa chapter participants the opportunity to discuss with neighbors and visitors to the farmers’ market the important work that the ACLU does to promote and protect civil liberties and civil rights.

Board President Steve Levinson talked to two young women about the work that the ACLU-VA does

An additional event highlighted at the Annual Meeting was the ACLU’s three-day National Membership Conference, held in early June in Washington, D.C. Steve Levinson, a chapter board member, President of the ACLU of Virginia Board of Directors, and an attendee at the ACLU conference, pointed out that its attendees gathered to mobilize, learn from and inspire each other to face the civil liberties challenges ahead.

The ACLU-VA Northern Virginia Chapter and some ACLU-VA staff members

Participants at the chapter’s Annual Meeting were also provided details about the free Mobile Justice Virginia smartphone app. As described in the event’s program handout designed by Robin McKiel, this app gives users the opportunity “to record, witness, and report police or ICE encounters. The app allows users to submit video directly to the ACLU for a review.”

(NOTE: Additional information about this app can be found here).

Photos courtesy of Phuong Tran, Communications Associate, ACLU of Virginia