Author Photo credit: Andy Freeberg
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To mark its 100-year anniversary, the American Civil Liberties Union partners with award-winning authors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman to bring together many of our greatest living writers, each contributing an original piece inspired by a historic ACLU case.
On January 19, 1920, a small group of idealists and visionaries, including Helen Keller, Jane Addams, Roger Baldwin, and Crystal Eastman, founded the American Civil Liberties Union. A century after its creation, the ACLU remains the nation's premier defender of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. In collaboration with the ACLU, authors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman have curated an anthology of essays about landmark cases in the organization's one-hundred-year history. Fight of the Century takes you inside the trials and the stories that have shaped modern life. Some of the most prominent cases that the ACLU has been involved in-- Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, Miranda v. Arizona--need little introduction. Others you may never even have heard of, yet their outcomes quietly defined the world we live in now. Familiar or little-known, each case springs to vivid life in the hands of the acclaimed writers who dive into the history, narrate their personal experiences, and debate the questions at the heart of each issue.
The powerful stories within, along with essays from Neil Gaiman, Meg Wolitzer, Salman Rushdie, Ann Patchett, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Louise Erdrich, George Saunders, and many more, remind us that the issues the ACLU has engaged over the past one hundred years remain as vital as ever today, and that we can never take our liberties for granted. (Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster)
Ahilan T. Arulanantham is Senior Counsel at the ACLU of Southern California. He has successfully litigated a number of significant cases, including Franco-Gonzalez v. Holder, the first case to establish a federal right to appointed counsel for any group of immigrants, Jennings v. Rodriguez, which he argued twice before the United States Supreme Court, and, most recently, Ramos v. Nielsen, a challenge to the Trump Administration's plan to end the TPS program for immigrants who have lived here for decades. Ahilan has also testified before the United States Congress on three occasions on immigrants’ rights and national security issues.
Ahilan’s parents are Sri Lankan Tamil immigrants who left Sri Lanka to escape race discrimination and sporadic violence. Several years after they came here, the Sri Lankan civil war began, causing much of his extended family to flee Sri Lanka. Ahilan has remained interested in promoting human rights in Sri Lanka, and has also represented several Sri Lankan Tamil refugees during the course of his work with the ACLU.
In 2016 Ahilan received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.