09/10/2014 10:47 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

From The ACLU To The Peace Corps, She Fights For Other's Rights

Courtesy of ThrowBackSummer

My junior year of college I was brutally arrested in Miami while attending a peaceful protest as part of a class field-trip. After being held for over 20 hours with no food and very little water, I was allowed my first and only phone call. They’d blocked all calls to cell phones and the protesters local “Legal Number” and my parents were living in Mexico for that year. Even though it was nearly 11PM I decided to call and wake up Nanny. Since we’d been attending rally’s together for years I knew she supported my protest activities. She was the recently retired director of the Vermont ACLU and knew exactly how to take this kind of call. She didn’t waste time on grand-parent niceties, she started with questions about my condition and what I needed, then quickly began to ask specific legal questions about my treatment. She was outraged at the system and told me she was going to call her friend, the director of the Florida ACLU. Within seconds of her mentioning those four letters our phone call was disconnected. Though the call lasted only 3-4 minutes she was the solid rock I needed to get me through my first ever stint in jail, an experience I will never forget.

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