Aly Kassam-Remtulla won the Annetta Dieckmann Award.

Annetta Dieckmann Award

Aly Kassam-Remtula

Aly Kassam-Remtula

For his tireless work on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, the organization proudly bestows the 2008 Annetta Dieckmann Award on Aly Kassam-Remtulla. During his tenure on the ACLU of Illinois’ Board of Directors, Kassam-Remtulla made an indelible impression, inspiring others with creative energy and unwavering commitment to the principles of personal freedom and self-determination.   His efforts to expand the Young Advocates program draws in new members to the organization and will impact the struggle for constitutional liberties for many decades ahead.   Aly continues his service on the National Board of the ACLU. 

Kassam-Remtulla’s passion for advocacy and human rights traces back to his childhood in Canada.  As a member of a religious minority, he quickly learned the necessity of being a strong, forceful advocate for oneself.  He recalls that an “understanding of inequality or injustice really fueled my interest in continuing to work on these issues and move them far beyond my own personal experiences.”

Not content with demonstrating leadership himself, Kassam-Remtulla recognized that the ACLU of Illinois must develop and nurture the next group of leaders in the civil liberties community in order to sustain and grow the organization.  With zealous determination and tireless energy, Kassam-Remtulla founded the Young Advocates Program at the ACLU of Illinois.  Today, dozens of young professionals from across the Chicago region regularly attend Young Advocates events where they are given an opportunity to meet leaders of the ACLU of Illinois, hear about important and newsworthy issues, and socialize with others who share their passion for civil liberties.   Just a few years after its founding, the Young Advocates program is paying dividends, with new Board members and leaders emerging from the organization. 

Creating Young Advocates reflects Kassam-Remtulla’s belief in using the power of the non-profit sector to affect change in civic life, especially in the current political climate.  He sees such efforts as a means of promoting the rights of the minority from what our Founders described as the “tyranny of the majority.”   For Kassam-Remtulla, the challenge today is to offer protections to everyone because “it’s those people on the margins who really need our protection and our assistance.”

The ACLU of Illinois is proud to honor Aly Kassam-Remtulla’s dedication to volunteerism and advocacy with the Annetta Dieckmann Award.