ACLU Awards Scholarship to Rural Alaskans

Aug 21, 2014

The Alaska branch of a major civil rights organization has awarded scholarships to two rural Alaskans.  KDLG’s Chase Cavanaugh has more.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska has selected two rural Alaskans to receive its Joan Hamilton Scholarship.  Executive Director Joshua Decker says the award is named after a Cupik native and long-time ACLU board member with a long history of advocacy.

“She was really vibrant and passionate about ending discrimination against Alaska natives and making sure that all Alaskans got a fair shake.  When Joan passed away back in 2008, the board of the ACLU of Alaska decided to create this scholarship in her memory, where every year, we would support students who are interested in pursuing a career related to the law or advocacy for Alaska Native rights or some sort of work that would defend and vindicate the constitutional rights and civil liberties of the people who live in rural Alaska.” 

This year’s winners are Amber Agwiak of Mountain Village, currently in college, and Sharon Hildebrand of Nulato, who is pursuing graduate studies.   Decker says this is actually the second time that Hildebrand has received the award.

“She really lit the university on fire in terms of her passion and her academic success, and she’s now in law school.  We were incredibly impressed with the applications both of Amber and Sharon, and we’re really proud and privileged to help support their studies.  Amber at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Sharon at law school.”

More information on the scholarship, the winners, and Joan Hamilton can be found at the state ACLU's website.