BC Civil Liberties Association Celebrates 50th
As the organization celebrates its golden anniversary, its members reflect on the important role it has had in the development of the rule of law and in defending individual freedoms.
Michael Audain says the zeitgeist of the ’60s was to blame: After being imprisoned in Jackson, Mississippi as a Freedom Rider, helping create the B.C. Civil Liberties Association seemed the natural thing to do.
For the others who sat around his living room in the days and weeks before they met on a December day in 1962 to found the organization, and those who followed, personal history differed but they burned with similar passions.
Those early years of the association were heady ones, Audain recalled—an infamous war was raging in Vietnam, the abuse of police power was rampant, there was no human rights act, no Charter of Rights and Freedoms and discrimination was de rigueur.
The West Vancouver home he bought in 1963 had a covenant on it that said he couldn’t sell to anyone who was “Oriental or of the African race.”
“I didn’t know how to tell my Japanese wife [Yoshiko Karasawa],” the silver-haired septuagenarian recalled with a chuckle. “Oh, those were the days.”
As the BCCLA celebrates its golden anniversary, Audain and those involved with its growth over the years are reflecting on the enormous role the association has played in the development of the rule of law and in defending the individual freedoms of all Canadians.
[Top Image: Henriquez Partners Architects is currently working on designing a new home for the BC Civil Liberties Association. The project is in the early design phase.]