Former ACLU Florida Executive Director Speaking at PCI Meeting

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

Howard Simon

Howard Simon, who retired after 21 years as the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida in 2018, will speak at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 18 via Zoom on “Resisting the Slide toward Authoritarianism,” focusing on the need to understand the long-term threat to democratic values of freedom of speech, voting rights, and women’s rights with emphasis on the revolution in constitutional interpretation being imposed by the Judiciary. He will also suggest strategies to resist growing authoritarianism.

During his 44 years with the ACLU, Howard worked on a number of high-profile issues including school vouchers, the Terry Schiavo case, abortion rights, barring doctors from talking to patients about safe storage of guns in the home, school and library censorship, and the right of gay men and lesbians to adopt children and marry.

His work for voting rights began in 1965 as a college student working as an assistant to the Rev. Andrew Young during the Selma to Montgomery march for passage of the Voting Rights Act. Other voting rights work has included: drafting the 2018 constitutional amendment to restore voting rights for former felons; working successfully to replace electronic voting in Florida with a voting system that uses paper-based ballots and optical scan readers; challenging Legislature’s restrictions on voter registration and early and Sunday voting, and helping secure passage of the Fair Districts Amendments to curb partisan gerrymandering.

After his retirement from the ACLU, Simon founded the Clean Okeechobee Waters Foundation to work with medical researchers who linked toxins in blu-green algae to neuro-degenerative diseases. His work involved public education about the threat to public health, and for policy changes to mitigate the pollution of Florida’s fresh waters that create harmful algal blooms.

Simon is a board member of Calusa Waterkeeper and the Florida Policy Institute. He is a contributing columnist for “The Palm Beach Post.,” “The Fort Myers News-Press” and other Florida newspapers.

The Progressive Club meeting is interactive with time for questions. To attend the Zoom meeting email to receive the link, or watch online at Annual dues for the Progressive Club are $35 for an individual or $70 for a couple. To renew a membership or join, mail a check payable to PCI to: PCI, P.O. Box 898, Sanibel, FL 33957. For more information visit or contact 239-994-3175 or

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