Mel Underbakke is a co-founder and the Executive Director of the Coalition for Civil Freedoms. She holds a doctorate degree in Interdisciplinary Education, and is an educator and researcher, formerly at the University of South Florida. She also founded Friends of Human Rights shortly after the arrest of Dr. Sami Al-Arian on terrorism charges in 2003, and organized dozens of educational events in college campuses, churches, mosques, libraries and community centers around the country. She went on to learn of the many other cases of innocent Muslims who were being targeted by the U.S. government in its ongoing “war on terror," and has focused on calling attention to the current wave of preemptive prosecutions of these innocent people, as well as the erosion of civil freedom that has affected all Americans since 9/11.