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For the First Time, the ACLU Has a Black President

Deborah Archer will make fight against racial injustice a top priority
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 1, 2021 4:32 PM CST
ACLU Elects First Black President
This April 14, 2015 photo provided by Philip Greenberg shows Deborah Archer in New York.   (Philip Greenberg via AP)

Deborah Archer, a professor at New York University School of Law with expertise in civil rights and racial justice, has become the first Black person in the 101-year history of the American Civil Liberties Union to be elected its president. The ACLU announced Monday that Archer was elected over the weekend in a virtual meeting of the organization’s 69-member board of directors, the AP reports. She succeeds Susan Herman, a professor at Brooklyn Law School who had served as president since 2008. As the ACLU’s eighth president since 1920, Archer will act as chair of its board of directors, overseeing organizational matters and the setting of civil liberties policies. The fight against racial injustice is expected to be a top priority.

During former President Trump’s four years in office, the ACLU filed an unprecedented 413 lawsuits and other legal actions against his administration, challenging policies related to immigrant rights, voting rights, LGBT rights, racial justice and other issues. "The ACLU has proven itself as an invaluable voice in the fight for civil rights in the last four years ... and we are better positioned than ever to face the work ahead," Archer said. The ACLU’s day-to-day operations are managed by its executive director—a post currently held by Anthony Romero. "There is no one better equipped, who best personifies or is more capable to helm the future battles for civil rights, civil liberties, and systemic equality than Deborah Archer," Romero says.

(More ACLU stories.)

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