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ACLU elects first Black board president with NYU Law School professor

By Jean Lotus
ACLU elects first Black board president with NYU Law School professor
The American Civil Liberties Union national board announced  NYU law professor Deborah Archer has been elected to head the organization. Photo courtesy ACLU

Feb. 1 (UPI) -- The American Civil Liberties Union's national board announced Monday that New York University School of Law professor Deborah Archer would be the group's new president, the first Black person to lead the organization's board of directors.

Archer, a civil rights lawyer, scholar and teacher "brings with her a wealth of experience on racial justice and constitutional matters," the ACLU said in a statement.

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Archer began her law career as an ACLU Fellow, she said Monday.

"It is an honor to come full circle and now lead the organization as board president," Archer said in a statement.

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"The ACLU has proven itself as an invaluable voice in the fight for civil rights in the last four years of the Trump era, and we are better positioned than ever to face the work ahead. This organization has been part of every important battle for civil liberties during our first century, and we are committed to continuing that legacy as we enter our second. I could not be more excited to get to work."

Archer is a tenured professor of clinical law and director of the Civil Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law and co-director of the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law. She has served as a member of the ACLU board since 2009, and a general counsel and member of the executive committee of the board since 2017. She also serves on the board of directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

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Archer takes the place of Susan Herman, who retired after 12 years including helming the organization as it filed more than 400 lawsuits against the Trump administration, including suits on immigration policy, use of federal agents during protests, voting rights restrictions and the U.S. Census. Over the past decade, the ACLU has focused a new emphasis on civil liberties and privacy concerns in the digital age.

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The civil rights organization, founded in 1920, celebrated its centennial last year. The 69-member national board voted in a virtual meeting Saturday.

"As the country enters the post-Trump era, it is essential that those in leadership intimately understand the history that brought us to this inflection point, and the work ahead," said Anthony Romero, ACLU's executive director. "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."

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