About Us

The Lower Hudson Valley Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union serves Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties.

It is a part of the NYCLU, which is the New York State affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The chapter was organized in 1962, as the Westchester Civil Liberties Union, and has actively supported the constitutional rights of the people in our area for more than four decades.

Our Mission

We work to protect and defend the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution and the New York State Constitution, including freedom of speech and religion, and the right to privacy, equality and due process of law for all Lower Hudson Valley residents. We accomplish this through public education, advocacy and litigation.

What We Do

  • Public Education: The chapter provides programs for local schools and operates a speakers bureau that helps arrange discussion forums on civil liberties-related issues for community organizations.
  • Monitor Government: The chapter monitors the actions of local governments at all levels, seeking to prevent violations of rights before they occur by testifying on proposed legislation, participating in public hearings, commenting on the civil liberties aspects of proposals and encouraging public awareness of infringements on our liberties.
  • Field Complaints: The chapter receives and screens complaints of possible civil liberties violations, providing advice and volunteer legal assistance when appropriate. Almost all of our cases involve constitutional issues and because the U.S. Constitution and New York State Constitution protect only against unlawful government action, we rarely take on disputes involving private companies.

How You Can Become Involved

  • Become a Member: When you become a member of the chapter you receive simultaneous membership in the NYCLU and ACLU. Chapter members receive the Lower Hudson Valley, New York State and ACLU newsletters as well as periodic announcements of chapter events and programs.
  • Volunteer: The chapter is an organization of committed volunteers representing a wide range of professional experience. Some of us are lawyers; some are teachers, social workers, business people, students or retirees. We welcome you to join us.
  • Offer Pro-Bono Services: We welcome the support and expertise of attorneys and other professionals. Attorneys who work with our legal committee gain opportunities to contribute and participate in civil liberties litigation.
  • Join our Board: The Chapter Board of Directors guides the chapter’s policy and activities and works with the director to extend our reach. We are always looking for board members to provide new energy and skills. We invite you to add your ideas and energy to help us increase the presence of the ACLU.


Lower Hudson Valley Chapter Board

Maria Valentin

Vice Chairs:
Arlene R. Popkin
Luis Quiros

Lawrence Grunberger

Anthony Wynne

Board Members:
Marianne Artusio
Charles Auerbach
Lonnie G. Barnes, Jr.
Jack Economou
Susan Elan
Tracy Givens-Hunter
Michael Hall
Dennis Hanratty
Barbara Hickernell
Connie Hogarth
Tim James
Trudy Katz
Ceil Lavan
Ralph Marash
Joann Prinzivalli
Winston Ross
Saad Siddiqui
Ralph Stein
Oliver Swift
Maria Valentin
Margaret Yonco-Haines

Members Emerita:
Mayo Bartlett
Julie Davis Carran
Polly Rothstein
Doris Schear

Daniel E. Berger