NYCLU Board Elections

Each year, the NYCLU Board of Directors elects a Nominating Committee, including current and non-board members from across the state, to assemble a slate that will strengthen the Board of Directors by increasing diversity and representation of the state’s residents and assuring that the Board has the full range of skills and experience necessary to fulfill our responsibilities.

Candidates recommended by this year’s Committee were interviewed and carefully considered under a number of key criteria, including but not limited to: the need for regional balance in leadership; the board plan for equity, inclusion and diversity; professional backgrounds and expertise; understanding of the NYCLU’s mission; and personal initiative on NYCLU priority issues. The Committee believes that our recommended slate represents a wide range of perspectives and has the ability to provide deep expertise on a number of civil liberties issues to the Board.

Read about the candidates.

In accordance with the NYCLU bylaws, the NYCLU Nominating Committee nominated nine people this year to fill nine vacancies.

All votes must be received by 6:10pm on Wednesday, June 26, 2024.


WHO MAY VOTE 

All current NYCLU members are eligible to vote. To be a member, you must have a New York state address and you must have made a non-tax-deductible contribution to the NYCLU or ACLU—notwithstanding any tax-deductible donations to the NYCLU Foundation or to the ACLU Foundation—since February 1, 2023 and no later than June 7, 2024, or you must be a lifetime member. If you have any questions about your membership status, please call the NYCLU at 212.607.3364 or email kkole@nyclu.org. There is still time to become a member until June 7th: Go to nyclu.org/join.

VOTING INSTRUCTIONS

To vote online you will need to visit the link below and enter the personal key code that was sent to you via email on May 27th, 2023 and on the postcard that was sent to your address on file. These codes are the mechanism to ensure the security and privacy of the election.

Cast your vote.

Please remember to check your spam/junk folder if you do not see an email from the NYCLU dated May 27th, 2023. If you cannot locate your personal key code, please contact Juan Diego Jaramillo at jdjaramillo@nyclu.org or 212-607-3338. If you would like to request a paper ballot by mail please contact Juan Diego Jaramillo with your name and the address where you’d like the ballot to be sent. Please allow sufficient time to ensure that your ballot will be received by June 26, 2024.

If you have a joint membership, you will need to go to the ballot link twice, and enter the individualized key codes for each person in the joint membership. As stated above, you can find these key codes in an email regarding the NYCLU Board of Elections that was sent on May 27th, 2024 or on the NYCLU Board of Election postcard that was sent to your address on file.

ANNUAL MEETING

The annual meeting of the members of the NYCLU will be held virtually on June 26nd, 2024 at 6 p.m. for the purposes of electing directors and receiving the annual report. Please register in advance.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


 

CANDIDATE BIOS

 

Anil Vassanji

Anil Vassanji is the Treasurer of the NYCLU Board of Directors and Chair of the Finance Committee.

I am the son of Khoja Ismaili immigrants from Tanzania and Kenya, with Indian ancestry.  The protection of civil rights and freedoms, and pursuing racial, economic, and social justice for the underprivileged and oppressed, have always been priorities for me.  I am a civil litigator with a robust pro bono practice, consistently working alongside civil rights organizations to fight against injustice.  Some of my work includes challenges to bigoted immigration laws, detention and torture at Guantanamo, and the use of electronic monitoring for criminal defendants.  Throughout my career, I have pushed to build a culture of civil rights and accountability in places that lack it.

After a particularly difficult four years, we are on the brink of a unique moment for civil rights in the United States, and New York in particular.  Racial and economic justice remain under threat, and the power of the state could either be advanced, or curtailed.  There is much work to be done, and the NYCLU is perfectly placed at the vanguard of that effort.  I have career experiences and perspectives that I believe will be valuable to the NYCLU, and would be honored to serve on the board of this esteemed organization as it continues to lead the way forward.

Genevieve Wachtell

Genevieve Wachtell is the current representative from the NYCLU to the ACLU Board of Directors.

I have served on the NYCLU Board since October 2011, as Treasurer from 2014 to 2023, and as a member of the Executive Committee, the Finance and Investment Committee, and other committees over the years.  It has been an honor to participate in the NYCLU’s work in periods of extraordinary challenge and success, and to be part of the organization’s growth over the last decade.  In the last four years in particular, the NYCLU has adapted and responded swiftly to legal challenge after legal challenge, with respect to voting rights, immigrants’ rights, policing, racial justice, education and many others.  I have had the pleasure during this time to lead the Board in its financial oversight function, including with respect to budgeting and investments.

Mary Hedahl

Mary Hedahl is the Chair of the Development Committee on the NYCLU Board of Directors

I am very pleased to be considered for a third term of the New York Civil Liberties Union’s Board.  During my first term, I participated on the Development Committee, the Investment Committee and the Executive Committee.  I am so inspired by the work and dedication of all my fellow committee members and am eager to build on the progress we’ve made over the years.

With over twenty years of experience fundraising for civil liberties, social justice, human rights, the environment, and the arts, I am eager to use those skills to further work of the NYCLU. I was the Development Director at the NYCLU from 2006-2011 where I experienced first-hand the commitment and integrity of the NYCLU staff and the effectiveness and necessity of its mission.

I know of no other organization that works harder to fight for equality, social justice, and civil liberties. I would be honored to continue as a member of the NYCLU leadership.

James Silas

I am very pleased and humbled to be considered for a second term of the New York Civil Liberties Union’s Board.  The NYCLU has a critical role in our community and I have had the honor of being on a member of the Board these past few years. I am energized by the progress the NYCLU has made these past four years and I am determined to build on our recent success. Prior to joining the NYCLU board, I was a proud member of the Board of Trustees for the American Indian Community House, a community-based organization mandated to improve the status of Native Americans and to foster inter-cultural understanding.  AICH’s mission is to improve and promote the well-being of the American Indian community and to increase the visibility of American Indian cultures in an urban setting in order to cultivate awareness, understanding and respect.  I am of Blackfeet and Flathead family descent.  I have always been promoter and defender of civil liberties and civil rights like the mission of the New York Civil Liberties Union.  I hope to help continue to promote and defend all civil liberties and civil rights while part of NYCLU Board. I ask for your support.

Jasmine Vanterpool

As long as I can remember, I have served the people, whether it be from serving up coffee to conversation.  I am not experienced in anything but my own life as a woman of color living in America. I see and understand things differently because America has modeled me too. Spending a lot of my time working in customer services and working on the radio, I know how to communicate with people. Being able to break down how different polices or laws may affect their lives is my specialist. Being the voice of the unheard is a task I am always ready for.

There are a lot of issues that are hard for people to want to share their stories and if they trust me with their stories, I tell them. I myself, a sexual assault survivor, speak often on this dark subject just to bring light the issues. I often speak up for women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQIA+, handicap accessibility, racial injustice and others social injustice issues that are affecting New Yorkers.

Having a unique perspective on things because I am not a lawyer and growing up in Upstate, NY brings new ways of thinking or looking at the events unfolding within New York State. We are all in this together and having diversity on the board brings more to the table and can bring the organization into the future and becoming more of a steeple to the state.

As I prepare for a second term on the Board of Directors, I am ready for whatever happens in November. We are in challenging times ahead and I am all ears, ready to listen and hear you.

I am always ready to serve you New York.

Jennifer Carnig*

I am honored to raise my hand for the opportunity to serve on the NYCLU’s board. Serving as the organization’s communications director for nearly a decade is the foundation of my professional life and made me who I am today as a New Yorker, a mother, and an advocate.

My work leading the NYCLU’s communications campaigns that made stop-and-frisk a household term, reformed solitary confinement in New York State, and created a meaningful system of indigent defense taught me first hand that communications is advocacy. It is just as important as the legal and legislative work. It is that experience that continues to guide me in the years since I moved on to lead Spitfire Strategies, the leading communications firm focused exclusively on progressive social change.

As president of Spitfire, I have worked with every major civil rights organization in the United States. My work with the NYCLU positioned me to become one of the nation’s leading strategists on the issues of policing and police accountability, community safety, and the fight to protect our rights and humanity in the face of new technologies like artificial intelligence. I am now a trusted advisor to leading social change activists, philanthropies looking to live their missions, and mission-driven organizations, leading some of Spitfire’s most difficult and high-stakes projects. I routinely support organizations with serious communications challenges such as securing justice for the families of those murdered by police, helping companies build will to implement major structural changes in the interest of racial and environmental justice, and coaching emerging leaders and whole fields to become powerful changemakers.

As the president of Spitfire, I am also steeped in running a financially successful organization, ensuring a team of 50 is clear on and actively demonstrating our organizational values, that we have a talented and high-performing team where retention is the norm, that my leadership team is results oriented, effective and well-trusted, and that our firm stays on trend in the social justice world to maintain and deepen our competitive edge.

All of this experience was born from a seed that the NYCLU nurtured. I owe my career to this organization, and I am grateful for the tireless protection the organization gives New Yorkers, standing up for our right to protest, access abortion, and walk down the street without fear of harassment. It would be an honor and a privilege to give back to the organization that has given me so much.

Thank you for your consideration.

Jonathan Horn

The NYCLU has a broad and ambitious agenda. Areas of particular passion for me include: strengthening democracy and fighting voter suppression; combatting police violence and confronting a fundamentally flawed police culture; racial justice and equity, including the NYCLU’s new and welcome focus on environmental and climate justice; protecting protest, and freedom of speech (without which our right to protest would wither away).

As passionate as I am about our program, I know that the Board’s primary function is stewardship of the organization, in effect “making sure the trains run on time”. As a former President of the NYCLU Board, I bring a broad range of experience and “institutional history” which I think can be helpful to our current leadership.  At the same time, I am very mindful of the word former. It is vital that the Board benefit from the new ideas and fresh thinking that our new leaders provide.

Lukee Forbes*

I’m honored to be nominated to serve on the NYCLU board. My passion, knowledge, and skills will be valuable assets as I work on behalf of the NYCLU as a board member. Raised in Brooklyn by my parents, Luken Forbes and Tashanna McLeod, I faced significant challenges early in life, including the loss of both parents before my release from a seven-year incarceration at age 15. This experience deeply influenced my commitment to social justice and led me to found “We Are Revolutionary” in Albany at the age of 29.

As a community organizer, I’ve collaborated with NYCLU staff on significant legislative initiatives, advocating tirelessly for housing and criminal justice reform serving as a campaign coordinator for the Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition. I believe this work is crucial for enhancing the visibility of the NYCLU in upstate New York and the Capitol region. My unwavering dedication and inspiring leadership continue to drive the mission of “We Are Revolutionary,” as we fight for a more just and equitable world for all. I look forward to bringing my insight as a directly impacted individual and community organizer to the board to contribute to the important conversations ahead, and I hope to have your support for my candidacy.

Rob DeLeon*

The work of NYCLU is so near and dear to my heart because it represents the ideas for the world I want for myself, my children, and grandchildren to live in. My name is Rob DeLeon, I’m the Deputy Chief Executive Officer at The Fortune Society, an organization providing advocacy and services for the criminal legal system involved people of New York. At Fortune we believe in building people, not prisons. I’m formerly incarcerated, having spent 10 years in prison beginning at age 17. The work to reform our legal system is Racial Justice work. Black and brown communities have for too long been the feeders of jails and prisons in our city, state, and country. Defending bail reform, decriminalizing sex work, transforming policing, and other campaigns by NYCLU for a fair legal system are so important. The opportunity to work with the organization on these issues is so exciting.

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