Donna Lieberman has been executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union since December 2001. She has also served as the associate director (1988 - 1993) and founder/director of the NYCLU Reproductive Rights Project (1990 - 2000).
Under Lieberman's leadership the NYCLU has expanded the scope and depth of its work, supplementing and strengthening the pursuit of litigation with an aggressive legislative advocacy and a field organizing program that works on behalf of civil liberties and civil rights. As a result, the organization is widely recognized as the state's leading voice for freedom, justice and equality, advocating for those whose rights and liberties have been denied, especially for those most marginalized by society. Its accomplishments have included the following:
- Reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws through an aggressive, statewide campaign that educated the public and help persuade legislators to end more than three decades of injustice by substantially revising New York State’s notoriously harsh and ineffective mandatory minimum drug sentencing scheme; and by publishing a report, The Rockefeller Drug Laws: Unjust, Irrational, Ineffective, which synthesized the legal, social and economic arguments and research supporting the call for comprehensive reform.
- Protecting protest by publishing two major reports on police tactics at demonstrations (Arresting Protest, which documented unlawful police interference with protesters at the February 15, 2002 anti-war demonstration on the eve of the Iraq war, and Rights & Wrongs at the RNC, which covered the 2004 Republican National Convention); deploying hundreds of protest monitors out of the “Protecting Protest” storefront office near the convention center; prevailing in major post-convention litigation challenging the NYPD’s “command and control” tactics, which interfered with the right to protest, and challenging the unlawful arrest, detention and fingerprinting of demonstrators at the convention; and uncovering the NYPD’s massive and unlawful political surveillance operation.
- Fighting for families by prevailing in a landmark lawsuit in which a state appellate court unanimously ruled that New York State must recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples who were lawfully married in other states or countries (Martinez v. County of Monroe);
- Challenging the government’s misuse of the national security interest as a pretext for violations of individual rights, including the Bush administration’s use of torture, the detention at the U.S.-Canada border of American citizens who attend Islamic conferences (Tabbaa v. Chertoff), the FBI’s use of secret National Security Letters and corresponding gag orders (Doe v. Holder), and the federal law giving government agents virtually unchecked power to intercept Americans’ international e-mails and telephone calls (Amnesty v. McConnell).
- Protecting students’ rights in the context of aggressive military recruitment by prevailing in a lawsuit on behalf of high school students challenging illegality in the Department of Defense military recruitment data mining operations (Hanson v. Rumsfeld); by publishing a report, We Want You(th)!, documenting the New York City Department of Education’s failure to protect students’ privacy and prevent aggressive military recruiting in the public schools; and leading a nationwide campaign to help students protect their right to withhold personal contact information from military recruiters and to put an end to excessive and abusive military recruiting tactics in the schools.
- Reframing the debate on surveillance of lawful activity in New York by pursuing the decades old Handschu lawsuit, which limits political surveillance by the NYPD; publishing a major report, Who’s Watching?, that examines the scope and impact of unregulated public and private video camera surveillance on the rights of privacy, speech and association; and challenging the NYPD and U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s refusal to disclose their plans to create a massive surveillance system in lower Manhattan (NYCLU v. NYPD, NYCLU v. U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security).
- Defending pregnant and parenting women from discrimination by prevailing in a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit on behalf of six Suffolk County police officers forced to take unpaid leave after the department denied them light duty assignments (Lochren v. Suffolk County); and successfully representing women who have been discriminated against for breastfeeding in public (King v. Fossil).
- Exposing and challenging racial profiling and other misconduct by law enforcement obtaining access to the NYPD’s electronic database of more than 2 million stop-and-frisk encounters, the vast majority of which involved people of color who had committed no crime; and by publishing a report, Mission Failure: Civilian Review of Policing in New York City 1994-2006, which raised awareness among the public and lawmakers about the need to strengthen the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board.
- Confronting aggressive policing in public schools by publishing Criminalizing the Classroom: the Over-policing of the NYC Schools, which stirred major public debate over the aggressive and counterproductive over-policing that has plagued New York City schools and cheated students out of nurturing educational environments since the NYPD took control of school safety in 1998; by publishing Safety With Dignity: Alternatives to the Over-Policing of Schools, which documenting the successes of six New York City public high schools in maintaining safe, nurturing educational environments without using metal detectors, aggressive policing and harsh disciplinary policies; and by leading a campaign to bring transparency and accountability to the unchecked police presence in New York City’s public schools.
- Fighting for due process for indigent defendants by filing a lawsuit against New York State on behalf of 20 defendants in Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Suffolk and Washington counties challenging the state’s failure to provide them constitutionally adequate public defense services (Hurrell-Harring, et al. v. State of New York).
Lieberman began her public interest legal career as a criminal defense lawyer in the South Bronx office of the Legal Aid Society, and she later acted as executive director of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW. She served on the faculty of the Urban Legal Studies Program at City College for nearly a decade.
She appears regularly in local and national news coverage and on op-ed pages throughout the state. She also speaks frequently at local and national events on reproductive rights, police practices, freedom of speech, and other civil liberties and civil rights issues.
Lieberman graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1970 and earned her J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law in 1973.
- “The Danger of Remaining Silent.” It’s a Free Country. Eds. Goldberg, Danny, Victor Goldberg and Robert Greenwald. New York: RDV Books/Akashic Books, 2002. 143-148.
- Diller, Rebekah, Donna Lieberman, Tiffany Miller. “Legal Issues in Healthcare of Adolescents.” Adolescent Sexual Development and Sexuality. Eds., Gaffney & Roye. Kingston, NJ: Civic Research Institute, 2003.
- Chu, Yueh-ru, Rebekah Diller, Jessica Feierman, Jaemin Kim, Donna Lieberman, Anna Schissel. Teenagers, Healthcare and the Law. New York: NYCLU, 2002.
- Benjamin, Elisabeth Ryden, Annie Keating, Donna Lieberman, Jana Lipman, Anna Schissel, Miriam Spiro, Cassandra Stubbs. The Rights of Pregnant and Parenting Teens. New York: NYCLU, 2002.
- “Legal Issues in the Reproductive Health Care of Adolescents.” Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association volume 54, Number 3. (Summer 1999). Written with Jessica Feierman.
- “Physician-Only and Physician Assistant Statutes: A Case of Perceived, but Unfounded Conflict.” Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association volume 49, Number 5. (September/October 1994) Written with Anita Lalwani.
- Numerous op-ed pieces and NYCLU reports.
- The New York State Bar, the Association’s Civil Rights Committee, and Committee on Minorities in the Profession Haywood Burns Memorial Award, 2008.
- Honored by the New York State Senate and recipient of Senate Proclamation and Legislative Resolution, 2009.
Arthur Eisenberg is the legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union where he has worked for more than 35 years. During that time he has been involved in more than 20 cases that were presented to the United States Supreme Court. He has litigated extensively around issues of free speech and voting rights. In recent years, Eisenberg has been increasingly involved in litigation concerning national security and civil liberties. He is currently involved in a challenge to the National Security Agency surveillance practices; the use of National Security letters by the FBI; the CIA’s destruction of videotapes relating to interrogation practices; and the video surveillance of political activity by the NYPD. Among the Supreme Court cases that he has litigated are those involving questions of whether a state violates the First Amendment and the constitutional right to vote when it denies voters the right to cast write-in ballots (Burdick v. Takushi, 1992); whether a school board violated the First Amendment in removing 10 books from its high school library (Island Trees Union Free School District v. Pico, 1982); and whether the Indiana legislature engaged in unconstitutional political gerrymandering when it drew congressional district lines (Davis v. Bandemer, 1986).
Eisenberg is the co-author, with Burt Neuborne, of the Rights of Candidates and Voters (2nd ed. 1980). He has published law review articles on a range of topics including essays on Lani Guinier (Review Essay: The Millian Thoughts of Lani Guinier, 21 New York University Review of Law and Social Change 617 (1995)); on Robert Bork (Repaid In The Coin Of A Controversialist: The Bork Nomination Process, 58 University of Cincinnati Law Review 1319 (1990)); and on campaign finance reform (Civic Discourse, Campaign Finance Reform, and the Virtues of Moderation, 12 Cardozo Studies in Law and Literature 141 (2000)). He contributed an essay on issues of faith and conscience, "Accommodation and Coherence: In Search of a General Theory for Adjudicating Claims of Faith, Conscience and Culture," to the volume Engaging Cultural Differences (Russell Sage Foundation, 2002).
He has recently lectured on academic freedom at Columbia University and on civil liberties and national security at the University of Colorado, the University of Minnesota and the Cardozo Law School.
Eisenberg has served as chair of the New York State Task Force on Voter Registration and as a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York's Committee on Civil Rights, its Special Committee on Election Law, and its Task Force on the New York State Constitutional Convention.
Eisenberg earned his B.A. degree from The Johns Hopkins University and his J.D. from Cornell Law School. He has taught courses in constitutional litigation, civil rights law and constitutional law at Cardozo Law School and the University of Minnesota Law School.
Associate Legal Director
Christopher Dunn is the associate legal director at the New York Civil Liberties Union. Since 1996 he has lead litigation and related work on a wide range of civil liberties and civil rights issues. Dunn has specialized in law enforcement and First Amendment issues, and also has led work involving the death penalty, racial discrimination, religious freedom, homelessness, terrorism and government transparency.
Dunn has authored the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties column in the New York Law Journal since 2004, and has written and spoken extensively in a wide variety of forums. He has published numerous op-eds in the Daily News, Newsday and The New York Times, and has appeared on CNN, Fox News and Court TV. Between 2001 and 2015, Dunn taught the Civil Rights Clinic at New York University Law School.
Prior to joining the NYCLU, Dunn was a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Children’s Rights Project, where he was responsible for class action, foster care reform cases and for federal child welfare legislative matters. Dunn holds degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania Law School and clerked for the Honorable John J. Gibbons of the United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit.
Senior Staff Attorney
Beth Haroules has extensive experience as a civil rights litigator, having tried cases involving numerous First Amendment issues, including the right of dissident groups to engage in anonymous political speech. Haroules also has extensive experience in the areas of age and gender discrimination; mandatory drug testing of workfare/welfare recipients; disability rights – specifically, as related to the Willowbrook class action litigation – and mental health law, including "Kendra's Law," involuntary admission and retention of the mentally ill in psychiatric wards; and the involuntary administration of psychotropic medication.
Post- 9/11, Haroules' work has included review and analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, Homeland Security Act, the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act (Border Security Act) of 2002, the Attorney General's revised Guidelines on General Crimes, Racketeering and Terrorism, the SEVIS, CHIMERA and Operation TIPS programs as well as DARPA's IAO programs, including Genoa I and II, Total Information Awareness programs, the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, the federal Smallpox Vaccination Plan, and other similar New York State and New York City legislative initiatives.
Haroules has been involved in the preparation and dissemination of information packages to New York State institutions of higher education and ACLU affiliates concerning foreign student information collection issues, and to New York elementary and secondary school districts and ACLU affiliates concerning the military recruitment provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Her public speaking has taken her to Inns of Court, bar association panels, universities and colleges. She earned her B.A. from Harvard University in 1980 and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 1986.
Senior Staff Attorney
Erin Beth Harrist is a senior staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she focuses on statewide civil rights and civil liberties impact litigation.
Prior to joining the NYCLU, Harrist was a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, where she litigated a wide range of commercial matters including multi-week trials in federal and state court. She has worked extensively with the National Organization for Women – New York City Chapter advocating for the rights of women and the protection of reproductive rights. During law school, she helped secure asylum status for recent refugees on the basis of sexual orientation at Immigration Equality. She also served as production editor for the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law.
Harrist graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Columbia University in 2002 and from Columbia Law School in 2007, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone and James Kent Scholar.
Senior Staff Attorney
Mariana (Molly) Kovel is a senior staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she conducts a wide range of civil rights litigation, primarily focused on the criminal justice system.
Kovel was previously the legal director for the Civil Action Practice at the Bronx Defenders, where she represented hundreds of clients facing the collateral damage that arrests have on a person’s job, housing, benefits and other aspects of daily life. In addition, Kovel trained criminal defense attorneys, social service providers and community members. She partnered with the NYCLU in its banner stop-and-frisk case, Ligon v. City of New York. Kovel has also edited The Consequences of Criminal Proceedings in New York State, a comprehensive manual for criminal defense attorneys and civil legal services attorneys. She came to the Bronx Defenders as a Skadden fellow in 2008.
Kovel clerked for the Honorable Robert M. Levy in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. She graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School in 2006, where she was a contributing editor on the Michigan Law Review.
Philip Desgranges is a staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where he focuses on statewide civil rights and civil liberties impact litigation. Desgranges is also the Chair of the Civil Rights Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and is a member of the City Bar’s Task Force on Mass Incarceration.
Prior to joining the NYCLU, Desgranges was an associate at Goodwin Procter LLP, where he litigated commercial matters and a wide range of pro bono matters, including a death penalty appeal. He previously worked as a public defender at The Bronx Defenders, where he represented indigent clients at all stages of criminal proceedings, including trying cases to verdict.
Desgranges graduated cum laude from Boston University in 2006, and he graduated from New York University School of Law in 2009.
Bobby Hodgson is a staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where he works on statewide civil rights and civil liberties impact litigation. He first joined the NYCLU as a Skadden Fellow focusing on LGBTQ youth issues, and he has worked extensively on advocacy related to LGBTQ students in schools.
Prior to working at the NYCLU, Hodgson was a law clerk to Judge David O. Carter of the United States District Court for the Central District of California. During law school, he represented low-income clients in family and housing court with the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, advocated on behalf of public housing tenants with the Tenant Advocacy Project, and served on the general board of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.
Hodgson graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 2005, and he graduated from Harvard Law School in 2012 with a pro bono service distinction.
Lisa Laplace came to the New York Civil Liberties Union in 2004 with a broad-based litigation background in complex civil litigations. As a lawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell and Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, she litigated several securities and intellectual property law cases. Her work at the NYCLU focuses on disability rights and mental health law -- specifically, as related to the Willowbrook class action litigation.
In addition to litigation, Laplace successfully advocated with New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission to open its courts to the public and regularly advocates on behalf of taxi drivers to protect their constitutional rights.
Laplace is a graduate of Duke University (B.A. 1987) and Brooklyn Law School (J.D. 1990), where she was an articles editor of the Brooklyn Law Review. Laplace is the author of "The Legality of Integration Maintenance Quotas: Fair Housing or Forced Housing?," 55 Brooklyn Law Review 197 (1989), which addresses the constitutionality of racial quotas in housing.
Laplace is admitted to the New York Bar and is admitted to practice law before the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. She is a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and served on the Bar Association's Committee on Copyright and Intellectual Property for several years.
Aadhithi Padmanabhan is a staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union. She first joined the NYCLU in 2014 as a Skadden Fellow, focusing on defending the rights of farmworkers and immigrant New Yorkers. During law school, she participated in the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic and the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project.
She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Harvard College in 2008, and from Yale Law School in 2014, where she earned the Charles G. Albom prize for excellence in appellate advocacy in connection with a law school clinical program.
Jordan Wells is a staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where he works on statewide civil rights and civil liberties impact litigation. At the NYCLU, he has worked on cases and advocacy involving free speech, immigrants’ rights, government transparency, police reform, privacy and technology, and alienage discrimination.
During law school, Wells co-wrote two amicus briefs cited by the Supreme Court in majority opinions and earned the Semifinal Advocacy Award in NYU’s moot court competition. Prior to law school, he coordinated a campaign to obtain labor rights for farmworkers and successfully lobbied for “sweatshop-free” public purchasing policies in Albany.
Wells graduated from Cornell University in 2007 and from NYU School of Law in 2013, where he was a McKay Scholar, a Latinx Rights Scholar and an article editor for the Annual Survey of American Law. He speaks Spanish.
Voting Rights Project Attorney
Perry Grossman is the Voting Rights Project Attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where he focuses on litigation and advocacy efforts concerning voting rights and election law issues.
Prior to joining the NYCLU in 2017, Grossman was an associate at Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP and Bingham McCutchen LLP, where he litigated a variety of commercial and civil rights matters, including authoring amicus briefs for the U.S. Supreme Court in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder, Shelby County v. Holder, and Packingham v. North Carolina. Grossman clerked for the Hon. Barry G. Silverman of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is also an occasional contributor to Slate on legal issues.
Grossman graduated from Swarthmore College and Stanford Law School, where he was senior managing editor of the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and a member of the Stanford Community Law Clinic and the Stanford Constitutional Law Center clinic.
Kristen Burzynski is a legal fellow at the New York Civil Liberties Union where she focuses on statewide civil rights and civil liberties with an emphasis on the rights of LGBTQ New Yorkers and transgender/gender nonconforming students. She also sits on the Board of Directors for Genders & Sexualities Network, a national racial and gender justice organization that works for safer schools and healthier communities.
During law school, Burzynski advocated for student and LGBT rights at the ACLU LGBT and HIV Project, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the ACLU of Southern California, and Public Counsel. She represented clients in the UC Irvine School of Law Civil Rights Litigation Clinic, as well as the International Human Rights Clinic. She led her law school’s Education Rights Project and served as president of OutLaw. Prior to law school, Burzynski was a 7th and 8th grade math and science teacher in Oakland, CA, where she also sat on Teach for America’s Diversity and Inclusion Board.
Burzynski holds a B.A. in Communication from the University of California, Santa Barbara, an M.A. in Urban Education Policy from Loyola Marymount University, and a J.D. from the University of California, Irvine School of Law, where she was a Dean’s Scholar, a quarter-finalist in moot court, and awarded high honors for her pro-bono achievements.
Kevin Jason is a Stanford Law School Public Interest Fellow at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where he focuses on enforcing students’ rights and combatting school segregation and supports the organization’s civil rights and civil liberties litigation and advocacy.
Prior to joining the NYCLU, Jason clerked for the Honorable Steven M. Gold of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York and for the Honorable Andrew L. Carter, Jr. for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. During law school, he represented students with disabilities as part of Stanford’s Youth and Education Law Project, participated in the Three Strikes Project where he successfully petitioned for resentencing on behalf of a prisoner serving a life sentence, and served as Associate Managing Editor and Projects Editor for the Stanford Law & Policy Review.
Jason earned his B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Columbia University in 2010 and his M.A. in Public Policy from Stanford University in 2014. He graduated from Stanford Law School in 2014 with pro bono distinction.
Paula Garcia-Salazar is a Legal Investigator at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she works in support of a variety of statewide civil rights and civil liberties impact litigation. At NYCLU, she carries out on-the-ground fact gathering in both pending and potential legal matters.
Prior to joining the NYCLU in 2017, Garcia-Salazar was an Immigrant Justice Corps Community Fellow, where she completed two years of direct immigration legal services, representing low-income clients in the Bronx regarding immigration matters.
Garcia-Salazar graduated summa cum laude from the Macaulay Honors College at City College of New York (CUNY) in 2015, where she was a Skadden Scholar, a Revson Scholar, and a Hertog Scholar. She graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies, and a minor in Studio Art.
Robert Perry has worked with the NYCLU as legislative director and is the NYCLU's principal lobbyist. In this capacity he advocates on behalf of proposed legislation implicating civil rights and civil liberties; and he has testified on these issues frequently at hearings conducted by state and city legislative committees.
Perry has been either in a staff position or a consulting attorney with the NYCLU since 1991. In that year, Perry earned a Revson Foundation grant to undertake a national study for the NYCLU that analyzed civilian agencies charged with oversight of policing. He was involved in the NYCLU's efforts to create an independent Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) by amendment to the New York City Charter, and he has written extensively on the CCRB's performance since the all-civilian agency came into existence in 1993.
As a litigation associate with Michael Shen & Associates in the years 2000-2003, Perry practiced in the areas of police misconduct and employment discrimination. Before joining Shen & Associates, Perry was public policy counsel with the Alliance for Consumer Rights, a project of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, where he drafted and advocated on behalf of legislative proposals to ensure access to the civil justice system. Prior to becoming a lawyer, he was a free-lance writer and editor, whose assignments included reproductive rights, juvenile justice and child poverty.
Perry was the Stanford University Law School's Mills Fellow in 2000. The fellowship program invites lawyers to mentor students interested in public interest legal careers. He is a graduate of the City University of New York Law School and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He also attended the graduate program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
Deputy Legislative Director
Bernadette Brown joined the NYCLU in January 2016 as its deputy legislative director. In this role she works with the legislative director in planning and implementing the NYCLU’s legislative agenda.
Bernadette comes to the NYCLU from Duke University, where she was director of the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity. She began her legal career as a public defender with the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem; much of her work since then has been devoted to criminal and juvenile justice, and corrections reform. As a senior program specialist with the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, she co-managed the Improving Permanency for LGBT Youth Project, an initiative that sought to keep LGBTQ and gender nonconforming youth out of the child welfare and juvenile justice systems in California, with a specific focus on youth of color. She has provided presentations, trainings and technical assistance for numerous agencies and organizations across the United States, including the National Institute of Corrections, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Naval Consolidated Brig, Miramar and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. Additionally, Bernadette serves as faculty for The National Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Resource Center, where she developed the LGBTI training curriculum for those seeking to become certified PREA auditors by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Bernadette is an alumnus of the Pipeline Project’s 21st Century Fellows Program, a national program for LGBT leaders of color. She received her A.B. in anthropology from Columbia University and her J.D. from Boston University.
Katharine ES Bodde
Katharine Bodde specializes in gender equality and reproductive rights issues. Prior to joining the NYCLU in 2009, Bodde worked as a legal educator in Cambodia for communities in provincial areas focusing on the legal and extralegal remedies for violations of women’s rights and citizens’ land rights. This work combined her background as a New York City teacher and her commitment to fighting violence and poverty by empowering women.
Bodde has also worked at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and, as a volunteer immigration attorney, has assisted in securing asylum status for recent refugees. She currently teaches a course at Cardozo Law School on Reproductive Rights Law and Justice and is the Chair of the Sex and Law Committee at the New York City Bar Association. Bodde graduated magna cum laude from Brooklyn Law School with special recognition for her work in international law and women’s rights and her strong commitment to public service. Bodde received a B.A. from Boston College in 2003 and an M.S. in Education from Mercy College in 2005.
Erika Lorshbough monitors and analyzes legislative activity and agency action implicating civil rights and civil liberties, and works with coalition partners to promote community-driven law reform based upon constitutional principles.
Prior to working at the NYCLU, Lorshbough worked at the Criminal Appeals Bureau of Legal Aid Society, where she specialized in parole advocacy proceedings and criminal justice law reform. In addition to more than a decade of volunteer organizing and political activism, she has advanced LGBT civil rights as a litigation fellow with Lambda Legal, presided over landlord-tenant conciliation as a judicial clerk in New York City Housing Court, and fought to remedy discrimination and due process violations as a fellow with Legal Services-NYC. During law school, Lorshbough established her school's first economic justice pro bono project, empowering students and community members to provide legal services to public assistance recipients. Now known as the Economic Justice Coalition, this organization spawned several other economic justice projects as well as an in-house clinic, and Lorshbough remains involved with the project in an advisory capacity.
In 2006, Lorshbough graduated from UCLA and the Luskin School of Public Affairs with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in public policy. She received her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 2012, and has been honored with numerous public interest awards and legal fellowships, including the Professor John A. Ronayne Memorial Prize for Exceptional Commitment to Service in the Public Interest, her law school's Platinum Public Service and Pro Bono leadership Awards, the Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Law Fellowship, and the Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest and Equal Justice Works/Americorps Summer Fellowships.
Rashida Richardson researches and analyzes state and local legislation, rules and regulations that implicate civil rights and civil liberties.
Prior to working at the NYCLU, Richardson was a staff attorney at the Center for HIV Law and Policy, where she worked on a wide-range of HIV-related legal and policy issues, and she previously worked at Facebook Inc. and HIP Investor in San Francisco. During law school, Richardson was also selected as a research assistant for Professor Margaret Burnham in Northeastern University's Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, where she participated in a landmark civil rights action against a county in Mississippi for a kidnapping and murder which took place in 1964. This suit was the first of its kind.
Richardson graduated with honors from Wesleyan University in 2008, and she graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 2011.
Zach Ahmad is a policy counsel at the NYCLU, working on issues relating to free speech, immigration enforcement, and economic justice.
Prior to joining the NYCLU, Ahmad worked as a staff attorney with the Juvenile Rights Practice at the Legal Aid Society of New York, representing children and young adults in Family Court proceedings in Brooklyn, and assisting clients with a range of matters outside of court. While in law school, he contributed legal and social science research to a book on the role that implicit biases play in unequal health care outcomes. He is deeply interested in how economic inequality broadly impacts the exercise of civil liberties.
Ahmad graduated cum laude from George Washington University with a B.A. in journalism in 2006, and received his law degree from CUNY School of Law in 2013. He enjoys riding the 7 train.
Johanna Miller is a nationally recognized public policy expert on issues including police reform, education, and privacy and technology. She has co-authored groundbreaking civil rights legislation in New York City, including the Community Safety Act, which set up oversight of racially discriminatory policing by the NYPD, and the Student Safety Act, which disclosed how black and Latino children are pushed out of New York City schools by discriminatory discipline policies.
An authority on the effect of technology on the safety and privacy of all Americans, Miller recently testified before President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing on the issue of police-worn body cameras. Miller is also a leading advisor to public schools on anti-discrimination policies, serving on both Mayor de Blasio’s citywide school climate task force and the New York Education Department’s statewide Dignity for All Students task force.
A frequent public speaker and media contributor, Miller’s appearances include the New York and American Bar Associations, Celebration of Teaching and Learning Conference, Practicing Law Institute, and others. She has appeared in The New York Times, Daily News, New York Post, Village Voice, NPR and The Huffington Post, and has had op-eds published in The Albany Times-Union, Newsday, and The Buffalo News.
Miller graduated with honors from New York Law School where she currently teaches the Legislative Advocacy Clinic. Originally from Florida, she is a proud alumnus of the University of Florida and studied at La Sorbonne. She joined the NYCLU staff in 2008.
Director of Organizing Campaigns
Lauren Frederico is the Director of Organizing Campaigns at the NYCLU, where she manages a statewide team of organizers and designs and implements organizing campaigns to advance and defend civil liberties and civil rights.
In 2015, Frederico co-authored the NYCLU report Dignity for All? Discrimination against Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students in New York State, which received national attention and secured support for statewide reforms. In collaboration with students and advocates across the state, Frederico worked with the State Education Department to improve school climate for transgender and gender nonconforming students.
As a member of the Student Safety Coalition, Frederico co-authored amendments to the Student Safety Act and led a legislative advocacy campaign to strengthen New York City’s reporting on police activity and disciplinary practices in schools. The Student Safety Act amendments passed in 2015 and require, for the first time, reporting by both the NYPD and the Department of Education on the use of metal detectors, handcuffs and restraints in schools.
Frederico graduated from Smith College, and earned an M.S.W. from Hunter College School of Social Work where she studied Community Organization, Planning and Development. In 2014, Frederico completed a Seminar in Field Instruction at Columbia University, and currently serves as an Adjunct Lecturer for Silberman and Columbia School of Social Work.
Frederico first joined the NYCLU in 2010, and became a full-time staff member in 2011.
Brandon J. Holmes
Brandon J. Holmes is an organizer at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where he is responsible for regional engagement, leadership development strategies and strengthening relationships with community organizations.
Holmes’s grassroots campaigning experience includes organizing formerly incarcerated people. As the civil rights organizer for VOCAL-NY, he worked with civil rights leaders to pass the NYC Fair Chance Act, the strongest legislation in the country protecting people with criminal records from job discrimination. Holmes is also part of the training team for People’s Action, a national organization made up of 600 organizers and over 1 million members from 29 states.
Holmes has a BA in Journalism and Political Science from the State University of New York at Albany.
Jake Martinez is an organizer at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where he works to strengthen youth engagement coordinating the Teen Activist Project (TAP), which focuses on social justice, activism, and the law.
Prior to joining the NYCLU in 2016, Martinez was the education & youth programs associate at GLSEN, where he designed, implemented and managed campaigns and programs to make schools safer for all students regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. He was previously the special projects associate at the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties from 2012 to 2014 where he was responsible for major event planning, collaborations with LGBT community partners and liaising with the ACLU of California leadership team.
Martinez has a B.A. in Sociology and Psychology from Arizona State University and a M.S. in Family and Human Development also from Arizona State University. He lives in Brooklyn with his best friend Dale and his pug Chihuahua named Pudge.
Toni Smith-Thompson joined the NYCLU in January 2011. Previously she worked for seven years at New York Youth at Risk, Inc., a non-profit youth mentoring organization, as the executive assistant, development associate and grant writer. During her time in the non-profit sector, Smith-Thompson gained significant experience in youth development, administration and human resources, and development. She graduated from Manhattanville College with a degree in sociology and a passion for social justice and equality.
Lead Policy Counsel
Michael Sisitzky is lead policy counsel in the Advocacy Department. He leads the department’s police transparency and accountability campaign, and his portfolio also includes work in the area of privacy and technology.
Before joining the NYCLU, Sisitzky served as a staff attorney with Immigration Equality, where he provided direct representation as well as administrative and legislative advocacy for LGBT binational couples, who had few options for being together in the U.S. until the Defense of Marriage Act was declared unconstitutional. He was a frequent speaker on LGBT immigration issues, having trained several hundred attorneys and activists on best practices for working with LGBT immigrants, and he has contributed to reports by CNN, MSNBC, and a publication by the American Immigration Lawyers Association. While in law school, Sisitzky interned with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, where he helped partner organizations to draft municipal nondiscrimination legislation. As an intern with the New York State Division of Human Rights, he investigated complaints of housing and employment discrimination throughout the New York metro area.
Sisitzky graduated magna cum laude from New York University with a B.A. in politics, and he received his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2012. In 2014, he was recognized by the National LGBT Bar Association as one of the 40 Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40.
Nicole Triplett is a policy counsel in the Advocacy Department, working primarily on human rights and criminal justice issues.
Prior to moving to New York to begin with the NYCLU, Juan worked administrative roles for Parks and Recreation of the City of Ann Arbor. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 2011 and enjoys watching baseball and building computers.
Interim Director of Communications
Sebastian Krueger is the deputy communications director for the New York Civil Liberties Union, where he develops strategies to advance the NYCLU’s goals through press engagement, multimedia products, publications and online outreach.
Prior to joining the NYCLU in 2016, Krueger was a communications officer for the Open Society Foundations for four years, managing communications strategy for its global public health program. Major focuses of his work at Open Society include a free speech case before the U.S. Supreme Court, legal empowerment and community justice, messaging research on drug prices, legal recognition of trans people and sex work decriminalization.
Krueger’s previous experience includes freelance production and reporting for NPR and WNYC Radio with a focus on civil liberties. He has also worked in development at the American Civil Liberties Union, and as a grant writer for arts programs in New York City. He received a B.A. in history from New York University.
Senior Digital & Design Strategist
The Communications Department includes a full-time staff digital and design strategist who is an experienced graphic designer and web developer, with a portfolio focused around designing for social justice causes.
Simon McCormack joined the NYCLU in 2015. For the last four years, he was an editor at The Huffington Post where he covered criminal justice issues including prison reform, solitary confinement and police brutality.
He received a B.A. in criminology from the University of New Mexico in 2007 and a M.A. in journalism from New York University in 2010.
Prior to moving to New York, McCormack worked for two years at the Weekly Alibi, an alt-weekly in Albuquerque covering news, local politics and music.
McCormack’s writing has also appeared in The New York Times, Village Voice, Brooklyn Paper and other publications.
Data & Policy Analyst
Michelle Shames is the data & policy analyst for the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she gathers and assesses quantitative information and reviews public policies to support advocacy and legal initiatives. Her areas of focus include police accountability and criminal justice reform.
Prior to joining the NYCLU in 2016, Shames worked as a researcher at McGill University in Montreal, Canada on issues involving race/ethnic relations and the justice system. Among other projects, she received a research grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada for her innovative work on the discrimination of minority groups in Quebec courts. She also served as an editor for a graduate sociology and criminology journal, and interned at the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime.
Shames earned an M.A. in sociology from McGill University in 2015, where she received a Criminal Justice Sentencing Research Award, a Graduate Excellence Fellowship, and an Outstanding Student Award from the Canadian Sociological Association.
Christina Bartson joined the New York Civil Liberties Union as the communications assistant in 2017. She supports the department team in its public education work, communication with the press, and multi-media advocacy campaigns.
Prior to serving at the NYCLU, she earned her B.A. in communication studies with a double minor in journalism and philosophy at Emerson College and graduated with honors in 2017. Bartson previously interned with NPR’s Here & Now and Women’s Health magazine. During college she was the managing editor of The Berkeley Beacon and served on the research team of Confi, working to investigate and create effective college campus sexual assault education programs. She’s a two-time Evvy Award recipient for best non-fiction writing and her work appears in Women’s Health magazine and Ms. Magazine. Bartson lives in Brooklyn where she devotes her time to cycling through Prospect Park and trying new craft beers.
Director of Philanthropy
Wendy Sealey is a native New Yorker, proud working mom, Brown and Stanford University Alumna, and passionate fundraiser. She loves raising money for social justice organizations and projects. Before joining the NYCLU last year as the Director of Leadership Gifts, she worked for various nonprofit organizations, including Bank Street College of Education and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, raising funds for general operations, educational scholarships, endowments and, most recently, a capital campaign.
She lives in Washington Heights with her wife of 15 years, Ines, and their young soccer superstar, Javier.
Deputy Director of Philanthropy
Caroline Cotter joined the NYCLU in September 2015. Previously she was Senior Development Officer at the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC), which promotes the sexual and reproductive rights and health of women and girls globally, and Program Coordinator at CREA, a feminist women’s human rights organization, based in New Delhi. Cotter serves as trustee at the Manhattan Country School (MCS), chairs the Board Development Committee, and participates actively on the Comprehensive Campaign Council.
Cotter taught in progressive New York City schools for six years after earning a B.S. with honors from Harvard University in Social Anthropology and a Masters in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street College. She lives on the Upper West Side and in Sullivan County with her wife, Laurie, and their little dog, Lars.
Development Database Manager
Keith Kole joined the NYCLU in 2006. He hails from Chicago where he managed the Raiser's Edge database for Council for Jewish Elderly and the prestigious Newberry Library. Previous to that, he owned and operated a network game-playing and DVD rental/sales retail store (the first in the northern Chicago area). He studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and RADA in London. Kole is an Oxfordian and would be happy to explain to anyone who is interested exactly what an Oxfordian is.
Development Officer, Donor Communications
Lual joined the NYCLU in August 2016 as the development officer for donor communications. In his role he is responsible for building and sustaining relationships between various foundation funders and the NYCLU. Lual writes persuasive grant proposals, reports and other key communication materials for foundations while managing outreach to prospective donors. Lual also contributes to other communication pieces by project managing the NYCLU’s biannual newsletter and annual report, compiling updates for the NYCLU’s Board of Directors, assisting with bimonthly donor updates and writing other key materials related to member and donor communications.
Previously, Lual worked at Frontline Solutions International, a consulting firm dedicated to bridging the gap between community-based non-profits and philanthropic organizations that prioritize minority empowerment.
Lual was born on the island of Saint Lucia and raised in the Bronx, New York. He attended Wheaton College in Massachusetts as a Posse Foundation scholar and earned his B.A. in Anthropology and Economics.
Senior Engagement Officer
Lushi (pronounced “Lucy”) Huang joined the NYCLU in June 2017. In her role, Lushi works alongside the advocacy and communications departments to enhance the NYCLU’s visibility and identity by developing and implementing targeted strategic marketing campaigns for our 100K+ members and donors.
Lushi brings with her an extensive marketing communications background in government, MarCom agencies, the private sector, and other non-profits. Prior to joining NYCLU, she worked for The Executive Office of the President of the United States under the Obama Administration where she managed communications, media, and event logistics along with serving as a brand ambassador for campaign and official White House activities of President Obama. In 2016, Lushi joined Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign as a National Advance Lead where she developed and produced campaign events and press communications.
Before transitioning into the marketing communications industry, Lushi worked at several corporate law firms, including Skadden, Sherman and Sterling, and O’Melveny. She double majored and graduated with honors from Fordham University with a degree in International Relations and Psychology, additionally receiving a Professional Business Certificate from UCLA in the specialized field of Integrated Marketing Communications.
After racking up hotel and travel points from campaign life, Lushi is more than happy to finally unpack her “go” bag.
Leadership Gifts Officer
Ellen Luo joined the NYCLU in May 2017 as the Leadership Gifts Officer. She brings over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector with expertise in fundraising, marketing, strategic planning and program development. Previously, she worked for large and small organizations in New York City and San Francisco and spent five years in Asia consulting for a variety of NGOs. Ellen has an MPA from the School of Public Affairs, Baruch College and B.A. from Hampshire College.
Leadership Gifts Assistant
Aryn Foland joined NYCLU in June 2017 as a Leadership Gifts Assistant. She supports the development department and performs donor research, tracks the department’s leadership gift portfolio, and assists with donor communication.
Prior to working with the NYCLU, Aryn worked in the contemporary art industry, performing a wide array of tasks, such as administration, art handling, event planning, and serving as an artist liaison. She has volunteered for many organizations, including the YMCA, Hillary for America and Creative Time.
Aryn graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Art History, focusing on 19th Century and Renaissance Art. She grew up in Los Angeles and lives in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
Hannah Dunn joined the NYCLU in 2017 as the Development Department Assistant. She has a background in theatrical management and spent her first year in New York working with a variety of theater companies, including Signature Theatre, The Atlantic Theater Company, and Second Stage Theater.
Previously, Dunn spent time as a field organizer for the 2016 presidential campaign in northern Wisconsin. She is a proud alumna of Northwestern University, where she studied European History and Theatre. Dunn grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, where she worked at her family’s independent bookstore. Hannah is thrilled to be part of the #resistance at the NYCLU.
Melissa Calderone joined the NYCLU as the executive assistant in May of 2012. Born and raised in New Jersey -- and don't you forget it -- Calderone ensures the smooth operations of the NYCLU and supports the executive director with her scheduling prowess, keen eye for detail and striking/stupendous/unsettling ability to multitask. Her passion and energy for grassroots activism stem from a background in campaign field organizing. In 2011, Calderone served as paid canvass director for the Suffolk County Coordinated Campaign, managing a massive effort that knocked over 100,000 doors in support of dozens of Democratic candidates. Prior to that, she worked as regional field director for Congressman Tim Bishop's successful 2010 re-election campaign. Calderone graduated summa cum laude from Hofstra University, where she studied political science and fine arts.
Special Assistant to the Director
Helen Paillé is the special assistant to the director at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she oversees the operations of the office of the executive director. Prior to joining NYCLU in 2015, Paillé spent five years in Minnesota pursuing her J.D., and assisting survivors of gender-based violence as both an attorney and legal advocate.
Paillé has served on the boards of directors of Teenwise Minnesota and the 20% Theatre Company, and was a volunteer Racial Justice Facilitator for the YWCA of Minneapolis. Her article “Black Female Inmates’ Reproductive Rights: Cutting the Chains of Colorblind Constitutionalism,” which examines the shackling of prisoners during childbirth through the lens of the Equal Protection Clause, was published in William Mitchell’s Law Raza Journal in 2012.
Paillé graduated cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law in 2012, and completed her B.A. in women and gender studies at Bates College in 2009. In 2012, she was named one of OutFront Minnesota’s “25 Under 25.” Paillé first joined the ACLU family as an intern at the Maine Civil Liberties Union in her dearly beloved home state.
Human Resources Associate
Before joining the NYCLU, Monique Houston taught computer science in the New York City Public Schools. She enjoyed developing relationships with students and working in a field that gave her a greater purpose. These same values brought Houston to the NYCLU, where she works as the program assistant for both the Advocacy and Legislative departments. Houston provides administrative support and works with external organizations and community members to coordinate distribution of NYCLU publications.
Houston was raised in Connecticut and joined the NYCLU in 2010.
Richard Bryant, a founding partner at Eight Square Inc., brings 20 years of experience in not-for-profit management to the NYCLU. He has worked closely with senior management and board directors of organizations including The Osborne Association, The Correctional Association of New York, The New York Asian Women’s Center, The Fund for Social Change and The New York Women’s Foundation, providing fiscal and human resource management, as well as other advisory services.
Amanda Li, a founding partner at Eight Square Inc., has 16 years of experience in all aspects of not-for-profit fiscal and contract management; including audit, financial statements, payroll, government, foundation and corporation contract management, fund accounting systems and database management. Prior to Eight Square Inc., Li spent more than 10 years in both business and fiscal management at both The Osborne Association and New York Asian Women’s Center. She received the Thomas Mott Award for her dedication and excellence of work at the Osborne Association. Li received a BA in accounting from Queens College at the City University of New York. Prior to coming to the U.S., she attended law school in China and worked as legal advocate at a major corporation, working on behalf of over 20,000 workers.
Albert Birzh joined the NYCLU as a senior accountant in 2008.
Born and raised in Moldova, Birzh graduated from Pace University in 2000 with a major in accounting and minor in finance. He passed all four parts of the CPA examination. He now has more than 12 years experience in accounting and finance, including experience in all aspects of financial forecasting, resource allocation, fund management and control. Prior to joining the NYCLU, Birzh was a senior accountant for Overseas Media Production.
Full Charge Bookkeeper
Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the Bronx since the age of three, Marangeli Merced spent many years in the neurological field working as a medical secretary at the New York Presbyterian Hospital. The first in her family to attend and graduate from college, Merced earned her B.A. in accounting from Monroe College in the Bronx. While at Monroe, she began an internship at the New York Civil Liberties Union, and soon after, joined the NYCLU full time as the controller’s assistant and full charge bookkeeper. She handles a wide range of the finance department’s responsibilities, including payroll, accounts payable and cash flow.
Merced joined the NYCLU staff in 2008.
John A. Curr III
Western Regional Office Director (Serving Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chatauqua, Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties)
John A. Curr III was named the director in April 2006 for the NYCLU in the Western New York area, after joining the NYCLU as assistant director of the Western Regional Office in December 2000. Active in social justice causes for many years, Curr is a former member of the steering committee for the Erie County Green Party, served as a local coordinator and media liaison for Ralph Nader's "Democracy Rising" and "Stop the War" tours and was a recent organizer with "Peace Has No Borders."
Curr is the host and creator of the NYCLU's "Radio Civil Liberties" program, a weekly broadcast that the WRO began in 2003. Featuring news, interviews and music, Radio Civil Liberties provides insight and information in a creative format that attracts listeners from all over the world.
A charter member of Western New York's Veterans for Peace chapter, Curr is a disabled combat veteran of the first Gulf War, with more than 14 years service in the U.S. Army, Army National Guard and Air Force Reserves. A graduate of the Community College of the Air Force, Curr has also completed undergraduate work at the United States Academy of Health Sciences (Fort Sam Houston, Texas), the University of Maryland, Hawaii Pacific College and Chaminade University (Hawaii).
Nassau County Chapter Director
Susan Gottehrer is the director of the Nassau County Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she organizes legal, educational and community outreach in the region. She has previously served as an adjunct Political Science Professor, a Social Studies teacher, a public relations executive and director of an after school program.
Gottehrer joined the NYCLU as a Nassau County Chapter board member in 2006 and later became the NYCLU chapter coordinator in 2014, where she campaigned for public defense reform and criminal justice reform. As a student activist at SUNY Oneonta, she trained and lead students on lobby trips, organized voter registration and get-out-the-vote campaigns, authored a weekly newspaper column and appeared weekly on local radio talk-shows. Gottehrer has developed know-your-rights curriculums, conducted trainings in high schools throughout Nassau County and facilitated youth workshops on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Gottehrer holds an M.P.A. from New York University, a Master’s Degree in Political Science from The New School for Social Research and a Master’s Degree in Social Studies Education from Columbia University.
Assistant Advocacy Director (Chapters)
KaeLyn Rich joined the NYCLU family as a Genesee Valley Chapter board member in 2008 and became chapter director in 2011. With community organizing experience that dates back to stuffing folders for her parents’ union meetings, Rich specializes in direct action organizing, nonprofit administration and young adult engagement.
Formerly, Rich was the community affairs coordinator at Planned Parenthood of the Rochester/Syracuse Region, where she was responsible for legislative advocacy, government relations, coalition building and the regional campus organizing program. Rich has also worked at Services to Aid Families, a rape crisis/domestic violence program in Oswego and as the director of the SUNY Oswego Women’s Center.
Rich serves on the founding board of Connect & Breathe, a taboo-breaking nonjudgmental after-abortion talkline based out of upstate New York. She is also a member of the Family Planning Advocates Young Leaders Advisory Board, a former board member of ImageOut: the Rochester Lesbian & Gay Film and Video Festival, and a former membership chair of Greater Rochester NOW.
Rich holds B.A. degrees in women’s studies and English from SUNY Oswego and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from SUNY Brockport. She is a 2011 National Council for Research on Women young professional fellow in their “Building the Next Generation of Women in the Nonprofit Sector” fellowship program.
Genesee Valley Chapter Director
Iman Abid joined the NYCLU family as a community organizer for the Genesee Valley Chapter and is now serving as Interim Director, working on issues from criminal justice reform to education reform.
Before joining the NYCLU, Abid was working in the political field as a campaign manager for several upstate New York representatives. Her love for the public sector led her to serve as a deputy field director, organizing field work for senatorial and congressional campaigns. During that time she became a part of a field program that exceeded the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee standards.
In 2017, was chosen as a City & State Rising Star Recipient and writes for MuslimGirl.com.
Abid holds a B.S. in Political Science from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Genesee Valley Chapter Administrative Assistant
Marisol Martinez is a native of Chile who immigrated to the United States in 1980 and became a citizen in 1990. Before joining the NYCLU, she was a Spanish language teacher, and later became a director of Rochester's Berlitz Language School. At the NYCLU’s Genesee Valley Chapter, she is responsible for administrative coordination and supporting the legal intake process. Her favorite part about working with the chapter is being involved in lobby days and rally events, where she works side-by-side with the chapter director, our members and NYCLU partners to bring positive change to the community.
Suffolk County Director
Irma Solis is the Suffolk Chapter Director for the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she organizes legal, educational, and community outreach in Suffolk County on issues ranging from police accountability to education reform.
Solis has more than 15 years of experience leading campaigns to address issues affecting communities in upstate New York, Brooklyn and Long Island. These include racially targeted housing code enforcement activities in the Town of Brookhaven, wage theft by unscrupulous employers, violations of the Fair Housing Act, day laborers right to seek work in public spaces, Latino students’ right to public education and discriminatory practices by the Suffolk County police.
Solis has worked for New York State Attorney General’s Consumer Frauds Bureau, Central American Legal Assistance, Workplace Project and Long Island Housing Services. She has consulted for Latino Justice and other social justice organizations as community organizer and trainer with a focus on social and racial justice, leadership and organizational development. Solis received her law degree from University at Buffalo School of Law and her BA from Binghamton University.
Capital Region Chapter Director (Serving Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga, Warren, Columbia and Washington counties)
Melanie Trimble joined the New York Civil Liberties Union in March 2003. Previously she served as president and vice president of Action of the League of Women Voters of Albany County.
Trimble moved to the Albany area from Chicago in 1990 and has been actively involved in community life in the Capital District since that time. She has participated in changing the charter of Albany County to a county executive form of government, led an internship for Russian and Ukrainian women learning about participation in government, represented the Albany County League at state and national conventions and monitored county government activities.
Trimble taught mathematics for 11 years before leaving to pursue a career in public service. She has an undergraduate degree in psychology and philosophy from Simmons College in Boston, and a master's degree in teaching from Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, NJ.
Lower Hudson Valley Chapter Director
Shannon Wong is the director of the Lower Hudson Valley Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she organizes legal, educational and community outreach. Her experience with legislative advocacy contributed to the successful passage of paid family leave and public defense reform in New York State.
Prior to joining the NYCLU in 2015, Wong served as an Orange County legislator, where she led campaigns to stop the expansion of asset forfeiture and to limit the shackling of pregnant women in jail. As legislative director for the YWCAs of New York State, Wong worked tirelessly on the Women’s Equality Agenda. Previously, Wong was the policy and communication specialist for the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She is currently a board member for Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley.
Wong holds a Masters in Social Work with a focus on public policy and community organizing from the University of Pennsylvania and indulges in reading books recommended by her twin teenage daughters.
Central New York Chapter Administrative Assistant
Kevin Atwater is the administrative assistant for the Central New York Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union. His primary responsibility is to keep the office operating smoothly by working with the chapter director, board members, interns, and volunteers on issues involving advocacy, legal intake, development, and community outreach.
Before joining the NYCLU in 2009, Atwater worked as a cataloger at the Syracuse University Library. He earned a B.A. from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and an M.A. from Syracuse University.