ACLU-NC News Tag - ACLU of North Carolina Mon, 22 May 2017 13:24:36 -0400 en-gb “I’m Optimistic Because It’s the Only Way I Know How to Live.”

Karen Anderson, the ACLU-NC’s New Executive Director, on the Fight for Civil Liberties in North Carolina

By Molly Rivera, Communications Associate

At just 10 years old Karen Anderson immigrated to the United States from Jamaica. Her family moved to New York to a majority Black neighborhood. Even from a young age, she remembers being struck by racial tensions in her community.

“It’s at that age that you begin to look out at the world, and things just didn’t seem right,” said Karen.

As more and more inequities and injustices came into focus, she tried to reconcile her vision of what she thought her life would be like in the U.S. and what was actually happening around her. She also began to ask questions: Why is the world this way? And does it have to be? She finally started to find the answers she was looking for in the classroom.

“At some point I was introduced to the beauty of the Constitution,” she said. “And that was a big moment for me because it calls to the best of us.”

Karen soon found her place working on social justice issues, and quickly realized that this was what she felt called to do.

“There’s a dichotomy of what we could be as a nation and what we are,” said Karen. “And this idea really speaks to me, and I think to the larger immigrant community.”

Throughout her professional career as a lawyer, she explored her passion for gender and racial equity issues and criminal justice, doing pro bono work on immigration, employment, and civil rights matters. Finally, she discovered the ACLU, a natural fit for her interests and experience. She served on the Board of Directors of the ACLU of New Hampshire for ten years and, more recently, on the National Board before she was drawn to North Carolina.

“North Carolina is very much on the cutting edge of civil rights issues,” said Karen. “Almost every issue that is front and center nationally is happening here.”

Karen is taking the helm of the ACLU of North Carolina at a pivotal time for civil liberties in the state. The organization is in the midst of a high-profile legal battle against House Bill 2, the state’s notoriously discriminatory anti-LGBT law, and recently helped win a major victory for voting rights when a federal appeals court struck down North Carolina’s sweeping voter suppression law. In response to recent legislative attacks, the ACLU-NC is also ramping up efforts to work with communities across the state to promote police accountability, fight anti-immigrant proposals, and protect abortion access for all North Carolina women.

Even among the sparks of political turmoil, community unrest, and deep divisions and injustices that persist today, Karen feels that the state is pointed forward, changing in ways that still feel welcoming to her.

“I am optimistic because it’s the only way I know how to live,” said Karen. “Right will win in the end.”

mrivera [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Molly Rivera) Legal News Mon, 15 Aug 2016 16:51:07 -0400
N.C. Bill to Keep Police Camera Footage Secret Passes House

RALEIGH – A bill that would allow law enforcement agencies to shield officer worn body camera footage from public view unless ordered to release the footage by a court was approved by the North Carolina House tonight.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina, which has advised many local law enforcement agencies on their body camera policies, opposes HB 972. 

“Body cameras are supposed to represent a step forward for transparency, but this bill would be a step backward by empowering police to keep video footage secret—even from individuals who are filmed,” said Susanna Birdsong, Policy Counsel for the ACLU of North Carolina. “At a minimum, people who are filmed by police body cameras should be able to obtain that footage.  Instead, HB 972 would force people to go to court to obtain footage, a process most simply can’t afford. This bill would also deny local governments the ability to determine if footage does in fact need to be released in order to maintain public confidence, something they have the ability to do under current law.”

Under HB 972, body camera and dash camera footage would not be a public record. Law enforcement agencies would have the discretion to disclose footage to people who are recorded, but if the agency denies a request to disclose the footage, the recorded individual would have to bring a claim in court to attempt to obtain it. There would be no mechanism for law enforcement to release videos of public interest to the general public other than through a court order.

Dozens of law enforcement agencies in North Carolina are using or have plans to acquire police body cameras, but many lack policies that allow public access to the recordings.

mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Legislative News Mon, 27 Jun 2016 21:17:59 -0400
June 5: Meet Karen Anderson, New Executive Director of the ACLU-NC

The Board of Directors of the ACLU of North Carolina today announced that it has hired Karen Anderson as our organization's new Executive Director.

A passionate civil libertarian with a strong leadership background, Karen is joining us from New Hampshire, where she has spent the last 15 years as Director of Administration and Finance for the Office of the New Hampshire Public Defender. In that role, she had primary responsibility for all corporate, financial, and business matters, including strategic planning, human resources and more.

Karen is also no stranger to the ACLU: she currently serves as President of the Board of the ACLU of New Hampshire and previously served as that affiliate's representative on the National ACLU Board.

Karen will officially begin as Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina on July 25, but our members and supporters will have an opportunity to meet her in person at our annual membership meeting in just a few weeks. Please join us!

ACLU-NC Annual Membership Meeting
Introducing Executive Director Karen Anderson

Sunday, June 5, 3-4 p.m.
NC Advocates for Justice
1312 Annapolis Drive, Raleigh, NC 27608
RSVP today!

Karen's wide range of experience includes work as a human resources consultant in Denver, at various human resources positions at the University of Denver, and as a litigator with Gray & Hahn, PC. She previously worked in Rockford, Illinois, as Associate Director of Prarie Legal Services and in Washington, DC, as a litigation associate with Nixon, Hargraves, Devans & Doyle (now Nixon Peabody).

We are so pleased to have Karen join our dedicated and hardworking team in North Carolina.

Please join us in welcoming her to the new position on Sunday, June 5!

mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Uncategorized Mon, 23 May 2016 16:37:20 -0400
2016 Sharon Thompson Award Recipient: Southerners on New Ground

The ACLU of North Carolina's Liberty Awards on April 2 is our annual opportunity to recognize exemplary individuals and organizations for their work to promote civil liberties in North Carolina. We're so excited to announce that our first award recipient is Southerners on New Ground (SONG), who we'll present with the 2016 Sharon Thompson Award, for extraordinary efforts to advance equality for the LGBTQ community.

SONG is a regional queer liberation organization made up of people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, working class and rural and small town people, and LGBTQ people in the South.  The organization uses community organizing to build collective power, transform the South, and build freedom movements rooted in southern traditions. Its work strives to bring together marginalized communities to work toward justice and liberation for all people.

SONG has worked alongside the ACLU-NC on many campaigns for equality, and we're thrilled to present them with this year's Sharon Thompson Award.

We'll be announcing our other award recipients very soon. In the meantime, be sure to reserve your early bird ticket today (rate expires March 25) and join us for the 2016 Liberty Awards Dinner on Saturday, April 2!

2016 Liberty Awards Dinner: Protecting Democracy
Featuring the Annual Frank Porter Graham Award & keynote speaker Dale Ho, Director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project
Saturday, April 2 at 5 p.m.
William and Ida Friday Center
100 Friday Center Drive, Chapel Hill, NC
Reserve your early bird tickets today!



mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) LGBT Rights Thu, 28 Jan 2016 10:26:00 -0500