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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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