ACLU-NJ’s New Executive Director is Amol Sinha, Jersey-Raised Civil Rights Advocate

Sinha, an attorney who directed state campaigns at the Innocence Project
and led NYCLU’s Suffolk County Chapter, will head NJ’s ACLU affiliate

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Contact:
Allison Peltzman, Communications Director, 973-854-1711 (office), 201-253-9403 (cell)
Keerthi Potluri, Communications Strategist, 973-854-1702

The ACLU-NJ today announced that Amol Sinha has been named as executive director. The Jersey City resident, who most recently led state advocacy campaigns to address wrongful convictions nationwide at the Innocence Project, will start on September 1.

He knows exactly what he’ll do in his first 100 days: a lot of listening.

“In the first few months, my plan is to travel across the state, listen to the needs of people here, meet with as many organizations, community groups, and people as possible, and make the ACLU completely accessible,” Sinha said. “I want people across the state to know that we’re here as a partner, to collaborate together to make New Jersey better and more welcoming than it already is.”

For Sinha, who grew up in Lawrenceville, taking the helm is a homecoming, not just to his home state, but to an organization that has always anchored him. Sinha’s first role as a newly minted lawyer – after interning for the national ACLU while a student at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law – was as director of the Suffolk County Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union. He said the job posting had an unforgettably fluid yet empowering description: “Be the face of the NYCLU.”

Approaching the responsibility with great pride, he transformed the Suffolk County Chapter into an advocacy powerhouse, making inroads with unexpected allies like the Suffolk County Police Department and Sheriff’s Office. The chapter, working with partners, convinced Suffolk County to stop honoring Obama-era immigration detainers – although that policy has been rolled back, a reminder that no battle for liberty stays won, no matter the administration. Under Sinha’s leadership, the chapter successfully defeated unconstitutional policing and surveillance schemes and investigated public schools that prohibited immigrant students from enrolling. The ACLU-NJ has done similar investigations of public schools and taken legal action as a result.

“The Board of Trustees is thrilled to welcome Amol Sinha to the ACLU-NJ family as our new Executive Director,” said ACLU-NJ Board President Deb Guston. “We expect Amol will bring both his passion for civil liberties, civil rights, and social justice, and his knowledge as a longtime New Jersey resident, to continue to move the ACLU-NJ forward.”

Sinha takes the helm at a time of significant growth for the ACLU-NJ, which recently added an immigrants’ rights attorney, staff attorney, and several legal fellows. The ACLU-NJ plans to fill the role of public policy director soon after Sinha starts as executive director, and the organization is currently accepting applications. (Read the policy director job posting, as well as other open positions, at www.aclu-nj.org/careers.) This growth coincides with new challenges in today’s social and political climate that call for greater vigilance.

“One quality of the ACLU I most admire is its inexhaustible capacity to remain principled, yet evolve to confront the ever-changing threats to our liberties, as we have seen this year,” Sinha said. “Crucially, the struggles for racial justice and the principles of free speech – both so fundamental to New Jersey communities – can be reconciled, and in this climate, they must. It may be complicated, but the ACLU does not shy away from complexity. We’re in it for the long haul.”

The ACLU-NJ role merges what Sinha described as his two passions: advocating for constitutional rights and New Jersey.

Sinha’s childhood in the Garden State was integral to his passion for civil rights. The son of Indian immigrants who came to America in the early 1970s, Sinha vividly recalls a persistent feeling that he couldn’t quite articulate. He has always been proud of his roots, but as with many first-generation Americans, struggled to find the right balance of identities. While finding comfort in New Jersey’s growing diversity, he witnessed interactions growing up that indicated some people viewed him and his family differently because of their immigrant South Asian roots. Such incidents often rolled off his parents’ backs. But for him, it was an introduction to larger injustices faced by many groups.

“The issues South Asian communities face are emblematic of civil rights issues – immigrants’ rights, racial justice, religious freedom, economic injustice, language access, gender-based discrimination, LGBT issues, and biased policing all impact South Asian communities in significant ways,” Sinha said.

“New Jersey has the largest proportion of South Asian residents of any state, so it’s meaningful for a member of that community to lead our state’s ACLU,” Sinha added. “But, I truly believe in unity and breaking barriers across communities. I want every community and every person in New Jersey to know they can call on the ACLU as a resource.”

Sinha is the first person of color to lead the ACLU-NJ and one of the first South Asian executive directors of an ACLU affiliate. Maya Harris, who led the ACLU of Northern California from 2006 to 2009, was the first person of South Asian descent to lead a state ACLU affiliate.

“Working for the ACLU never actually feels like work,” Sinha said. “It is truly a privilege to defend the rights of the people, and it aligns perfectly with my own principles and moral compass. I’m excited to come back home and have people across the state fall in love with the ACLU, just like I did.”

AABANY congratulates Amol Sinha, SABANY President-Elect, on this new position. We look forward to hearing great things from him as executive director of ACLU-NJ and we are pleased to be working with him as a leader of SABANY, one of our sister bar associations.

OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates’ Youth and College Track workshops on Thursday, July 21st and Friday, July 22nd at 2016 National Convention in Jersey City, NJ

Dear Friends,

OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates invites you to attend our Youth and College Track workshops on Thursday, July 21st and Friday, July 22nd at our 2016 National Convention in Jersey City, NJ. The free registration provides admission to all workshops, including free breakfast and lunch! Come join us to learn more about APA history, issues affecting the APA community, and what it means to be an advocate.

Students who attend on behalf of their student group will earn $20 per student who RSVPs and attends Convention (a minimum of 5 students must attend in order to get reimbursed).

Highlights from our Youth Track include:

Getting out of Your Comfort Zone – Participate in activities that will lead students to confidently step out of their own self-created boundaries.

Maximizing Your Time in High School – High school provides many opportunities to begin deepening your involvement in extracurricular activities and developing leadership skills, and this workshop will provide students with the tools to make the most of their time there.

High School to College Transition 101 – Whether it’s finding the money to pay for school or choosing the right college or major, this workshop will provide you the knowledge and resources to help ensure your transition is as smooth as possible.

College Success: What to Do When You Get There – This workshop will help students gain a better understanding of what to expect and how to set yourself up for success within your first year.

And highlights from our College Track include:

Joint MFHA Showcase of the Stars – Discover the multitude of APA career opportunities in the food and hospitality industry from industry professionals of diverse backgrounds.

APA History 101 – Dive into a discussion on APA history through a hands-on APA historic timeline activity. Explore the issues that affect us and what to do about them.

Ballin’ on a Budget – Don’t let financial pitfalls get in the way of your success! Learn to navigate around budget obstacles with our hands-on activity, and pay close attention – the most financially savvy team wins gift card prizes of up to $50!

Power and Privilege: Understanding a New Way Forward – Participate in an activity illustrating how power and privilege disparities shape our world, and gain the tools to combat it as you embark on your professional journey.

For more information regarding the convention, click here. To register for free, or to read more about the Youth and College Tracks, please see the attached flyers or visit the registration page bit.ly/OCAYTRACK for Youth Track and bit.ly/OCACollege16 for College Track. If you have any questions, please contact our Program Associate Monica Lee at MLee@ocanational.org or 202.223.5500 ext. 114.

Thank you for your time, we hope you can join us!

Niles Wilson

Program Intern

OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates

National Center

On June 26, 2014, the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of Jersey, Inc. (APALA-NJ) celebrated its 17th Annual Gala at the Liberty House Restaurant in Jersey City, NJ with the theme “Celebrating 30 Years: Building on Excellence." 

Congratulations to APALA-NJ’s Honorees: Aney K. Chandy (VP, Labor & Employment Counsel, Toys ‘R Us, Inc., Eric G. Fikry (Partner, Blank Rome, LLP), and Grace H. Park (Acting Union County Prosecutor, State of New Jersey). AABANY also extends congratulations to the 2014 recipients of the APALA-NJ/APALA-NJ Foundation scholarships.

AABANY looks forward to working with the 2014-2015 Executive Board and congratulate them on a successful gala:

President – Jhanice V. Domingo, Counsel, Einhorn Harris Ascher Barbarito & Frost, PC
President-Elect – Theodore K. Cheng, Partner, Fox Horan Camerini, LLP
Vice President – Rachit J. Choksi, Associate, Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader, LLC
Treasurer – Vik Jaitly, Associate, Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP
Secretary – Christine H. Kim, Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General