Anthony D. Romero is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He took the helm of the organization just seven days before the September 11, 2001 attacks, and subsequently led the ACLU in its campaigns to protect basic freedoms during a time of crisis, as well as its joint project to assist the under-resourced military defense lawyers in the Guantanamo military commissions. An attorney with a history of public-interest activism, Romero has expanded the ACLU’s nationwide litigation, lobbying, and public education efforts, including new initiatives focused on human rights, racial justice, religious freedom, technology and privacy, reproductive freedom, criminal law reform, and LGBT rights.
Romero is the first Latino and openly gay man to serve as executive director at the ACLU. In 2005, Romero was named one of Time magazine’s 25 most influential Hispanics in America, and has received dozens of public service awards and an honorary doctorate from the City University of New York School of Law. Before joining the ACLU, Romero was the Ford Foundation’s director of human rights and international cooperation.
Born in New York City to parents who hailed from Puerto Rico, Romero was the first in his family to graduate from high school. He holds a JD from Stanford University Law School and a BA from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs. He is a member of the New York Bar Association and has sat on numerous nonprofit boards.