The first Black ACLU President shares how discrimination fueled her legal career

In February, Deborah Archer became the President of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) — the non-profit organization committed to defending the rights of US citizens. Archer is the first Black President of of the ACLU, an accomplishment that she sees as a milestone.

"I think for many people this election is important because the role that the ACLU has played throughout history,” said Archer. “But a big part of me is still frustrated that in 2021 we're still tackling so many firsts for Black women and people of color."

When asked about the first time Archer experienced racism, she says, "far too young."

“I remember being eight or nine and waking up to find that someone had vandalized our home. They spray painted KKK on our house,” Archer told Yahoo Life. “It was a formative experience that really shaped the trajectory of my life."

Since 2016, the ACLU sued the Trump administration more than 400 times for injustices like the Muslim travel ban, reducing abortion access for women, and for using tear gas on protesters. In 2020, the fight for racial justice was reignited after the murder of George Floyd, and as protesters took to the streets, Archer immediately understood the weight they carried.

“I don’t think anyone could come out of this year where we have seen racial inequality and injustice laid bare in the way that we have, and not recognize that advancing racial justice has to be at the forefront of the work that we all do,” said Archer.