The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota has named its new officers, including its first woman of color to serve as board chairperson.
Attorney Lariss Maldonado, who joined the board in 2016, replaces attorney Nicole Moen in the role. Maldonado is a senior counsel in the banking industry, and has been recognized by the Hispanic National Bar Association as a Top Lawyer Under 40. She has a long history of legal volunteer work, including serving as president of the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association and chairing their Judicial Endorsements Committee, committed to improving diversity on the state and federal bench. She also serves on LifeSource’s Community Advisory Council, where her work focuses on community advocacy for organ donation.
“As the ACLU of Minnesota enters its 70th year as an organization, I am honored to be the first Latina to chair this board,” Maldonado said. “Having grown up in a Latino community near the Mexican border, having survived violence, sleeping on the streets and hunger, and being empowered by having had an abortion, I believe I bring a perspective that represents many of the disenfranchised and marginalized members of the communities we serve.”
Maldonado says this perspective will help inform how she guides the organization and builds out the structures needed to ensure a strong organization that can fight attacks on civil liberties for decades to come.
“Every board member is motivated by the ACLU-MN's mission to take a stand in the face of civil liberties abuses and to fight for everyone's rights,” she added. “As the chief defenders of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the ACLU could not achieve this mission without the strength of our members, the talent and commitment of our staff, and the support of our generous donors.”
The new officers started serving their terms Saturday at ACLU-MN's Annual Meeting. Other ACLU-MN board officers include: Vice Chair Jeffrey Holland, Treasurer Jean Holloway and Secretary Steven Miles. Equity Officer Kim Ferguson will also serve as the national ACLU affiliate representative.
On the ACLU Foundation Board, Karla Robertson remains as chair, while Dr. Miles becomes vice chair/chair-elect. Jonathan Abram becomes secretary, and Holloway remains as treasurer.
The ACLU-MN offers its deep gratitude for the service of outgoing Chair Nicole Moen and Board Member Tim Griffin and affiliate representative Michele Goodwin.