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Anthony Romero ’87: Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union

<h5>Anthony Romero ’87 gesticulates during his speech accepting the Woodrow Wilson Award.</h5>
<h6>Office of Communications</h6>
Anthony Romero ’87 gesticulates during his speech accepting the Woodrow Wilson Award.
Office of Communications

Since 2001, Anthony Romero has served as executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), one of the nation’s most prominent civil rights advocacy groups. He is the first Latino and first gay man to hold the position. 

Donald Trump’s presidency has repeatedly put the ACLU in the national spotlight. Last year, Romero told The Daily Princetonian, “In the first two years of Donald Trump, the membership grew from 400,000 to 1.875 million.” The ACLU has filed hundreds of suits against the Trump administration, and the group won a stay against the White House’s so-called “Muslim ban.”


The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks took place a week after Romero assumed the ACLU’s helm. In response to the Patriot Act, Romero helped the ACLU establish its National Security Project. Under Romero’s leadership, the ACLU also launched its Human Rights Program in 2004 and People Power, a grassroots advocacy platform, in 2017.

In February, Romero received the Woodrow Wilson Award, which honors alumni who exemplify the phrase “Princeton in the nation’s service.” When accepting the award, Romero said, “There’s a good chance that Woodrow Wilson is right now spinning in his grave like an Olympic figure skater, as an award in his name is bestowed on the executive director of an organization literally established to oppose the xenophobic, anti-immigrant, flagrantly unconstitutional Palmer Raids that he oversaw and engineered.”

Romero graduated with an A.B. from the School of Public and International Affairs.

Read our full interview with Anthony Romero here.