The first person of color to lead America’s premiere civil rights and civil liberties organization in its over 100-year history, Deborah Archer is a leading civil rights and civil liberties advocate, civil rights lawyer, professor, writer and commentator. Her talks explore the intersection of race, civil liberties and the law, challenging audiences to confront America’s legacy of racism and injustice. She also helps audiences understand how systemic racism impacts all aspects of American life, from our workplaces and campuses to transportation, education, housing, economic opportunity, criminal law and more.
In addition to serving as the eighth President of the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”), Archer is Professor of Clinical Law at the New York University School of Law, and Faculty Director of the Law School’s Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law. Previously, she was an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the ACLU, where she litigated in the areas of voting rights, employment discrimination, and school desegregation. Archer was also a member of the faculty at New York Law School and an associate at the international law firm, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. On two separate occasions, she chaired the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, the nation’s oldest and largest police oversight agency. Archer’s articles have appeared in leading law journals and she has been recognized by the New York Law Journal as one of New York’s Top Women in Law, Archer regularly appears in print and on television to comment on critical political and policy issues. She is a graduate of Yale Law school, where she was awarded the Charles G. Albom Prize, and Smith College.
The daughter of Jamaican immigrants, Archer’s commitment to civil rights and civil liberties grew from her family’s personal experience confronting racism, classism and anti-immigrant sentiment in her native Connecticut. Her moving talks bring that passion and purpose to every audience, inspiring us to not only understand the nature of systemic injustice—but to do the work of overcoming it.