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ACLU Hawaiʻi Adds New Policy Director

January 8, 2019, 2:41 PM HST · Updated January 8, 2:41 PM
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Hawai‘i announced today that Mandy Fernandes will serve as their new policy director. This new position is part of the ACLU’s effort to expand their services throughout the state.

“I am honored and excited to return to the organization that has defended our constitutional freedoms here in Hawai‘i for over fifty years,” Fernandes said. “I went to law school because I was inspired by lawyers like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late Congresswoman Patsy T. Mink, who devoted their careers to defending the rights guaranteed to us by the US Constitution, and who fought tirelessly to tear down barriers to women’s full and equal enjoyment of those rights. Together with the ACLU of Hawai‘i team, and our amazing supporters, we’ll advocate to protect and expand civil rights for everyone.”

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Fernandes comes to the ACLU of Hawai‘i from the Hawai‘i Children’s Action Network (HCAN), a nonprofit organization that develops policy to address poverty throughout Hawaiʻi. At HCAN, Fernandes worked with social justice groups to push for policies like paid family leave and universal access to preschool. Fernandes, who graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center, serves on the boards for the Hawaiʻi LGBT Legal Association and PHOCUSED. Fernandes previously served as ACLU of Hawaii’s advocacy coordinator, working on privacy and technology, criminal law reform, police transparency, promoting LGBT rights, and to stop the criminalization of homelessness.

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“The defense and promotion of civil rights in a state like ours demands a vigilant presence in the legislature and the county councils and it requires activating people on every island to get involved,” ACLU of Hawai‘i executive director Joshua Wisch said. “I know that Mandy – with her passion for this work and expertise in moving a policy agenda directly and at the grassroots – will be a difference maker for the ACLU of Hawai’i. We’re excited that she is rejoining our team.”

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