Nithya Thiru headshot


Queer and Trans Justice Program Manager

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Nithya Thiru joined the ACLU team in 2023 with several years’ experience in human rights policy, advocacy, youth development, education, and community engagement. 

Born in Anchorage, and raised by parents who immigrated from Sri Lanka, their approach to organizing has been shaped by the intersection of their identities-- American and Tamil, queer and Asian. They earned their Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and their MPA in Human Rights and Gender Policy from Columbia University. 

Nithya is a skilled community organizer and grounds their work in a practice of centering historically marginalized voices. Their interest in advocacy work and justice was informed by their Tamil heritage and their family’s experience of escaping genocide. As a history student, they continued to explore the impacts of genocide and colonialism and sought to find real world solutions to these systemic issues.

In 2015, Nithya traveled to Sri Lanka and worked as a researcher for a local think tank where they built skills in policy analysis and supported local efforts for post-conflict reconciliation. Energized by this work, Nithya went on to support human rights initiatives in Myanmar aimed at protecting the rights of minorities, as well as reentry work in Detroit. In Alaska, they worked extensively in education and youth development as Executive Director of Story Works Alaska, where they supported youth in connecting with peers during a period of intense isolation at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Nithya is passionate about advocating for and protecting LGBTQIA2S+ rights, supporting youth, combatting systemic racism and fighting the criminalization of poverty. Outside of work, they can be found writing spooky stories over coffee, reading tarot, and playing outside.