At the ACLU we offer this sentiment often: the Constitution is a declaration of promises. More than 200 years after the original thirteen states ratified the document that established our American experiment, that’s still all it is for many – a list of promises. While some are afforded the privileges outlined in the Constitution, too many are still fighting for their opportunity to enjoy those sacred guarantees.
I’ve been with the ACLU of Alaska for a decade. I started as a staff attorney, spent a year as the interim executive director, and was then given the privilege of dropping the “interim” from my title.
Now, ten years later, I write to say that I’ll be stepping down as the ACLU of Alaska’s executive director on Friday, September 3. I’m going to pursue a Ph.D. in political science, a decision inspired by the work the ACLU does with you to create, in the Constitution’s words, a “more perfect union.”
I marvel at the last decade. In solidarity with incredible people like you, the ACLU of Alaska successfully defended the panoply of the Bill of Rights, from religious freedom, to free speech, to the right of a person to choose whether they want to be a parent. With your help, we were able to make it easier and safer for Alaskans to vote, we reformed the criminal legal system, and we successfully defeated attacks on our very democracy. We stood up for Alaskans. With you, we made Anchorage and Juneau into cities where gay and transgender Alaskans can live their authentic lives without losing their jobs or homes, and together, we partnered to make Anchorage the first community in the country to defeat an anti-transgender ballot measure.
It’s been the honor of lifetime to work in solidarity with you to make the Constitution’s principled promises real. As I reflect on the victories of the last 10 years, I feel joyful, privileged, and proud.
During the next few months, the ACLU of Alaska’s Board of Directors will engage in a comprehensive search for our next executive director. In the meantime, our staff will ceaselessly continue the work because there is no stopping their dedication to the people of this state.
Democracy is a team sport. Our American experiment requires us, the Constitution’s “we the people,” to work together to form a more perfect union, establish justice, and secure the blessings of liberty. This wouldn’t be possible without you, so thank you for sticking with the ACLU and being on the Constitution’s team.
While I won’t be the executive director after September 3, I’ll still be an ACLU member and supporter, working in solidarity with you – because “we the people” are still working to realize the promises of the Alaska and U.S. Constitutions, and fulfilling those promises is the job of every person in this state and country.
It has been a pleasure to fight arm-in-arm with you. I’ll keep fighting the good fight, and I hope you will too.
Joshua A. Decker
ACLU of Alaska Executive Director