Getting to know your Heroes: ACLU of PA

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Annually, The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund puts together a fantastic brunch at Hotel Monaco to honor individuals whose work and leadership advance the rights of the LGBT community called HEROES. Through the nomination process the DVLF seeks to identify youth, adults, non-profits, straight-allies & businesses who have bold ideas, act with selfless intention, are admired for their integrity, and are regarded as courageous in advancing the equality of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, & transgender community in the Delaware Valley and beyond. HEROES started 8 years ago as a way to honor these individuals annually in celebration of their character & in encouragement of others to act heroically. This year the nominees are Gloria Casarez, Ian Morrison, Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel, Micah Rodriquez, ACLU-PA, and West Laurel Hill. I wanted to know more about the nominees, and tried to reach out to the ones I could make connections with. I was fortunate enough to speak with Reginald T. Shuford, Esq. the Executive Director at ACLU of Pennsylvania.

Did you know about the Heroes event before your nomination?

I did know. I attended last year’s event.

Can you tell me a little bit more about yourself / your organization?

The ACLU of Pennsylvania protects the civil liberties and rights of all Pennsylvanians. Our work is done in the courts and the legislature, as well as through community outreach, mobilization and public education. Our core issues include working to end mass incarceration, protecting privacy and free speech, ensuring the right to vote for every citizen, preserving a woman’s right to choose, helping to reform a broken immigration system, and achieving full and formal equality for members of the LGBTQ community.

I have been executive director of the ACLU-PA for 3.5 years. I spent 15 years working at the national ACLU in New York City as a litigator mostly in the area of racial justice.

Are nominees made aware of why they were nominated prior to the event?

Yes, I was asked if we would accept the award, and I enthusiastically accepted on behalf of the ACLU-PA!

How does it feel how it feels to be a part of such a momentous decision for lgbtq people.

It feels amazing! The true heroes are our clients and others who stood up for their rights and thousands of others. Being able to help someone marry the person he or she loves and to ensure all families are treated fairly and equally is truly humbling. It is the biggest honor we could ever hope for.

What inspires you to be a “Hero?”

I am not a hero. I am privileged to do the work I feel called to do, with talented and committed colleagues, at an organization whose mission is to fight for equality and justice for everyone.

Anything else you want to use this moment to say / announce?

The historic advances in the LGBTQ community over the past few years gives much cause for celebration. The quickness with which marriage equality is happening is astonishing. But more work remains to be done. Until you can no longer be fired or denied housing or service in a place of public accommodation because of your sexual orientation, the fight is not over. The ACLU-PA will continue working until full and formal equality for LGBTQ people is achieved.


Sun, April 12, 2015
11:30am – 2:00pm
Hotel Palomar Philadelphia [117 S. 17th St, Philadelphia, PA]
Sponsored by: Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF)

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