LOS ANGELES - The ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California today named Heather Carrigan as Chief Operating Officer.
In this newly created position, which reports directly to Executive Director Ramona Ripston, Carrigan will manage the day-to-day operations of both organizations, including the coordination of the work of departments and facilitation of policy and advocacy positions. Carrigan will also help the development of annual goals, long range plans and make changes to the current organizational structure to make the organization more effective as it grows.
'With the support of my tremendous staff, the ACLU of Southern California has been able to grow exponentially and better defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights especially during this time of unprecedented civil liberties and civil rights abuses,' Ripston said. 'Heather's keen judgment, strong leadership and comprehensive understanding of ACLU issues has made her a valued member of my management team for many years. As our new COO she will help make our organization even stronger."
Carrigan started with the ACLU/SC in 1997 as Special Policy Assistant to the Executive Director, where she researched and analyzed issues, prepared testimony, opinion pieces and speeches and represented the Executive Director before legislative bodies and in coalition meetings.
In 1999, Carrigan was promoted to Director of Public Policy, a position she has held until now. In this capacity, she oversaw the policy and field work of the organization, working on key campaigns such as legislation to combat racial profiling, expand domestic partner rights, curtail enforcement of the death penalty, create access to higher education for undocumented California graduates, and many more. And she served on Executive Committees of statewide ballot initiatives, including the successful Proposition 54 campaign defeating Ward Connerly's anti-affirmative action classification initiative, and the anti-choice Proposition 73.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my nine years of work at the ACLU of Southern California, the most progressive and effective ACLU in the country," said Carrigan. "The ACLU/SC's vision is what brought me here nine years ago and I am truly honored to have this opportunity to further that vision with Ramona and the Boards of Directors."
During her tenure as Policy Director, Carrigan grew the department from a staff of one to seven. With her very able staff she developed and designed a customized, open source database website and initiated the first affiliate web-based action alert system, which now has the largest number of ACLU e-activists in any state. Carrigan has also been responsible for overseeing the communications strategies for all litigation and non-litigation advocacy. She will continue to manage the media work of the organization in her new role.
Prior to coming to the ACLU/SC Carrigan worked as an advocate for the homeless and as a Policy Associate of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.