ACLU Hires Seasoned Organizer to Build People Power in San Diego

February 29, 2012 12:00 am

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Former Justice Overcoming Boundaries Executive Director Joins the San Diego ACLU

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SAN DIEGO - The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties is pleased to announce the hiring of Norma Chavez-Peterson as our new Community Engagement and Organizing Director. In this senior staff position, Chavez-Peterson will lead the San Diego ACLU’s efforts to mobilize the community and ACLU membership to fight for equal protection for all people under the law.

“I am thrilled that the San Diego ACLU is able to join forces with Norma to bring greater fairness and justice to this region,” said Kevin Keenan, executive director of the San Diego ACLU. “She brings a wealth of experience, energy, and passion to our organization. We have a commitment to building San Diego’s people power, and Norma will be a key factor in that drive.”

Chavez-Peterson has been an integral part of San Diego’s progressive organizing community for some time, including, for the past seven years, as a founder and the director of Justice Overcoming Boundaries (JOB), an affiliate of the national Gamaliel Foundation. JOB is a network of faith, community, education, business, and labor partners working together to advance social justice in San Diego. Under her leadership, JOB played a lead role in many important mobilization efforts, including massive protests in favor of immigrants in 2006, naturalization drives, voter registration, voter education, and get out the vote campaigns.

During the San Diego wildfires in 2007, Chavez-Peterson and JOB helped mobilize dozens of volunteers to translate and advocate for immigrants and people of color at the Qualcomm and Del Mar Fairgrounds evacuation centers in response to numerous reports of discriminatory treatment. The documentation of abuses was summarized in a report issued by the ACLU, JOB, and the Immigrants’ Rights Consortium ten days after the fires began, which in turn led to other ground-breaking advocacy.

Prior to JOB, Chavez-Peterson held a variety of positions promoting affordable housing and community economic development at the MAAC Project over the course of seven years. She currently serves on the MAAC Project Board of Directors. She started as an activist and agent of change at the age of fifteen when she created a M.E.Ch.A. chapter at her junior high school, and then at numerous schools thereafter. She has been an activist, leader, and mentor ever since. Chavez-Peterson received her Bachelor’s Degree from San Diego State University in Political Science and Chicano/a Studies.

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