Anthony D. Romero is the sixth executive director of the 81-year-old American Civil Liberties Union. He became the first Latino and first openly gay man to take the helm of the nation's preeminent civil liberties organization when he started his new position in September 2001.
Born in New York City of immigrant parents from Puerto Rico, Romero was the first in his family to graduate from high school and college and to receive a graduate education.
Romero served as the Director of Human Rights and International Cooperation at the Ford Foundation, where he led the program through a period of extraordinary growth, transforming it into Ford's largest and most dynamic grant making unit. In 2000, Romero channeled approximately $90 million in grants to address issues related to civil rights, human rights and peace.
Before being appointed a Director at Ford, Romero served for nearly five years as the Foundation's Program Officer for Civil Rights and Racial Justice. He also worked for two years at the Rockefeller Foundation and led a Foundation review of future directions in civil rights advocacy. He is a graduate of Stanford University Law School and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs. Romero received Stanford's Dinkelspiel Scholarship for Public Interest, was a Cane Scholar at Princeton and was a National Hispanic Scholar at both institutions.
Romero sits on several not-for-profit boards, including serving as the Chairman of the Center of Disability and Advocacy Rights, and as Vice Chairman of the New World Foundation's Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the New York State Bar Association and Hispanics in Philanthropy. His previous volunteer experiences include serving as Vice Chairman of the White House Internship Advisory Committee and as Co-Chairman of the Funders' Committee for Citizen Participation.
Read a NEWSWEEK interview with Anthony Romero about the detaining of Arabs after September 11