Sandy Chung, J.D., to lead statewide advocacy organization
PORTLAND, Ore.—The ACLU of Oregon announced today that Sandy Chung (she/her) has been selected as their next executive director to lead the organization's efforts to defend and advance civil rights and liberties across Oregon communities, after a nationwide search. She will join the organization in February.
"I was raised in Oregon and I am excited to join the ACLU of Oregon,” Chung said. “The last four years of the Trump administration exposed without any ambiguity that racial, social, and economic injustice are deeply entrenched throughout our state and country. For our BIPOC communities, systemic racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression were always there regardless of who was in the White House. The ACLU of Oregon stands with the Black Lives Matter movement and our BIPOC communities to state, unequivocally: Enough.”
Racial, social, and economic justice–and the inherent dignity of every individual and community–are core values for Chung. Her organizing and legal activism includes worker’s rights campaigns especially those involving BIPOC, immigrant, and farmworker communities, representation of minors in immigration proceedings, and domestic and sexual violence prevention and advocacy. She has also volunteered with the ACLU of Oregon as a legal observer, documenting police brutality against protesters and other threats to free speech.
Lamar Wise, ACLU of Oregon board member and co-chair of the executive search committee, said staff and board members are excited to have Chung join the ACLU team. “Throughout her career, Sandy Chung has shown leadership and courage. We believe she will move the ACLU of Oregon forward with a new vision that is foundationally anti-racist and community centered.”
Chung previously was the vice president for human resources and Title IX coordinator at the University of Portland, where she led the university’s efforts in the areas of civil rights, equity, and sexual assault. Chung is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College, cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, a member of the Oregon and California bar associations, and a board member with Volunteers of America Oregon.
Chung and her family are immigrants from South Korea, who came to the United States after an estimated 2,000 pro-democracy activists were killed by South Korean government troops in Gwangju, the hometown of Chung’s father. In the 1980s, she and her family lived in Northeast Portland and ran Alameda Cleaners on Alberta Street before the area was changed by gentrification.
“Like many immigrants, my family had hardships while building our lives in the United States,” said Chung. “However, we found a home and community of care on Alberta Street. As Executive Director of the ACLU of Oregon, I am excited to support communities of care across Oregon.”
Chung is a graduate of Sunset High School and was a Presidential Scholar who represented the state of Oregon. After college and law school at Harvard, Chung was a judicial clerk for the Honorable Judith N. Keep, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California and then worked as a trial attorney in Los Angeles. Sandy’s professional experience also includes work with community-based violence reduction efforts in BIPOC communities through the Los Angeles mayor’s office, as well as administrative leadership work at Santa Monica Community College and Stanford University.
The ACLU of Oregon is an affiliate of the national ACLU which has affiliates in 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The ACLU of Oregon is a nonpartisan, membership organization with 28,415 members statewide. The organization works in the courts, in the legislature, and in communities to defend and advance the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. Chung will become the fifth executive director, and first attorney, to lead the 65-year-old organization.
Photos of Sandy Chung, credit Doug Brown/ACLU of Oregon, are available online at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/l346mqsczy12hu7/AADbAoqgM6yrclH-Si44JxCra?dl=0