Udi Ofer is the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ). He is responsible for overseeing a 16-person staff and managing the organization’s legal, legislative, communications, public education, fundraising, and administrative operations and programs. With tens of thousands of members, supporters and activists across New Jersey, the ACLU-NJ is the Garden State’s largest civil liberties and civil rights organization.
Ofer became the Executive Director of the ACLU-NJ in February 2013, and under his leadership the organization has achieved historic victories. The ACLU-NJ co-founded an unprecedented campaign to win marriage equality for LGBT couples in New Jersey, took up the charge to reform the state’s broken bail system, exposed and challenged stop-and-frisk and other policing abuses in Newark, created one of the nation’s strongest police civilian review boards in Newark, launched a broad-based campaign to tax and regulate marijuana for adults, and protected immigrant communities from discrimination in education and policing.
The ACLU-NJ has also achieved tremendous growth under Ofer’s leadership, including the creation of a new Public Policy Department and an increase of annual revenue by 50 percent and staff size by 20 percent.
Prior to joining the ACLU-NJ, Ofer founded the Advocacy Department of the New York Civil Liberties Union and helped transform the organization’s work. He is best known for his work challenging the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices and spearheading the effort to pass legislation, known as the Community Safety Act, banning racial profiling by the NYPD and creating an NYPD Inspector General’s office. In 2004, the New York City Council honored his work for its outstanding service to the city and state.
Ofer has authored more than a dozen law review articles and reports, including in the Columbia Law School Journal of Race and Law, Fordham Law School Urban Law Journal, and New York Law School Law Review. He is a frequent commentator on civil liberties and civil rights issues in local and national media, including in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Star-Ledger, National Public Radio, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Washington Post.
Ofer began his legal career in 2001 as a Skadden Fellow at My Sisters’ Place, a domestic violence organization. From 2009-2012, he was as an adjunct professor at New York Law School. Ofer is a recipient of numerous awards, including a 2013 Presidential Grant from the Open Society Foundations, which chose Ofer as part of an inaugural 10-member cohort of new executive directors from around the world. Ofer is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law and the State University of New York at Buffalo. In 2007, Fordham Law School’s Stein Scholars Program presented Ofer with its Distinguished Graduate Award.