Our Strategic Framework

For over 60 years, the ACLU of New Jersey has defended liberty and justice guided by the vision of a fair and equitable New Jersey for all. Our mission is to preserve, advance, and extend the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every New Jerseyan by the state and federal constitutions in courts, in the legislature, and in our communities.  

In every facet of our work, we strive to be anti-racist and are actively committed to advancing racial justice in the institutions of New Jersey, for the people of New Jersey. We aim to center the voices and lived experiences of those who historically have not been fully protected by government systems or laws.   

Founded in 1960 and based in Newark, we are a non-partisan organization that operates on several fronts — political, legal, cultural — to bring about systemic change and build a more equitable society. 

OUR APPROACH

The ACLU of New Jersey adopted a strategic framework which informs every aspect of our work. As part of this framework, we identified our key principles to guide our strategy through 2027. These three principles serve as points of orientation for our growth, how we choose and prioritize our work, and the way we hold ourselves in relationship with each other and the people and communities of New Jersey: racial justice, partnered leadership, and organizational development. 

Our Key Principles

Racial Justice

As advocates paying attention to issues of equity and justice, we must each commit to individual, organizational, and community-focused learning and growth around racial justice. Racial justice is a lens through which we strive to examine every aspect of our organizational development, as well as in our outward-facing programmatic work and our fundraising and resource development. In our construction of internal systems, in our conversations, and in our culture, we will strengthen our racial equity muscle, and this will contribute to making our staff stronger, our community partnerships more effective and genuine, and our advocacy more equitable and just. 

Partnered Leadership

There is an overriding, guiding orientation that ties our vision, mission, and guiding principles together in our story of change: our relationship with the communities that are systematically denied their rights. Our work is grounded in partnership with our clients, impacted community members, and partners in advocacy on behalf of these groups. 

Organizational Development

The ACLU-NJ is committed to paying continuous attention to our governance and board development, our systems of hiring and retaining staff, and our ability to support staff in professional development and career growth. We are committed to growing our capacity in all aspects of management, prioritizing caring relationships and equity across identities, and strengthening our understanding of how oppressive power dynamics manifest in our organization and in our relationships with partners. 

HOW WE HOLD OURSELVES ACCOUNTABLE

We will hold ourselves accountable for living out our strategic values by monitoring and measuring progress, analyzing barriers to success, and shifting our course of action as needed. Individuals will hold themselves accountable, and be held accountable by their supervisors, to ensure that the vision, mission, and grounding principles of the ACLU-NJ are advanced across and throughout the organization. The Board will work to be inclusive, collaborative, and reflective of a range of stakeholders while providing the quality and degree of guidance needed to advance the organization.  

The work of fighting civil rights violations requires vigilance, responsiveness, and commitment from all staff. The ACLU-NJ understands that staff are affected by the intensity and pace of work and acknowledges the toll it may take. As a result, we aim to create an environment that prioritizes working in ways that are healthy, sustainable, and respectful of personal and professional priorities.  

In all decisions made by and for staff, we will aim to center practices of inclusion, participation, collaboration, clarity, and transparency to the extent possible in achieving our mission. These hallmarks of our decision-making practice reflect our values of equity and justice inside our workplace.