Carol Golden, native New Jerseyan and ACLU supporter. 

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. 

A lifelong New Jerseyan, Carol Golden has supported our work for decades – and doesn’t remember a time before she knew about the ACLU’s mission. After seeing her parents’ commitment to civil service, she followed their example and has dedicated her life to advancing causes she cares about. We sat down with Carol to hear more about her point of view on the history – and future – of civil rights advocacy.  

ACLU of New Jersey: The mission to expand and protect civil rights and liberties is personal for all New Jerseyans, can you tell us more about your background?   

Carol Golden: I'm a native New Jerseyan; I was born in Trenton and moved to the suburbs (Lawrence Township) when I was six years old. My parents were first generation Americans who were able to achieve "the American Dream." They both graduated from Trenton High School and went on to become a lawyer and judge (father) and high school teacher (mother). As civil servants, both of my parents showed a deep concern for their community and played active roles in trying to improve the lives of the folks in it. I think I learned from them to respect everyone, treat everyone fairly, and that we are all responsible to and for each other.  

ACLU-NJ: You've been a loyal supporter of our work. Can you share more about how you first got involved with the ACLU-NJ?  

CG: I've been a supporter since 1995, and to be honest, I don't really remember a time when I was not supportive of the work of the ACLU. I first learned of the work of the ACLU as a law student in the 1980s when I learned about the Skokie case, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the right of the National Socialist Party of America, represented by the ACLU, to march in the town of Skokie on First Amendment grounds. As a Jewish American, I remember briefly feeling some conflict about the advocacy the ACLU provided, but I quickly understood the value of an organization that will protect constitutional rights, even when it's unpopular and difficult. 

ACLU-NJ: The ACLU-NJ has dedicated decades to building a more perfect New Jersey, what specific areas of our work interest you most?   

CG: I am specifically interested in the work the ACLU-NJ does on reproductive rights, freedom and equity, criminal legal system reform (particularly bail reform), immigrants’ rights, and racial justice. 

ACLU-NJ: Our work is only possible with the help of our members. Can you tell us more about what motivates your support and why you would encourage other people to join us?  

CG: I have been so impressed by every person I've gotten to know at the ACLU-NJ over the years. The lawyers who use the court system to protect New Jerseyans' rights are top-notch. The thought that goes into their work is thorough and impassioned. The ACLU-NJ is protecting our most vulnerable fellow New Jerseyans and working every day to address injustice.