Longtime ACLU of Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg to Step Down

Nationwide Search to Be Conducted for Successor

March 25, 2022

Lindsay Kee, 615-320-7142

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After more than 37 years as executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, Hedy Weinberg announced today that she is stepping down at the end of June.

“On behalf of the board of directors and the staff, I want to acknowledge what a tremendous impact Hedy has had on the state of Tennessee and how much she will be missed,” said ACLU of Tennessee Board Chair Paula Williams. “Under her vision and steady leadership, this organization has grown into a strategic, strong, multi-faceted powerhouse that never backs down from a challenge and always moves us ahead in the fight for justice and equity.”

Weinberg was named ACLU of Tennessee executive director in 1984 and was tasked with relocating the state headquarters to Nashville after the organization’s board voted to focus more on legislative work. Under Weinberg’s leadership, the organization grew from two to twelve staff, added several departments, expanded its geographic footprint, grew in financial strength, and expanded its base to over 80 thousand subscribers and followers, and 11 thousand members and counting.

“ACLU Founder Roger Baldwin spoke often about 'traveling hopefully' in his pursuit of justice and equality. In my years here, I have certainly seen – and fought vigorously against – discrimination and attacks on the most marginalized among us – from people of color to people with limited incomes, to immigrants and refugees, to transgender children. But the work of the ACLU is work of hope – hope that America can live up to its promise to be a more just and equal place,” said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU of Tennessee executive director. “And so, as I turn to my next chapter, what I will carry most with me is – like Roger Baldwin – a sense of continued optimism. This optimism is rooted in the knowledge that so many – from our awesome staff and board to our courageous clients, to our dedicated members and volunteers, to our generous donors, to our inspiring partner organizations and activists across the state who value equity and fairness for all people – continue to carry the torch and fight on.”

During Weinberg’s tenure, the ACLU of Tennessee became Tennessee’s leading statewide organization in the fight for civil liberties and civil rights. Pivotal moments include:

  • Leading the opposition to the privatization of the Tennessee prison system, in partnership with AFSCME (1985).
  • Spearheading the successful defeat of legislation to chill the teaching of evolution in public schools (1993).
  • Challenging the state abortion statute and establishing a Tennessee constitutional right to privacy (2000).
  • Launching an anti-racial profiling campaign that resulted in data collection by law enforcement agencies (2001).
  • Filing a series of successful lawsuits to stop religious activities in public schools and remove the Ten Commandments posted in local courthouses (2002-2020).
  • Leading a legislative campaign to establish “sexual orientation” as a protected category in state law for the first time in Tennessee (2003).
  • Launching a multi-faceted campaign challenging financial requirements as a prerequisite to voter restoration for individuals with felony convictions (2006-2008).
  • Challenging Tennessee’s “Marriage Protection Amendment” defining marriage as between a man and a woman (2006).
  • Successfully suing on behalf of high school students to stop Knox and Davidson County public schools from using filters to block websites containing information about LGBTQ issues while allowing access to homophobic websites (2009).
  • Co-founding the “Nashville for All of Us” coalition, which led to the defeat of the city’s English-only ballot initiative (2009).
  • Mobilizing with members of the Muslim community to defeat anti-Muslim initiatives at the local and state levels, including defeating an Islamophobic “anti-sharia” bill (2011).
  • Securing a settlement in a lawsuit with ICE and Metro Nashville police, who had conducted an illegal warrantless raid on an apartment complex home to mostly Latino residents (2015).
  • Launching an online, bilingual “know your rights” resource center for immigrants (2015).
  • Proving in federal court that the Memphis police department violated ACLU-TN’s 1978 consent decree by, once again, spying on political protestors (2018).
  • Successfully challenging a law undermining voter registration (2019).
  • Blocking Tennessee’s sweeping abortion ban and medically unsound “abortion reversal” laws (2020).
  • Launching a community engagement, storytelling and public education campaign on rural bail practices (2021).
  • Challenging laws excluding transgender athletes from school teams and requiring businesses to post anti-trans restroom signs (2021).
  • Establishing a statewide transgender justice education and advocacy initiative (2022).

The board of directors plans a nationwide search for Weinberg’s successor.

The ACLU of Tennessee is a private, non-profit, non-partisan public interest organization dedicated to defending and advancing civil liberties and civil rights through advocacy, coalition-building, litigation, legislative lobbying, community mobilization and public education. The issues ACLU-TN works on include criminal legal reform, voting rights, LGBTQ equality and trans justice, free speech, education equity, reproductive rights, racial justice and more. For more information, visit www.aclu-tn.org/.