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Howard Simon steps back into his former role as Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida

Howard Simon, interim Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida
Mike Kiniry / WGCU
Howard Simon, interim Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida

Howard Simon has worked on civil rights issues throughout his life. He served as Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan from 1974 until 1997, and then led the ACLU of Florida from 2007 until 2018 when he stepped down as Executive Director. He’s actually the longest serving state director of ACLU affiliates in the organization’s 103-year history, with more than 44 years of experience in civil liberties work.

Now, he’s going to be added at least some time to that number because Howard is back at the helm of the ACLU of Florida, stepping in on an interim basis after its most recent Executive Director, Tiffani Lennon, resigned on August 21.

It’s been a tumultuous time within the ACLU of Florida in recent years, in some ways culminating in a lawsuit filed by seven now-former board members who were removed by the ACLU national office. In the lawsuit, the seven allege the ACLU has undergone "mission drift away from core civil liberties towards socio-economic justice" and were removed because they were pushing back.

The New York-based ACLU said it acted after an internal review found an “accelerating crisis” in the Florida affiliate caused by the “chronically dysfunctional” state board.

So, this is at least part of the landscape Howard Simon is stepping back into, as the ACLU of Florida continues its mission to "protect, defend, strengthen, and promote the constitutional rights and liberties of all people in Florida." He joins us to unpack what’s been happening, and what key issues and legislation they are focusing on right now.

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