Alessandra Soler came to the ACLU of Arizona as Executive Director in February 2006. She has over 19 years of ACLU experience, and is the first Latina to head the ACLU in Arizona. Under her leadership, the ACLU of Arizona has grown from a staff of 4 in 2006 to now 22, including five full-time attorneys, three communications strategists and a new organizing and advocacy department with seven full-time staff. Through litigation, the ACLU of Arizona has secured important legal victories on behalf of members of the LGBT community, incarcerated individuals, and immigrants, including ending discriminatory racial profiling practices by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in a historic lawsuit that led to his criminal contempt charges and will dramatically revamp policies and practices within the embattled agency. Most recently, the ACLU of Arizona has engaged in numerous successful advocacy efforts limiting enforcement of Arizona's notorious racial profiling law SB1070 in communities and schools, and is working to leverage the wins in the Arpaio litigation to improve police-community relations in cities across the state.
Under Alessandra's leadership, the ACLU of Arizona also is tackling criminal justice reform issues, working to build bi-partisan support for changes in Arizona's byzantine sentencing scheme, and improving medical and mental health care for 33,000 inmates in ADC custody. The organization also is working to reduce suspensions and expulsions in school through its #Demand2Learn campaign.
Alessandra previously served as Communications Director of the ACLU's fifth largest affiliate in Florida, where she was responsible for spearheading statewide public education campaigns on the USA Patriot Act and racial profiling post 9-11. Prior to her work in Florida, Alessandra worked at the ACLU of Louisiana, coordinating advocacy efforts in New Orleans to combat police misconduct, improve prison conditions and keep school-sponsored prayer out of public schools. Before joining the ACLU, Alessandra worked as a reporter for The Miami Herald, where she covered local government, business, crime and education. She also worked for a brief period at the Roanoke Times in Virginia. Alessandra, who is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, is the proud mother of a 13-year-old boy and 10-year-old identical twin girls. She recently graduated with an MBA from the University of Arizona's Eller College of Management and received her bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Florida.