Amol Sinha, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union-New Jersey is being honored with the Public Interest Achievement Award from the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA-NA) “for his exemplary work in advancing racial justice, fostering and uplifting community, and holding institutions accountable.”Sinha is being recognized at the SABA 2023 Annual Conference: The Next Revolution taking place in Boston from Thursday, July 20 to Saturday, July 22. SABA-NA evaluates candidates based on factors such as innovative models of practice and representation, contributions to the public interest legal field, and advocacy for underprivileged, disenfranchised, or under-represented groups, a press release from ACLU-NJ said.
As the one of the first South Asian executive directors of an ACLU affiliate, Sinha has led the ACLU-NJ to significant growth, the organization said. Throughout his tenure, the ACLU-NJ has appeared before the New Jersey Supreme Court more frequently than any non-governmental party, deepened community partnerships across the state, and centered the experiences of directly impacted communities, it added.
Sinha is credited with bringing “transformational change” to New Jersey’s civil rights landscape, particularly in its efforts to lead on decarcerating the state’s prison system and efforts to expand affordability and access to healthcare, including abortion. The ACLU-NJ says highlights of Sinha’s career at the organization include developing litigation and legislation that led to the early release of over 6,000 people from the state’s prisons and jails; leading the successful fight to legalize cannabis through a racial justice lens; and passing legislation to ensure driver’s licenses for all, regardless of immigration status.
“It is such an honor to be recognized by SABA and my peers for the work we are doing at the ACLU-NJ,” Sinha is quoted saying in the press release. “Being a public interest lawyer has been rich and rewarding and has allowed me to live my values while having an impact for all communities, including South Asians,” he added.
Sinha went further to say, “Our communities experience both privilege and oppression, and the full range of civil rights challenges. This award is particularly meaningful as New Jersey has one of the largest populations of South Asians in the country. I see it as part of my responsibility to make sure our communities are visible and that our power is felt.”
SABA praises Sinha’s dedication to promoting racial equity, and fighting for civil rights and liberties.
“We are thrilled to award this year’s Public Interest Achievement Award to Amol Sinha,” said SABA North America Executive Director Mona Shah. “His years of service and dedication to public interest efforts, the community, and to rectifying injustices are an inspiration and example to us all. It is at the ACLU-NJ that he has been able to execute on a transformative vision of the future and it is the combination of all this hard work that has led to his selection as SABA’s Public Interest Award recipient.”
New Jersey is a better, fairer, and more just state because of Amol Sinha,” said Gurbir S. Grewal, former Attorney General of New Jersey. “His principled leadership, trustworthiness, and commitment to serving the public make him a reliable partner with immeasurable impact. He is an honest broker, a thoughtful collaborator, and a worthy adversary,” Grewal added.
“Even in the most challenging times, Amol remains undeterred in the fight for justice and is a model for what it means to be a public interest lawyer. There is no one more deserving of this recognition,” Grewal said.
Before joining the ACLU-NJ in 2017, Sinha was a state policy advocate at the Innocence Project, where he worked to address wrongful convictions. From 2010-2015, he was the director of the Suffolk County Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, where he focused primarily on criminal justice and immigrants’ rights.
He holds a BA from New York University and a JD from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.