By Jenny Glass
Director of Advocacy
I feel a tremendous sense of excitement and gratitude as I join the ACLU of Virginia as its first-ever Director of Advocacy.
Just writing that sentence gives me goosebumps. For as long as I can remember, it has been a dream of mine to work for the ACLU. In fact, I still have the cover letter I wrote years ago just hoping to get a chance to intern with the fabulous team I can now call co-workers. To say that I am humbled to have the opportunity I do now would be an understatement.
I have spent nearly every waking moment of the last six years working to elect candidates I believe in, celebrating victories, and learning from defeats. I’ve gained the right to get married and I’ve defended my mother’s access to healthcare. My hope is that I can keep making progress with the ACLU and design an integrated advocacy program that takes advantage of the momentum we have right now. The ACLU has always been a beacon for me in uncertain times - representing the voiceless and lending unshakable objectivity to our most fundamental freedoms.
When I was thinking about how to best describe the experiences that have brought me to this point, I started writing out a list of all the jobs that I’ve had, what they taught me, and why that will make me successful now. I wrote about working at Petsmart every summer in college and finally discovering the magic of organizing during Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. I wrote about heading up my first field program for U.S. Rep. Don Beyer and moving to Iowa to help try to elect the first female president.
It didn’t feel like it really captured who I was though. I’m an organizer at heart but my life has really been about my relationships. I looked up and noticed my refrigerator (bear with me here). It’s covered in letters, funny Office magnets, a playbill from a show I took my fiance Elise to last Spring. I thought - this is me in a nutshell - these are my experiences, the things I value. My fridge has captured a six-year journey better than any resume can. I hope you feel the same.
Right now the following items can be found on my fridge:
- Two signed letters from Hillary Clinton encouraging me to never give up and keep going - one is mine and one is Elise’s;
- A photo booth picture set featuring myself and Elise at the wedding of a dear friend. We trade a tiny cowboy hat back and forth. Finger guns are present as well;
- A tattered letter from my first volunteer in Iowa, Doug, detailing how important the campaign was to him and how much he loved volunteering. The corner, lovingly chewed to bits by my eight-pound dog Miss Liddy;
- A handwritten work certificate of appreciation for Elise, noting her for being a “wind in the willows kind of gal”;
- A picture of me and Hillary backstage after an October speech in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I’m beaming;
- A thank you card from Ralph and Pam Northam from the Inauguration;
- Three event staff credentials dangling from a struggling magnet - one from the 2017 primary, one from the general, and one from the inauguration;
- A business card for a meditation teacher;
- An old birthday card commemorating my ninja warrior training course run.
- A coupon for an oil change and reminder to get my car fixed, and;
- A fortune that reads, “You and your wife will be happy in your life together.”
I look forward to joining the ACLU of Virginia team and getting started. I hope to take the lessons I’ve learned through planning and driving field programs and apply them to the immense network of ACLU-VA members to create campaigns that affect real lasting policy change for Virginians.
I cannot wait to get on the ground and define success in this new role. If it happened to add a newspaper clipping to my fridge that reads, “Right to Vote Amendment Passes,” in late 2020 that would be very acceptable.