ANNAPOLIS, MD – In recognition of her strong leadership, proven advocacy record, and commitment to centering race equity in public policy work, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland is proud to announce that Yanet Amanuel has been appointed Director of Public Policy for the ACLU of Maryland. Amanuel served as interim policy director for the ACLU during the 2022 General Assembly session, during which she worked successfully with partners to include a Community Repair and Reinvestment fund as part of legislation to legalize marijuana, which will bring tax revenues from the industry directly to communities impacted by the “war on drugs,” and to pass the Child Interrogation Protection Act, an important policy idea she brought to Maryland advocates in 2019.
“It is a pleasure for me to announce the promotion of Yanet Amanuel to Director of Public Policy,” said Dana Vickers Shelley, Executive Director of the ACLU of Maryland. “Since joining the ACLU as a Policy Advocate in 2019, and through two stints as Interim Director, Yanet has demonstrated leadership and effectiveness while lobbying for our priorities in Annapolis and vigorously uplifting the experiences of families and community advocates who have experienced the worst failings of Maryland’s public systems. Yanet’s laser focus on racial equity and justice have been instrumental to the guidance and support she has provided to the impactful work of the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability over the past two years.”
Yanet Amanuel began her advocacy career as a student at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she received her B.A. in Sociology. She continued to pursue her passion for advocacy and organizing in several roles, including as Chief of Staff for a Prince George’s County delegate, Region 7 (Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) Adult Representative on the NAACP National Youth Works Committee, Young Adult Chair of the Prince George’s County NAACP and as a Policy Advocate at Job Opportunities Task Force. Most recently, Yanet co-led the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability and led the ACLU’s legislative advocacy efforts to repeal the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, reform the Maryland Public Information Act to allow public discourse on police misconduct records, and remove the Governor from the parole process for Marylanders serving life with parole sentences.
“The ACLU of Maryland is growing in our race-equity centered advocacy and I am excited to continue that work,” said Yanet Amanuel, Public Policy Director for the ACLU of Maryland. “We are committed to a standard of advocacy that measures success by how a piece of legislation is going to improve the material conditions of Black and oppressed communities. That is why we are intentional about meeting directly with people who are impacted by injustice, why we center their demands in policy decisions, and why we must make Annapolis more accessible to them. I have seen this is how we can achieve real change.”
In the Maryland General Assembly, the ACLU of Maryland advocates for a broad range of rights – including access to justice, legal justice reform, election fairness, and voting rights, freedom of expression, government transparency, police accountability, rights of people who are incarcerated, public school students' right to education, equal protection, privacy, racial justice, due process, religious liberty, and LGBTQ+ and reproductive rights.
Learn more about the ACLU of Maryland’s Public Policy Program.