ACLU-NCA StaffOctober 06, 2015
Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, Executive Director
Monica Hopkins-Maxwell became the Executive Director of the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital in 2014. Monica served as the Executive Director of the ACLU of Idaho since 2008 in which time she oversaw sweeping statewide victories, particularly in the areas of criminal justice reform, LGBTQ equality, immigrants’ rights and upholding the First Amendment.
Prior to joining the ACLU, Monica had a distinguished career in the nonprofit sector which included executive and development positions. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for Boise State University’s College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs and has been a recipient of numerous awards including the Idaho Business Review’s “Accomplished Under 40” and Women Making History Award. In 2008, she was a Rotary Group Study Exchange participant in Sri Lanka and in 2012-13, she was a Rockwood Leadership Institute Fellow for LGBTQ Advocacy.
Monica holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Social Science from Boise State University.
Arthur B. Spitzer, Legal Director
Arthur B. Spitzer was born in Brooklyn, which explains a lot. He was raised in Queens and graduated from Bayside High School, Cornell University, and Yale Law School. After clerking for Judge Walter K. Stapleton (then D. Del., now 3rd Cir.), he practiced for several years at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale) before assuming his current position on April Fool’s Day, 1980. He is a member of the American Law Institute and a Master at the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court. His dog’s name is Justice. He is not related to former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer.
Jennifer Wedekind, Staff Attorney and Special Projects Counsel
Jennifer Wedekind joined the ACLU-NCA staff in November 2012. Previously, she was a Litigation Fellow at the ACLU National Prison Project, where she litigated class action lawsuits challenging prison conditions. Her work there culminated with a U.S. District Court trial in Alabama challenging that state's mandatory segregation of all HIV-positive prisoners. During both her undergraduate and legal studies, Jennifer participated in investigative work in innocence projects, and her discovery of long-lost DNA evidence for a Maryland prisoner during the law school project led to a petition for DNA retesting. Prior to her legal career, Jennifer worked as a journalist in Washington, DC and taught English in Vietnam.
Jennifer received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and her law degree from Georgetown Law.
Seema Sadanandan, Criminal Justice Director
Seema Sadanandan is the Criminal Justice Director at ACLU-NCA. She joined the ACLU-NCA in 2013 and oversees legislative and advocacy efforts in criminal justice reform. Seema leads the organization’s efforts in combating discrimination and addressing other issues that have a disproportionate impact on communities of color, such as racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Prior to joining the ACLU, Seema was a documentary filmmaker and campaign strategist for social movements in the United States and abroad. She is a graduate of American University’s Washington College of Law and Tulane University.
Melanie E. Bates, Director of Policy & Communications
Melanie E. Bates joined the ACLU of the Nation's Capital in December 2014. Prior to joining the ACLU, she was the Legislative Director for Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells at the Council of the District of Columbia. Melanie was the 2014-2015 President of the Greater Washington Area Chapter, Women’s Lawyers Division, National Bar Association (GWAC). She also served on the National Bar Association’s Board of Governors. She is a volunteer with the Washington Center for Aging Services and the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program.
Melanie is a graduate of the D.C. Bar Leadership Academy and the New Leaders Council Institute (NLC), Washington, D.C. Chapter. She is a graduate of Hampton University and North Carolina Central University School of Law.
Brigid Slipka, Director of Philanthropy
Brigid Slipka joined the ACLU-NCA as the Director of Philanthropy in October, 2014. She had previously raised funds for the Smithsonian, California Institute of the Arts, and Yale University. A self-professed philanthropy nerd, Brigid has written extensively on the theory and practice of giving. She is a member of the Effective Altruists and serves on the board of GiveWell. Brigid received her BA from Kenyon College and has an MFA and an MBA from Yale.
Wing Li, Office Manager
Wing Li joined the ACLU-NCA in June 2015. Previously, she was the Chief Financial Officer and Resources Development Director for DC Law Students in Court, a legal aid services and clinical education organization. She oversaw all aspects of DC Law Students in Court's annual budget, and was also responsible for overseeing operations, recruiting and managing nonlegal staff, planning and executing annual fundraising campaigns, and managing donor relations.