LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The ACLU of Kentucky today announced Amber Duke as the next Executive Director for the organization. The announcement comes after ACLU-KY Board members performed an extensive nationwide search.
Duke is a trusted civil rights leader who was inspired by John Lewis at a young age. She has spent her professional career finding ways to get into “good trouble,” by shining a light on systemic inequalities that disproportionally impact Black and other marginalized people.
“The Board has worked closely with Amber over the last 16 months of her tenure as interim executive director,” said Omar Salinas Chacón, ACLU of Kentucky Board president. “We are confident she will continue to lead the organization with integrity and passion for the mission.”
For over 10 years Duke has dedicated her work to the ACLU, serving as a key leader in the organization’s growth and visibility. During her tenure, she has worked as the organization’s first communications director, first deputy director, and is the first Black woman to lead the ACLU of Kentucky in its 67-year history. In each of these positions, she has worked to bring ACLU values to life through clear communication, transparent decision-making, and partnership with community stakeholders.
As interim executive director, she spent 16 months working to reshape the organization’s finances to meet ever-changing needs and address inflation. She directed the ACLU of Kentucky’s successful work within the Protect Kentucky Access coalition to defeat an anti-abortion amendment; and spearheaded the creation of Community Stakeholders to End Deaths at LMDC, a coalition campaign to address the ongoing jail death crisis among incarcerated people at Louisville Metro Department of Corrections.
“The ACLU of Kentucky’s work is more important than ever as we face unprecedented attacks on civil rights and civil liberties here in Kentucky and across our country,” Duke said. “The commonwealth needs a strong ACLU and I am honored to lead the organization at this time in its history.”
Prior to joining the ACLU of Kentucky in 2012, Duke worked as program director for the University of Louisville’s Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research and as a news producer at WLKY-TV. She earned a Master of Arts from the University of Louisville’s Pan African Studies Department, where she focused on the history of Black, female journalists. She also earned a Graduate Certificate in Public History from the University of Louisville’s History Department. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from New York University.
Duke is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions for her work including inclusion in the inaugural class of the Kentucky Gazette’s Notable Women in Kentucky Politics in 2019.
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky is freedom's watchdog, working daily in the courts, legislature and communities to defend individual rights and personal freedoms. For additional information, visit our website at: www.aclu-ky.org.