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Civil Rights and Race Relations in America and Their Impact on the Lives of African Americans
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Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel
Kevin Keenan is the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of LDF after serving as the executive director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties for eights years.
During his time in San Diego, Mr. Keenan helped grow the ACLU affiliate’s size, community engagement, breadth of advocacy and effectiveness. During his tenure, the organization grew from seven staff members to twenty four, and the budget increased by 376 percent. Mr. Keenan aligned the organization around a vision of building power together with local San Diego communities and strategies that integrated communications, organizing, policy advocacy, and litigation.
Mr. Keenan helped create a statewide voting rights project that helped pass a state law to spur public service agencies to register applicants to vote. In order to build the power of underrepresented Latino residents, he and his team led a voter mobilization campaign in 2012 that contacted 15,000 households and mobilized seven percent of the electorate in a city of 55,000 voters. The organization led campaigns for educational equality in San Diego, including implementation of a legal victory guaranteeing adequate textbooks, facilities, and credentialed teachers; a campaign for equality of access in low income communities to college prerequisites; and advocacy to prevent layoffs harming the most disadvantaged schools. During San Diego’s 2007 wildfires, a false report of looting led to police harassing African American, Latino, and immigrant residents seeking emergency assistance. Keenan helped lead advocacy to fight and document these abuses; the organization then helped pass state legislation to prevent unnecessary requests for identification during natural disasters and produced training materials on people’s rights during natural disasters.
Mr. Keenan previously served in the General Counsel's office of the Vera Institute of Justice and as interim director of the ACLU affiliates in Nevada and New Jersey. At the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, he served as an attorney for children in Virginia’s juvenile prisons and succeeded in pressing new laws to improve reentry services for children with mental health and educational difficulties.
He helped human rights reform efforts in Belfast, Northern Ireland following the Good Friday Peace Agreement and monitored elections in the former Yugoslavia. He is author of Invasion of Privacy: A Reference Handbook(ABC-CLIO 2005) and, with Samuel Walker, An Impediment to Accountability? An Analysis of Law Enforcement Officers’ Bills of Rights (Boston University Journal of Public Interest Law 2005).
In 2010, Mr. Keenan was appointed to a five-year term on the Council on Foreign Relations, and, in 2013, to the Yale Law School Association Executive Committee. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and Swarthmore College.