Amanda Merkwae joined the ACLU of Wisconsin team in September 2022.
As Advocacy Director, Amanda is responsible for collaborating across departments to help lead the affiliate's core programs and campaigns and working in coalition with other groups and individuals to protect the civil rights and liberties of all Wisconsinites.
Amanda is particularly passionate about the rights of young people and the fight against structural racism and injustice in our education, family policing, and criminal legal systems. She also cares deeply about voting rights, Indigenous justice and tribal sovereignty, LGBTQIA2S+ rights, immigrants’ rights, disability rights, and reproductive freedom.
Before joining the ACLU of Wisconsin, she served as Legislative Advisor for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families and as a public defender representing young people in delinquency and children in need of protection or services (CHIPS) cases in addition to representing parents facing termination of their parental rights. Prior to that she represented students facing suspension and expulsion from school as a Skadden Fellow at Legal Action of Wisconsin.
Before practicing law, Amanda taught middle school social studies and math in Milwaukee. She holds a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and a M.Ed. from Marquette University.
“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” – Angela Y. Davis