World Affairs: Abdi Soltani has served as the Executive Director of the ACLU of Northern California since April 2009.
A card-carrying member of the ACLU for many years, Abdi has previously served as executive director of Californians for Justice, the Campaign for College Opportunity and at PARSA Community Foundation.
During his time at the ACLU of Northern California, Abdi has pursued a number of strategic priorities, including strengthening the ACLU’s presence in the Central Valley, expanding the ACLU’s capacity on state policy in Sacramento, and increasing statewide collaboration with the ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties.
Focused primarily on the overall strategy and direction of the organization, Abdi has gotten involved in a few areas of the program directly. He served on the Executive Committee of the Proposition 34 ballot measure campaign which sought to replace the death penalty in 2012, helped convene the Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy with Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, and is currently leading a project to examine campaign finance policy.
Before coming to the ACLU, Abdi served as a community organizer and led a number of policy campaigns in California. As a leader in the No on 54 Campaign in 2003, he helped defeat a proposition aimed at significantly weakening racial equality.
Abdi is a graduate of Stanford University, where he studied biology. He was awarded the John Gardner Public Service Fellowship in 1995, the Gerbode Foundation Fellowship in 2002 and the Levi Strauss Foundation Pioneer in Justice Fellowship in 2010. He currently serves on advisory boards of Pars Equality Center, Educations for Fair Consideration, and the Public Policy Institute of California.