LITTLE ROCK – Today, the ACLU of Arkansas announced the retirement of Rita Sklar, who has been its Executive Director since 1992.
“Rita has been the face of the ACLU of Arkansas and a champion for civil liberties for over a quarter of a century,” said Mike Cobb, Board President of the ACLU of Arkansas. “Her zeal and passion for justice, combined with her professionalism in its pursuit, have won her and the ACLU of Arkansas much admiration and respect. We wish her well in her retirement, and we thank her for what she has accomplished on behalf of the ACLU. Her achievements and the high standards she set for our organization will continue to inspire us in this era in which there are mounting threats to civil liberties.”
As the head of the state affiliate of the nationwide ACLU, Sklar helped to make the affiliate a strong force in the state General Assembly, where she regularly testified, in order to protect the Bill of Rights on issues affecting students, reproductive health care, access to the ballot, and juveniles and others in the criminal justice system. The organization has worked to expose systemic racism, fight for racial equality, and end excessive use of force by the police in many communities. In one of many significant legal victories, the ACLU of Arkansas won a landmark case overturning a law that banned LGBTQ people from fostering or adopting children.
“Working for the ACLU has afforded me the chance to actually make a difference,” said Sklar. “I’m so grateful to all of the wonderful people who have supported the organization, and who have given me the backing, encouragement, and plain ol’ muscle power to get things done for the people of Arkansas. Times are changing but the struggle goes on. I know that the ACLU of Arkansas will continue to fight the good fight.”
Founded in 1969, the ACLU of Arkansas will celebrate its 50th anniversary this fall at which time ACLU supporters will have an opportunity to honor Sklar and her many years of service to the organization. Holly Dickson, legal director of the affiliate, has been appointed interim director and a national search for a new executive director will be announced in the near future.