About Norman Siegel
In 1968, Norman accepted a position with the American Civil Liberties Union's Southern Justice and Voting Law Project. He worked on cases challenging the systemic exclusion of African Americans and women from jury pools in counties throughout South Carolina, Florida, Virginia and Alabama and voting rights cases It was this immersion in civil rights and civil liberties that helped forge Norman's abiding commitment to insure the rights guaranteed in the United States Constitution extend to all Americans, regardless of race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender.
Joining the Youth Citizenship Fund, Inc. as Executive Director in 1972, Norman led the effort to register thousands of young, newly eligible voters. In 1973-76, as the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) Field Director, he spearheaded the historic New York campaigns for both the impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon and passage of the New York State Equal Rights Amendment. He served as co-counsel in the historic Holtzman v. Schlessinger United States Supreme Court case, an attempt to halt the bombing of Cambodia. In 1978, Norman was named Project Director for MFY Legal Services. Inc., a legal services organization that assists Manhattan residents who live below the poverty line.
In 1985, the New York Civil Liberties Union named Norman Siegel Executive Director. For the next 15 years, Norman was on the frontline in some of New York City's most critical civil rights and civil liberties struggles; the creation of an independent Civilian Complaint Review Board; the successful defense of the Brooklyn Museum's right to exhibit controversial art; the fight for citizens' access to the steps of City Hall; the battle against involuntary hospitalization of people with mental illness; the struggle for improved community-police relations and greater accountability on the part of the NYPD.
In private practice since 2002, Norman's work in civil rights and civil liberties law continues. He has represented the Williamsburg 7, Brooklyn activists arrested when protesting the closing of their local firehouse; the Nyack 10, filing a suit for the right to obtain marriage licenses for same sex couples; and Tuck-It-Away, Inc. in its fight against the use of eminent domain in Columbia University's expansion plan.
Norman has also advocated for and represented: families who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001, in their successful quest to obtain the public record of materials, including 911 emergency tapes and transcripts, arguing the case in the New York Court of appeals in February 2005; Skyscraper Safety Campaign and Firefighters Families, advocates for enhanced safety programs and tested, reliable, state-of-the-art communications equipment for firefighters; Republican National convention arrestees held for more than 24 hours; the World Trade Center Families for A Proper Burial; the bicycle riders of Critical Mass; and Occupy Wall Street participants.
Born in New York City and raised in Brooklyn, Norman graduated from NYC public schools and is committed to restoring excellence in public education. From 1989 to 2002, he co-taught "Civil Rights & Race Relations" at his alma mater, New Utrecht High School. Norman is a frequent contributor to many of the city's major newspapers and appears often in broadcast media, contributing to and enriching the debate on civil rights, race relations and civil liberties. He has been a board member of the Jackie Robinson Foundation for over 30 years, and is also a founding board member and the treasurer of the Amadou Diallo Foundation.
Norman and his wife, Saralee Evans live on Manhattan's Upper West Side.