As one who was partially responsible for bringing Ramona Ripston to Los Angeles as executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, I think it appropriate to pay public tribute to her now that she is leaving us to go to People for the American Way.
In the 13 years of her tenure here she proved to be not only a dedicated civil libertarian--one takes that for granted--but also an extremely able and dedicated leader. Working closely with the lay leadership of the ACLU and the ACLU Foundation, their boards of directors and officers, she continued and expanded the long tradition of constitutional progressivism that has characterized the Southern California ACLU since time runneth not.
As one who served on the ACLU's national board from 1965 to 1981, I can state unequivocally that there is not a better executive director of any ACLU affiliate in the country--and there are a number of mighty fine ones.
Ramona Ripston's dedication and ability won her the respect not only of her colleagues and partisans but also of her opponents as she held high the torch of civil liberties. We shall miss her, but we take solace in the fact that she will carry on the good work with People for the American Way.