The ACLU of Texas is committed to a diverse board and one that is representative of the various regions of Texas. This year's candidates are listed below in alphabetical order. You cannot cast more than one vote for any candidate.
Steve is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Geography at UT San Antonio. His area of specialization is American Political Development, Comparative Political Economy, the Regulation of Work and Popular Participation in Politics. He was a Fulbright Distinguished Professor in American Studies in 2010. Steve joined the ACLU Texas Board of Directors in 2012.
Paul’s practice included the full range of federal and state tax issues with emphasis on private investment partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, real estate investments, and bankruptcy and debt restructuring. He also headed the Private Equity group within the Firm’s Tax Department. In this area, his practice included structuring private equity, real estate, and hedge funds with a view to accommodating the interests of domestic, foreign, and tax-exempt investors, structuring acquisitions and dispositions of portfolio investments, and structuring general partner and manager compensation arrangements.
Paul continues to teach as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law and at the University of Houston and also serves as Senior Advisor to the LLM Tax Program at the University of Houston Law Center. Prior to his retirement, he was a member of the Tax Forum and the Tax Club in New York City and a founding member and former president of the Houston Tax Roundtable. He was also the chairman of the private equity subcommittee of the Committee on Partnerships of the American Bar Association’s Section of Taxation and was a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel.
He is a former Board Chair of the ACLU Texas.
Gary is President of the Texas NAACP and has held that position since being elected in 1991. He is an attorney who specializes in public interest law, employment and civil rights law, has a longstanding relationship with the NAACP as a member of its National Board since 2003, and is currently the Chair of the National Criminal Justice Committee of the NAACP. Gary has previously handled racial discrimination complaints against the Austin Department of Public Safety that dismantled racial barriers that prevented minorities and women from becoming Texas Rangers. His involvement in the Cedar Avenue case resulted in heightened public awareness of the Austin Police Department’s mishandling of minority youth and led to widespread changes in how police abuse cases are handled. The landmark settlement resulted in the creation of a scholarship program for college-bound minority youth. He earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas School of Law, where he is the permanent class president of the Class of 1976.
Dione joined Equality Federation as Director of Communications in August 2019. Equality Federation is the movement builder and strategic partner to state-based organizations advocating for LGBTQ people. Dione oversees Equality Federation's branding and messaging while serving as the primary communications contact for national partner organizations and 40+ state-based Equality Federation member groups.
Prior to joining the Equality Federation, Dione spent eight years on the communications team at the ACLU of Texas. During her three years as Communications Director, Dione managed six communications staff members and oversaw the growth of the community engagement program. In her previous roles with the ACLU of Texas, Dione led the organization's branding and digital engagement efforts.
Dione has been committed to social justice throughout her career. She previously spent three years as an organizer and communications specialist for the Houston Organization of Public Employees Local 123.
Dione received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a Minor in Art History from the University of Missouri Kansas City. In addition to her work at Equality Federation, Dione conducts communications consulting for a diverse clientele. When she’s not working for change, she enjoys painting, playing basketball, and traveling.
Sameena is a former private equity attorney who practices estate planning law. She is the Texas representative to the national board of the ACLU. She is a former Board member of the Texas Muslim Women's Foundation, the National Association of Muslim Lawyers, and the DFW Muslim Bar Association. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Dallas, a Master’s degree in Middle East Studies from the University of Texas, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas School of Law.
Ranjana directs the Civil Rights Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law. She has directed the Civil Rights Clinic from 2013 to the present. From 2009 to 2013, she directed the law school's National Security Clinic, in which law students worked on cases and projects relating to national security, terrorism, and constitutional and human rights. From 2003 to 2008, she worked as an attorney with the ACLU of Southern California, where she litigated and advocated on a variety of civil rights and civil liberties issues, including immigration detention, civil rights post 9/11, gender equity, and prisoners' rights. From 2001 to 2003, she held a Clinical Fellowship with the Immigrant Rights Clinic at New York University School of Law, where she litigated minimum wage and overtime cases in federal court, and immigration cases in administrative court, and engaged in worker rights advocacy. From 1999 to 2001, she was an attorney and Kirkland and Ellis Fellow with South Brooklyn Legal Services, representing low-income clients in cases involving housing and disability rights in state and federal courts. She received her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.
Manuel practices employee-side labor and employment law, and focuses on claims including employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage and overtime, and union representation. Manuel was a litigation attorney at the Chicago office of a large law firm, where he concentrated his work in commercial litigation. Manuel also did a significant amount of work in employment-related areas, including discrimination claims and internal compliance investigations. Manuel has had a long commitment to public interest, civil rights and civil liberties work. He has also served as a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Texas, where he focused his work on religious liberties, free speech, privacy, and LGBT and women’s rights among other areas.
Manuel earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and his law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in Urbana-Champaign. Manuel is admitted to practice in Texas and Illinois. Manuel was born in Mexico and raised there before moving to the Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is a native speaker of Spanish and proficient in Portuguese. During his free time, Manuel enjoys exploring the ever-changing restaurant offerings in Austin, as well as spending time with his partner and their 7-year old Boxer “Huicho.”
Graciela I. Sanchez
Graciela follows in the footsteps of her mother and abuelitas, strong women of color cultural workers and activists of San Antonio. As a Buena gente of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, a community-based cultural arts/social justice organization, Graciela works to develop programs that culturally ground people of color, queer people and women, and survivors of cultural genocide. She challenges notions of arts and politics as separate work environments, leading the vision and operations of Esperanza as a community center, art exhibition and performance space, policy change hub, and network facilitator for social justice, environmental, and community-based arts. Facilitating conversations on colonization, genocide, power, violence, racism, sexism and homo/transphobia, Graciela works to develop and curate programs and organize gente to challenge oppressive laws in San Antonio, the U.S. and the world.