Leadership

Chris Ott, Executive Director

Chris Ott became executive director of the ACLU of Wisconsin in 2017.

Previously, he served for 10 years as communications director for the ACLU of Massachusetts, where he worked on issues including open government, protecting the rights of immigrants, challenging government spying on ordinary people, racial bias in policing, and fighting racial and religious profiling in the aftermath of the attack on the Boston Marathon.

Before joining the staff of the ACLU, he worked for four years as the first executive director of Fair Wisconsin, in the lead-up to the fight against a 2006 state constitutional amendment banning civil unions and marriage for lesbian and gay couples. An ACLU of Wisconsin lawsuit overturned that ban in 2014, and the national ACLU played a leading role in the Obergefell U.S. Supreme Court case that ended bans on equal marriage rights nationwide.

In 1978, Chris first learned about the work of the ACLU when the organization defended the right of neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois. As it did for many others, this important ACLU case raised questions and required explanation. But it also helped to show that the way to handle speech we disagree with means using our own free speech rights—not government restrictions. Chris first became an ACLU member in the 1990s and has supported the organization consistently since 2003.

Chris has deep family roots in Wisconsin, and his husband David Danaher teaches at UW-Madison.

Living in Milwaukee as a child and growing up in Fredonia, Chris attended Catholic elementary schools and Ozaukee High School. He graduated from UWC-USA in 1989 and Brown University in 1993.

 

Photo credit: Betsy Schneider

Molly Collins, Associate Director

Molly Collins has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than 20 years and at the ACLU of Wisconsin for five years.  As the Associate Director, she oversees advocacy strategy, financial management, program planning and evaluation, and communications efforts.  She also works on a number of issue areas, including policing, criminal justice reform, racial justice, voting rights, LGBTQ rights, marriage equality, and public education.  Molly received her Master's Degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from UW-Milwaukee, and her Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s Studies from UW-Madison. Molly volunteers with several area nonprofit organizations and is the loving mother of two children.  She enjoys sewing, reading comic books, and a variety of other extremely nerdy activities.

 

Emilio DeTorre, Director of Community Engagement

Emilio De Torre has been the Director of Community Engagement at the ACLU of Wisconsin since 2006. He serves on the Board of Directors for Milwaukee Shakespeare in the Park, and was the 2013 recipient of the YWCA's Eliminating Racism award. He lectures and consults nationally for a variety of organizations and is dedicated to advancing the civil liberties and civil rights of all people. Emilio served as a public school teacher at PS 287 in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and as the Director of Education Services for 15,000 young people from Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Manhattan at the Madison Square Boys and Girls Clubs. He’s a devoted father to his three kids and is an avid comic book collector.

 

Larry Dupuis, Legal Director

Larry Dupuis has been the legal director of the ACLU of Wisconsin since 2003. He litigates cases and coordinates the litigation efforts of pro bono attorneys from the private bar who handle cases on behalf of the ACLU. Larry received his bachelor’s degree from Marquette University in 1986. In 1996, he received his law degree from the New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Service Scholar. While in law school, he interned with the Division of Bioethics at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and volunteered with a student group that advocated for the rights of homeless persons. After law school, he was a law clerk to the Hon. Robert W. Sweet, a federal district judge in the Southern District of New York. He was also a Skadden Fellow and then a staff attorney at Legal Action of Wisconsin, a non-profit law firm providing representation to low-income individuals in civil cases. At Legal Action, he focused on public benefits and housing matters. He has worked in the public and primary health care fields, and has published articles on civil liberties issues in public health. Larry has served on the governing boards or committees of a number of organizations, including the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties section of the State Bar of Wisconsin, Legal Action of Wisconsin, the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association’s Pro Bono Committee, the Hmong-American Friendship Association, the Fair Lending Coalition, the Wisconsin Public Health Association and the National Center on Rural Aging.

Kristin Hansen, Development Director

Kristin Hansen has been the Development Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin since 2011. After 20 years as a non-profit manager and fundraiser with cultural organizations in Greater Milwaukee, Kristin turned her focus to civil rights and social justice, earning a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Carroll University in Waukesha. Hansen has served on the boards of arts alliances and music organizations, the Kiwanis Club of Waukesha, on committees of the Waukesha Business Improvement District, and blogs for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She currently serves her community on the Zoning Board of Appeals for the city of Waukesha and serves on the Ethics Committee for the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Southeastern Wisconsin, and is a member of the Historic Third Ward Association.