Pod Squad: A Chat With ACLU Hawaii’s Very Busy Executive Director

In the Trump era, “liberty has never been so fragile,” says Vanessa Chong, who has been on the job in the islands since 1989.

By April Estrellon /

Vanessa Chong has been sticking up for the rights of the disenfranchised as executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii since 1989, frequently focusing on issues such as prison overcrowding and police misconduct.

The Trump administration is presenting a whole new set of challenges to civil libertarians, but it’s also resulting in unprecedented support for the ACLU, Chong tells Pod Squad host Chad Blair. She says her organization is hearing from “students, retirees, teachers” and even people in law enforcement.

Pod Squad host Chad Blair welcomes Vanessa Chong, ACLU Hawaii executive director.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Subscribe to the Civil Beat Pod Squad on iTunes or Stitcher.

Want to hear more? Check out Civil Beat's other podcasts.

On Campus

We go behind the scenes as teachers and parents launch a brand new charter school in Hawaii.


Offshore is a new immersive storytelling podcast about a Hawaii most tourists never see.

iTunes | Stitcher
The Pod Squad

Host Chad Blair dives into the biggest stories of the week and what they mean for the people of Hawaii.

iTunes | Stitcher

About the Author