New Orleans, LA, December 4, 2017 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today announced the appointment of Aaron Ahlquist, an attorney and former legislative aid, as regional director of ADL’s South Central Regional Office, based in New Orleans.
Ahlquist has a long-standing commitment to social justice, civil rights, and fair treatment for all. He has practiced law with the firm of Herman, Herman, and Katz, LLC, since 2010, and has worked on significant litigation surrounding the major events impacting the New Orleans community, including litigation following Hurricane Katrina and the suit against BP following the Gulf Oil Spill. Ahlquist’s practice has focused on large class actions and mass torts representing populations of plaintiffs impacted by the actions of companies.
In his new capacity, Ahlquist will be responsible for leading ADL’s South Central Regional Office, which provides services and resources to the three states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Ahlquist assumed his new position on Nov. 30.
“We are excited that Aaron has joined the New Orleans team and we are very much looking forward to his efforts to advance our mission to combat hate across our region,” said Jonathan Lake, ADL South Central Regional Board Chair. “Aaron is deeply committed to the issues we care so deeply about and is passionate about our mission to fight anti-Semitism and hate through advocacy and education.”
Prior to practicing law, Aaron studied political science at the University of Wisconsin, spending his junior year abroad in Jerusalem. During that time, he also travelled to Ukraine to lead Passover seders with the re-emerging Jewish population there. Following his studies at the University of Wisconsin, Aaron spent three years on the legislative staff of Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN). While on Sen. Wellstone’s staff, Aaron worked with East African refugees fleeing horrible conditions and striving for better lives in America. He also worked on health care, judiciary, and human rights issues. After his time on Capitol Hill, Aaron attended the University of Richmond School of Law and moved to New Orleans in 2004 upon graduation to begin his career in law.
Aaron also has served on ADL’s South Central Regional Advisory Board, where he set out to quickly engage in their outreach efforts and advocated on behalf of ADL’s stances on civil rights and civil liberties.
“I, along with the rest of the staff at ADL’s South Central Office, are looking forward to continuing the ADL’s mission in 2018," Ahlquist said. “We have strong organizational partnerships that help us amplify our messaging, and we are actively looking to create additional relationships to help us expand our reach and impact.”
For more than 50 years, ADL’s South Central office has combated anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred and bigotry by investigating and exposing extremism, protecting as well as advocating for civil rights and religious freedom, educating children and adults in how to promote diversity and respect through our many programs and resources, and by fostering interfaith relations.
Ahlquist succeeds Allison Padilla-Goodman, who has led the South Central office for the past three years. Padilla-Goodman now serves as the Regional Director for the Southeast Office, based in Atlanta.