September 2022 Church & State Magazine

Celebrating 75: AU Board, Staff And Supporters Gather To Mark A Special Anniversary

  Rob Boston

Members of the Americans United Board of Trustees, staff, allies and supporters gathered in Washington, D.C., July 21 to mark the organization’s 75th anniversary.

“Our leadership at AU has never been more vital than it is today,” the Rev. Neal R. Jones, outgoing board president, told the crowd. He was joined by AU President and CEO Rachel Laser, who assured attendees, “Americans United is ready for the next 75 years.”

During the event, a special AU 75th anniversary video was introduced. It can be viewed on AU’s website:

Attendees also took time to honor Ramya Sinha, who received Americans United’s David Knorr Youth Activist Award.

Thanking the crowd for the award, Sinha, who graduated with a degree in business administration from Chapman University and who will attend the University of San Francisco School of Law this fall, told those in attendance, “Hope is what got us here, and hope is what will push us through.”

Also during the event, Laser announced a new AU initiative called the Next Generation Fund. AU plans to raise $750,000 for the fund over the next 12 months, which will underwrite a host of programs aimed at raising up a new generation of church-state defenders.

The fund will support AU programs such as the Legal Academy, the Youth Organizing Fellowship and aspects of the Summit for Religious Freedom targeted toward young people. (For more information, visit and see “Forward To The Future” in the July-August issue of Church & State.)

Concluding the event, Laser acknowledged the difficulties AU will face in the years to come but also vowed to keep up the struggle.

“We are determined to build power and win hearts and minds,” she said. “Thank you for keeping us strong. In the long term, we will succeed.”

The following morning, board members met with the senior staff of Americans United to discuss current activities and outline strategies for the future. The board also took some time to celebrate some members who are stepping down – Jones, Eddie Tabash, Ouida Brown and the Rev. Nancy Brink. Jones will be replaced as board chair by Jim Winkler, former president and general secretary of the National Council of Churches.

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