My name is Nick Mercer (he/him/his) and I am thrilled to be joining the ACLU of South Carolina’s team as the Principal and Leadership Gifts Manager.

I am originally from Maryland and moved to South Carolina to begin my career working in teen pregnancy prevention and sexual assault advocacy. I became passionate about advocacy and went back to graduate school to learn how I could apply my passion to serving my community. Throughout graduate school I worked for a consulting organization that provided free and low-cost capacity building services to local nonprofit organizations. Some of my absolutely incredible clients included an LGBTQ organization, a university-wide program addressing community homelessness and food insecurity, and an organization serving blind people and others with visual impairments. I fell in love with fundraising during graduate school and after graduating led annual giving for a statewide conservation organization just as we were finishing a $25 million comprehensive campaign.

I am incredibly grateful for all of my prior experiences but given the unique time in which we all find ourselves I feel called to advocacy and policy change – and that is just one reason why I am so excited to be part of the ACLU of SC.

The challenges we face as a state are well documented. We live in a state where lawmakers continually attempt to take away access to safe abortions while they defend taxpayer-funded foster care agencies that discriminate against LGBTQ people. With the nation’s second highest marijuana possession arrest rate, our state remains an active warrior in the racist and defunct war on drugs. Our two-tiered system of justice continues, where people with resources can minimize the fallout from criminal charges yet people without access to resources find themselves dealing with escalating cycles of fees, jail time and life-altering criminal records. Our state desperately needs change and the ACLU of SC is working to bring about that change.

In addition to this ongoing work, the global pandemic and time of unprecedented civic unrest in which we all find ourselves makes the work of the ACLU of SC more relevant now than ever. For example, we are calling for the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) to release all incarcerated people who are medically vulnerable, over the age of 55 or who are within six months of their release. This call is based on the overwhelming evidence that shows that these groups do not pose a risk to society and are at an increased risk for contracting and experiencing harmful effects from coronavirus. SCDC has not complied with this request, so we are suing.

We also recently demanded an apology from the Charleston Police Department after they perpetrated brutality against peaceful protesters and Black community members in Charleston’s Eastside community. We recognize that our policing system is not broken – but that it is working exactly as it was designed. The injustices that we now routinely see play out on social media feeds are not new – they have existed for all of American history with the only difference being that these injustices can now be documented and widely shared at the speed of light. We are united with activists and organizations calling for a comprehensive conversation about what constitutes true public safety and the fundamental role law enforcement should play in our communities.

The ACLU of SC stands for reproductive rights; immigrant rights; LGBTQ rights; rights for people who are incarcerated; rights for people who are protesting; rights for everyone. I am honored and humbled to be part of an organization fighting for a South Carolina that is just and equitable for all.

If you are interested in becoming part of this crucial work, feel free to connect with me at