Skip to content
Joan Bertin
A headshot of Joan Bertin, a white cisgender female with short brown hair and glasses.

Joan Bertin


Joan E. Bertin, longtime Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), who for 20 years was a leader and activist for the organization and responsible for its tremendous growth over the years. She received a Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award for her commitment to the decades-long defense of human freedoms of thought, inquiry and expression in all forms, including the media, arts, video games, and books. Bertin began her career working for more than two decades in the non-profit legal sector, first representing indigent clients in welfare, housing, and employment disputes, and then as an attorney in the national office of the ACLU.  After a four-year break to teach at Columbia and Sarah Lawrence, she welcomed a return to activism and joined NCAC in 1997 as executive director. Joan doubled the size of NCAC and extended its reach into many new issue areas, including academic freedom, “pornographic” art, the Patriot Act, media violence, video game ratings, Internet freedom, boycotts, cyberbullying, and suppression of science.  The number of participating organizations grew to 56 national non-profits, including religious, artistic, professional, education, labor and civil liberties groups. Under Joan’s leadership, NCAC took action in over 1,000 cases and Joan raised the funding to launch an Arts Advocacy Project, which became the leading defender of free speech in the arts.

Back To Top