Needham Resident Appointed as ADL Regional Director

Robert Trestan is promoted to New England regional director of the Anti-Defamation League

Robert Trestan, Needham resident and long-time civil rights activist, will step up as the new director for the The Anti-Defamation League’s New England regional office, based in Boston.

“We need to be able to trump hate and bigotry and fight for equality in every area that it comes up in our region,” Trestan said.

As an ADL Eastern States civil rights counsel since 2005, Trestan served as attorney to six offices and responded to hate crimes, extremist activities, discrimination complaints and church-state issues. He led a broad coalition that helped pass anti-bullying legislation in Massachusetts in 2010.  

ADL is in its 100th year and was established “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all,” according to its website. It stands now as one of the largest civil rights and anti-bigotry agencies.

Trestan will replace Derrek Shulman, also from Needham, who announced his resignation in January to spend more time with his family.

The New England ADL office will continue its ongoing work toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, Trestan said. 

However, Trestan said his priority as director will be to establish relationships with ethnic and religious groups across the city.

“People are sometimes targeted in ways that are unpredictable, and it’s important to be proactive,” he said, “but at the same time, have the mechanisms and relationships in place to respond when something does happen.”

Most recently, Trestan led ADL’s Cyberhate Response Team, which worked with Internet executives at home and abroad to combat hate on the Internet.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said leadership has always been central to Trestan’s success.

“We welcome Robert to his new role leading in ADL,” Menino said. “We know he’ll continue to build on his proven track record as a passionate defender of civil rights.”



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