WASHINGTON (TIP): The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights on March 23 announced that it and its sister organization, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, had selected civil rights litigator and advocate Vanita Gupta to assume the leadership of both organizations. The chairs of the two organizations’ boards made the announcement after a joint board meeting to ratify the consensus recommendation of a 16-member joint board search committee. Gupta, who most recently served in President Obama’s administration as the head of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, will officially begin on June 1.Wade Henderson, who announced his retirement in November 2015, has led the organizations for nearly 21 years.
“At a time when our nation’s ideals and progress are being threatened in such fundamental ways, The Leadership Conference is a vital nerve center of the broad swath of civil and human rights organizations that are fighting for justice, fairness, and equality around the country,” Gupta said. “Civil and human rights work has never been easy, and these unprecedented times demand a clarity of vision, strategy, and solidarity that the Leadership Conference coalition is uniquely positioned to champion. I am honored and humbled to take on this essential work to guarantee that justice and equality apply to every individual as we struggle to be a more perfect union and remain a beacon for hope in the world.”
“Wade Henderson will go down as one of the all-time great civil and human rights leaders. A true visionary and a brilliant leader, Wade has fundamentally transformed both The Leadership Conference and The Education Fund into the indispensable organizations they are today. It is my privilege to follow in his footsteps and build on his legacy in these challenging times.”
Obama appointed Gupta as principal deputy assistant attorney general and head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division in October 2014, where she served until January. As the nation’s chief civil rights prosecutor during one of the division’s highest profile and most productive eras, Gupta oversaw a wide range of criminal and civil enforcement efforts to ensure equal justice and protect equal opportunity for all.