Civil Rights Coalition to Meet Growing Threat to Rights by Expanding Staff and Budget

Media 10.2.02

Washington — To meet and combat the growing right-wing threat to American civil rights and civil liberties, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) today announced it is expanding its policy staff and budget.

“Following the election debacles in Florida in 2000 and 2002 and in the face of the Bush Administration’s determined effort to stack the courts with right-wing extremists, we must mobilize our citizens to defend and protect our fundamental rights as Americans,” said LCCR Executive Director, Wade Henderson. “Our new staff additions and changes and our new fundraising initiatives will help us meet this critical challenge by strengthening LCCR.”

Focusing the efforts of more than 180 national organizations representing persons of color, women, children, labor unions, individuals with disabilities, gays and lesbians, older Americans, major religious groups and civil liberties and human rights, LCCR is in the forefront of efforts to protect, defend and secure individual rights, constitutional rights, civil rights, and civil liberties.

Key Staff Additions and Changes

Nancy Zirkin has joined LCCR as Deputy Director/Director of Public Policy. She will work on LCCR’s current priorities including opposing right-wing efforts to stack the federal bench, advocating for real electoral reform, protecting the rights of gays and lesbians in the workplace, and promoting a strong federal policy against hate crimes.

Nancy joins LCCR having served for 12 years as Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for AAUW and as a co-chair of the LCCR Task Forces on Education, Hate Crimes, and Affirmative Action.

Julie Fernandes has joined the policy department as a Senior Policy Analyst/Special Counsel to work on a variety of issues including criminal justice, hate crimes, and judicial nominations. She joins the organizations from the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice where she served as a trial attorney, attorney advisor and counsel/special assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. She also served in the White House as special assistant to the President for Domestic Policy.

Rob Randhava who has been at LCCR since January 2001 will now be part of the expanded public policy department working as a policy analyst with a focus on immigration issues. Rob came to LCCR from a position on the staff of U.S. Representative Barney Frank where he played a key role in tracking and addressing the repressive provisions of the 1996 Immigration Bill.

Other staff changes for LCCR and the Leadership Conference Education Fund (LCEF) announced today include:

Karen McGill Lawson, who is Executive Director of the LCEF, will take on additional responsibilities as LCCR’s Deputy Director for Education and Operations.

Brian Komar has been promoted to the position of Director of Strategic Affairs with responsibility for the overall direction of the organizations’ use of technology; a senior role in the public policy department; and assistance with overall office planning and strategic development.

Corrine Yu has been promoted to the position of Director of Education with responsibility for the organizations’ public education of targeted constituencies.

Ed Fichter was hired as Director of Development to bring his expertise in fundraising and institutional advancement to the capacity building efforts of the two organizations. He comes to the Leadership Conference from Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington where he served as Vice-President for Development and Communications.

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