The Center for Civil Rights and Technology Announces New Advisory Council

Contact: Mattie Goldman, [email protected]

Civil society leaders and academics to lead on civil rights-informed regulatory guidance for the future of AI

WASHINGTON — Today the Center for Civil and Rights Technology, an advocacy hub of The Leadership Conference Education Fund and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, announced the creation of an advisory council made up of civil society leaders, as well as academics, who have published and spoken about critical issues at the intersection of civil rights and technology policy.

Together with the members of the advisory council, the Center will expand and deepen our long-standing advocacy to protect and advance civil rights as a central part of the future of media and technology policy and to ensure technology advances an equitable and inclusive society and democracy. Thought leaders and dedicated advocates join this advisory body to expand the collaboration necessary to further these goals around AI and equity.

“The civil rights community is actively engaging in how technology should be regulated and to ensure new technologies, particularly artificial intelligence, work to ensure that we are building a future that serves us instead of harms us. There must be guardrails to ensure that AI technology is safe, trustworthy, and effective before it is put to use. The perspectives from the academic community will be essential to guiding the civil rights community through this era of unprecedented challenges and opportunities as technology has the potential to change everything, from employment to education to elections. I look forward to working together with these leaders in the field to expand and deepen our ability to serve this mighty coalition and advance our collective mission with more opportunities for strategy and public education on what we need to do to create a future for all of us,” said Maya Wiley, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference Education Fund.

The council members include:

  • Amanda Ballantyne, director, AFL-CIO
  • Sorelle Friedler, Shibulal Family Associate Professor of Computer Science, Haverford College
  • Damon Hewitt, president and executive director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Seny Kamara, distinguished scientist and head of research at MongoDB and holds a visiting professor appointment in computer science at Brown University.
  • Karrie Karahalios, computer scientist and professor in the Department of Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Janet Murguía, president, UnidosUS
  • Alondra Nelson, senior advisor to the president for civil rights and technology, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
  • Spencer Overton, Patricia Roberts Harris Research Professor, GW Law School
  • Rebecca Pringle, president, National Education Association
  • Deb Raji, CS PhD student, University of California Berkeley
  • Lisa Rice, president and CEO, National Fair Housing Alliance
  • Rashida Richardson, assistant professor of law and political science, Northeastern University
  • Suresh Venkatasubramanian, professor of computer science and data science, Brown University.
  • Clarence Wardell III, senior program officer on the economic mobility and opportunity team, Gates Foundation
  • John C. Yang, president and executive director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC

In addition to providing advice and feedback to the Center, the advisory council will attend relevant conferences and briefings and advise on strategic opportunities to ensure a rights-rich future for emerging technologies. More information about the members of the advisory council is available below:

Amanda Ballantyne

Amanda Ballantyne directs the AFL-CIO Technology Institute and the AFL-CIO Working for America Institute and serves as a strategic advisor to AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. Amanda works closely with unions and worker advocates to educate and engage a broad set of public and private stakeholders on artificial intelligence and related technologies impacting working people’s rights, job security, job quality, and safety.

Through her advocacy, Amanda has testified before Congress, participated in multiple Senate AI Insight forums on behalf of the AFL-CIO and AFL-CIO Technology Institute, and worked closely with the White House and federal agencies to center workers within technology regulation, innovation, and workforce development. She is an advisor to the Block Center for Technology and Society at Carnegie Mellon University. She is also a member of the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee (NAIAC), a national committee formed by the U.S. Department of Commerce to advise the President of the United States and the National AI Initiative Office on topics related to AI.

Amanda has nearly 20 years of organizing, policy, and legal experience in unions and nongovernmental organizations. She graduated from Smith College and earned her law degree from the University of Washington School of Law.

Sorelle Friedler

Sorelle Friedler is the Shibulal Family Associate Professor of Computer Science at Haverford College. She served as the Assistant Director for Data and Democracy in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under the Biden-Harris Administration where her work included the AI Bill of Rights. Her research focuses on the fairness and interpretability of machine learning algorithms, with applications from criminal justice to materials discovery. She was a co-founder of the ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAccT), was previously a software engineer at Alphabet, and holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Damon Hewitt

Damon T. Hewitt is the President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Hewitt has more than 20 years of civil rights litigation and policy experience, including prior leadership roles in the nonprofit, philanthropic, and public sectors.

Prior to joining Lawyers’ Committee, Hewitt was the inaugural executive director of the Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color. As well as the chief liaison from the philanthropic community to the White House on policy issues impacting young men of color.

Hewitt worked for more than a decade as an attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where he was lead counsel on a variety of litigation and policy matters and supervised teams of lawyers and policy experts. One of his most important cases, Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center v. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, catalyzed nearly $500M in new relief for Louisiana homeowners.

Hewitt holds a B.A. in Political Science from Louisiana State University and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Seny Kamara

Seny Kamara is a Distinguished Scientist and Head of Research at MongoDB and

holds a Visiting Professor appointment in Computer Science at Brown University. Before its acquisition by MongoDB, Dr. Kamara was co-founder and Chief Scientist at Aroki Systems and an Associate Professor at Brown. Prior to that, he was a Research Scientist at Microsoft Research. At Brown, he is affiliated with the Center for Technological Re-Imagination, the Data Science Initiative, the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies and the Policy Lab.

In 2016, Dr. Kamara was appointed by the National Academies of Sciences to study the impact of encryption on law enforcement and intelligence agencies and in 2019 he testified to the Financial Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives about the privacy and fairness implications of Big Data. In 2021 he testified to the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology about the possible disparate impact of exascale computing.

Karrie Karahalios

Karrie Karahalios an American computer scientist and professor in the Department of Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is noted for her work on the impact of computer science on people and society, analyses of social media, and algorithm auditing. She is co-founder of the Center for People and Infrastructures and the Center for Just Infrastructures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received her bachelor’s degree at MIT in EECS in 1994, ME in EECS in 1995, S.M. in Media Arts and Sciences in 1997, and a PhD in Media Arts and Sciences in 2004. Karahalios joined the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2004, her research focuses on social media and the impact of computing on society, including algorithmic bias and methods to detect and analyze such bias, a field termed “algorithm auditing”. Karahalios was one of the recipients of the National Science Foundation CAREER Awards in 2007, of the A. Richard Newton Breakthrough Research Award in 2008, and of the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowships in 2010. She was named a University Scholar at the University of Illinois in 2019. She has received Best Paper awards for publications in the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) in 2008, 2009, 2015, and 2017.

Janet Murguía

Janet Murguía is the President and CEO of UnidosUS, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. Since 2005, Murguía has sought to strengthen UnidosUS’s work and enhance its record of impact as a vital American institution by amplifying the Latino voice on issues affecting the Hispanic community, such as education, health care, immigration, civil rights, and the economy. Murguía began her career in Washington, DC, as legislative counsel to former Congressman Jim Slattery. She later worked at the White House, ultimately serving as Deputy Assistant and Director of Legislative Affairs to President Bill Clinton. After serving in the Clinton administration, Murguía was Deputy Campaign Manager and Director of Constituency Outreach for the Gore/Lieberman presidential campaign. Before joining UnidosUS, Murguía was Executive Vice Chancellor for University Relations at the University of Kansas (KU). She received three degrees from KU: a B.S. in journalism, a B.A. in Spanish, and a J.D. from the School of Law.

Dr. Alondra Nelson

Alondra Nelson is the Harold F. Linder Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study,  a distinguished senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and senior advisor to the president for civil rights and technology at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. A former deputy assistant to President Joe Biden, she served as acting director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and is a member of the United Nations High-Level Advisory Board on Artificial Intelligence.

Spencer Overton

Spencer Overton is the Patricia Roberts Harris Research Professor at GW Law School and writes and teaches on democracy and race. He is the author of State Power to Regulate Social Media Companies to Prevent Voter Suppression and Overcoming Racial Harms to Democracy from Artificial Intelligence and has testified before Congress on policies to stop online disinformation and deepfakes (June 2020, October 2020, March 2023, and November 2023). He also directs the GW Multiracial Democracy Project, which is currently researching harms to multiracial democracy posed by artificial intelligence. Professor Overton served as president of and rebuilt the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies—America’s Black think tank, and held various senior policy leadership positions on the Obama presidential campaign and transition and in the Obama administration. He practiced law at Debevoise & Plimpton, clerked for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon Keith, and graduated with honors from both Hampton University and Harvard Law School.

Rebecca “Becky” Pringle

NEA president Becky Pringle is a fierce social justice warrior, defender of educator rights, an unrelenting advocate for all students and communities of color, and a valued and respected voice in the education arena. A middle school science teacher with 31 years of classroom experience, Becky is singularly focused on using her intellect, passion, and purpose to unite the members of the largest labor union with the entire nation, and using that collective power to create the racial and social justice that form the building blocks of education justice.

During the ongoing—and worsening—educator shortage, Becky steadfastly reminds our nation that many would answer the call to educate if they knew they would receive the dignity, fair pay, and respect that every professional deserves.  Becky’s passion for students and educators, combined with her first-hand classroom experience, equip her to lead the movement to reclaim public education as a common good. Becky was elected in 2020 as COVID-19 ravaged Black, Brown, and indigenous communities nationwide.

Before assuming NEA’s top post, Becky served as NEA vice president and before that as NEA secretary-treasurer. She directed NEA’s work to combat institutional racism, and spotlight systemic patterns of racism and educational injustice that impact students. Under Becky’s guidance, NEA works to widen access and opportunity by demanding changes to policies, programs, and practices. The Association’s goal is to ensure the systemic, fair treatment of people of all races so that equitable opportunities and outcomes are within reach for every student. This is why Becky is a staunch advocate for students who have disabilities, identify as LGBTQ+, are immigrants, or English Language Learners.

Deb Raji

Deborah is a CS PhD student at University of California, Berkeley, who is interested in questions on algorithmic auditing and evaluation. In the past, she worked closely with the Algorithmic Justice League initiative to highlight bias in deployed AI products. She has also worked with Google’s Ethical AI team and been a research fellow at the Partnership on AI and AI Now Institute at New York University working on various projects to operationalize ethical considerations in ML engineering practice. As a Mozilla fellow, she worked on the Open Source Audit Tooling project (OAT) to develop and taxonomize resources to support the execution of audits. Recently, she was named to Forbes 30 Under 30, MIT Tech Review 35 Under 35 Innovators and the TIME 100 list of Most Influential people in AI.

Lisa Rice

As President and CEO, Lisa Rice directs the National Fair Housing Alliance’s (NFHA) mission to eliminate all forms of housing discrimination and ensure equitable housing opportunities for all people and communities. NFHA leads the fair housing movement and is the trade association for over 170 member organizations throughout the country.

Ms. Rice is a published author contributing to several books and journals addressing a range of fair housing issues including – The Fight for Fair Housing: Causes, Consequences, and Future Implications of the 1968 Federal Fair Housing Act; Designed for the Future: 80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World; Discriminatory Effects of Credit Scoring on Communities of Color; and From Foreclosure to Fair Lending: Advocacy, Organizing, Occupancy, and the Pursuit of Equitable Credit.

She is one of the nation’s leading experts on fair housing, lending, and Responsible AI policies having played major roles in crafting sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, establishing the Office of Fair Lending within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and implementing other legislative and policy initiatives. She also helped lead the investigation and resolution of precedent-setting fair housing and lending cases securing remedies for millions of people as well as the elimination of systemic discriminatory practices. Ms. Rice serves on the Board of Directors of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Center for Responsible Lending, and FinRegLab as well as various Advisory Councils. She has received numerous awards including the National Housing Conference’s Housing Visionary Award and was selected as one of TIME Magazine’s 2024 ‘Closers.’

Rashida Richardson

Rashida Richardson is an Assistant Professor of Law and Political Science at Northeastern University. Rashida is a nationally recognized expert in the civil rights implications of artificial intelligence and technology policy more broadly. Rashida is currently on leave to serve as Senior Counsel, Artificial Intelligence at Mastercard, and she has previously served as an Attorney Advisor to the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission and as a Senior Policy Advisor for Data and Democracy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Biden Administration. Rashida has worked on a range of civil rights and technology policy issues at the German Marshall Fund, Rutgers Law School, AI Now Institute, the American Civil Liberties Union of New York (NYCLU), and the Center for HIV Law and Policy. Her work has been featured in the Emmy-Award Winning Documentary, The Social Dilemma, and in major publications like the New York Times, Wired, MIT Technology Review, and NPR (national and local member stations). She received her BA with honors in the College of Social Studies at Wesleyan University and her JD from Northeastern University School of Law.

Suresh Venkatasubramanian

Suresh Venkatasubramanian serves as Professor of Computer Science and Data Science at Brown University. Suresh’s current research interests lie in algorithmic fairness, and more generally the impact of automated decision-making systems in society. Suresh recently served as Assistant Director for Science and Justice in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In that capacity, he helped co-author the AI BIll of Rights. Prior to Brown, Suresh was a professor of computer science at the University of Utah. He has received a CAREER award from the NSF for his work in the geometry of probability and a test-of-time award at ICDE 2017. His research on algorithmic fairness has received extensive press coverage, including NPR’s Science Friday, NBC, and CNN. He is a past member of the Computing Community Consortium Council of the CRA and spent 4 years (2017-2021) as a member of the board of the ACLU in Utah. He currently serves on the Board of Data & Society. He was recently named by Fast Company to their AI20 list of thinkers shaping the world of generative AI.

Dr. Clarence Wardell III

Dr. Clarence Wardell III is currently a Senior Program Officer on the Economic Mobility and Opportunity team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he leads efforts to foster innovation to improve economic outcomes for individuals in the U.S. with low incomes. Before joining the foundation, Clarence served in the Biden White House as Senior Advisor for Policy Implementation and Delivery with the Domestic Policy Council and as the Chief Data and Equity Officer for the White House American Rescue Plan Team where he helped establish the President’s Equitable Data Working Group, co-led work to align on an Administration-wide perspective on advancing equity through AI, and led efforts to ensure historic federal funding would reach underserved communities. Clarence has also previously served in roles at Results for America, CNA Corporation, and in the Obama White House working to scale evidence-based solutions to address various challenges at the local, state, and federal levels of government. Clarence holds a PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and BSE in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan. 

John C. Yang

John C. Yang is the President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC. He leads the organization’s efforts to fight for civil rights and empower Asian Americans to create a more just America for all through public policy advocacy, education, and litigation. His extensive legal background enables Advancing Justice | AAJC to address systemic policies, programs, and legislative attempts to discriminate against and marginalize Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other minority communities. Because of his expertise, John is regularly asked to speak to media on issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community.

Mr. Yang served in the Obama Administration as Senior Advisor for Trade and Strategic Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he was the principal advisor to Secretary Penny Pritzker on issues related to Asia. Previously, Mr. Yang was a partner with a major Washington, D.C. law firm, and also worked in Shanghai, China as the legal director for the Asia-Pacific operations of a U.S. Fortune 200 company. Mr. Yang was the 2003-04 President of NAPABA.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 240 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit

The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal and state policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund’s campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States. It was founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. For more information on The Education Fund, visit