The Leadership Conference Announces New Executive Committee Officers

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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights recently announced that Lee A. Saunders will serve as the coalition’s treasurer and Barry Rand will serve as the coalition’s secretary.

“It is an honor for me to serve as treasurer of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, an organization that has been at the forefront of preserving, promoting and protecting hard-won civil and human rights in this country,” said Saunders.


Saunders is currently secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Previously he served as the executive assistant to AFSCME President Gerald McIntee and managed the operations of one of the most powerful unions in the United States.  In addition, Saunders serves as a vice president of the AFL-CIO Executive Council and on the board of the Progressive States Network, which provides resources to support progressive state policymakers.


Barry Rand is the CEO of AARP, the nation’s leading advocacy group for people over the age of 50.  Rand, appointed in March of 2009, is the first African-American person to head the organization.  Rand began his career at Xerox in 1968, working his way up to executive vice president of worldwide operations.  He currently serves as chairman of Howard University’s board.


Saunders’ and Rand’s appointment to the coalition’s Executive Committee comes at a transitional time for the nation’s premier civil and human rights coalition of more than 200 organizations. The Leadership Conference changed its name this year, incorporating “human rights” into its name so as to recognize the central importance of the concept to the coalition’s work.


In April, civil rights icon Dr. Dorothy I. Height, who had served as the chair of The Leadership Conference for more than 15 years, passed away.  And legendary civil rights attorney and education advocate William L. Taylor, who served as a vice chair of the coalition, passed away in JuneJudith Lichtman, women’s rights icon and senior advisor to the National Partnership for Women and Families, is currently serving as interim president, in addition to her tenure as a vice chair of the coalition.