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Vanita Gupta (Twitter)

New appointment

Former top Obama administration official will lead the movement to ‘fight back’ against Trump White House

March 24, 2017

Vanita Gupta was named on Thursday as the next president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. The 67-year-old organization works to promote and protect civil and human rights through advocacy and outreach to targeted communities, and has been described as the “lobbying arm of the civil rights movement”.

Gupta previously ran the Obama Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division for two years, where she oversaw the publication of a critical report regarding the operations of Ferguson’s police department and municipal court, following the unrest there in 2014. Prior to working for the Justice Department, Gupta began her legal career at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, before serving as deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Gupta said that the new Trump administration made vulnerable some of the initiatives formerly championed by the Civil Rights Division during the Obama administration. “We’re going to have to use the power of the field operation here at the Leadership Conference and the member organizations to mobilize an American public that right now is really eager to fight back and to resist assaults on the very values that we all hold dear,” she said.

“We can’t rely on Congress to be a check on the executive branch right now,” she continued.

Gupta will succeed Wade Henderson, who has served as president and CEO since 1996.

Read the full story at The Huffington Post.