Indian-American Vanita Gupta was appointed as president and CEO of ‘The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights'. With this, Gupta, who earlier headed civil rights division in the Department of Justice in the Obama Administration, also became the first woman to head the prestigious organisation.
In addition to this, Gupta will also lead its sister organisation 'The Leadership Conference Education Fund'. Her role in the two organisations will begin on 1 June 2017.
Gupta, 41, will succeed Wade Henderson who is stepping down after more than two decades of service in the organisation.
• She is known for her fearless advocacy of all human beings.
• As the head of the civil rights division, Gupta oversaw a number of criminal and civil enforcement efforts, which would help in ensuring equal justice and protect the equal opportunity for all during one of the most consequential periods of the division.
• She performed critical work in a number of areas like prosecuting hate crimes and human trafficking; advancing constitutional policing and criminal justice reform; promoting disability rights; ensuring voting rights for all; protecting the rights of LGBTQ individuals and combating discrimination in education, housing, employment, lending and religion.
• Before joining the Justice Department, she served a Deputy Legal Director and the Director of the Center for Justice at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
• Gupta joined ACLU is 2006 as a staff attorney. During her tenure in the union, she secured a landmark settlement on behalf of immigrant children from around the world detained in a privately-run prison in Texas that ultimately led to the end of "family detention" at the facility.
Henderson, who will step down from the office after 21 years, said leaders had the responsibility to cultivate, encourage and make paths for the next generation to lead and to thrive.
On the other hand, Vanita Gupta who will take the charge on 1 June 2017 said "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 organisations that are fighting for justice, fairness, and equality around the country".
Gupta also said that "civil and human rights work has never been easy, and these unprecedented times demand clarity of vision, strategy, and solidarity that the Leadership Conference coalition is uniquely positioned to champion".