NAACP Gets New Legal Defense Fund Director

Sherrilyn Ifill takes the lead for the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund.

The NAACP has classic litigation that it is famous for, but it’s been some time since we’ve seen a landmark case grab their attention.  But with a new sheriff in town at the lead, there may be a jump to energize this area of the NAACP and set some fires under politicians to get us back on track again; especially in voting issues.

This week, the NAACP announced that Sherrilyn Ifill has been passed the baton of leadership for their Legal Defense Fund (LDF).  She’s a nationally known advocate in the areas of “civil rights, voting rights, judicial diversity and judicial decision-making.”

Hailing from the University of Maryland’s Law School since 1993, she has taught Constitutional Law, Environmental Justice, Complex Litigation, as well as seminars on Voting Rights and Equal Protection.  Not only that, she co-founded the Reentry of Ex-Offenders Clinic that focuses on the legal rights of ex-offenders. Annnd, she wrote an important book, “On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-First Century”.

In the Afro-American, she was quoted in a statement regarding her new post, saying:

“It was a dream come true to serve as a lawyer at LDF years ago, and it is a high honor to return to this premiere institution as president and director-counsel,” Ifill said in a statement. “I am looking forward to working with the LDF team, allies and partners to advance an innovative 21st century civil rights practice that confronts the barriers to equality and justice in the lives of the most marginalized members of our community.”

She told The Root that one of her main focuses would be on voting rights and voter-suppression.

She is also the “brilliant baby cousin” of Gwen Ifill, a stellar journalist, television newscaster and author. If you remember, she was the moderator of the vice presidential debates for both 2004 and 2008 and is a longtime staple on PBS as the managing editor and moderator of Washington Week.

The Root sat down with Ifill to pick her brain and find out what is of the utmost importance to her in her new appointment.  Read the full interview here.

-J.C. Brooks

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