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Human Rights Campaign makes history with new president
2022-09-20

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The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF) announced that Kelley Robinson (she/her) will become the organization's ninth president—and the first Black, queer woman to lead the organization.

Robinson comes to HRC after serving as the executive director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF), where she led the organization and its 18 million supporters in its efforts to ensure all people have access to healthcare as a human right. She also was the vice president of advocacy and organizing at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Her first official day as president of HRC will be Nov. 28.

Robinson started her career as a community organizer for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign in Missouri and has spent more than 15 years on the frontlines of the progressive movement and the fight for equality.

"I'm honored and ready to lead HRC—and our more than 3e million member-advocates—as we continue working to achieve equality and liberation for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people," said Robinson in a statement. "This is a pivotal moment in our movement for equality for LGBTQ+ people. We, particularly our trans and BIPOC communities, are quite literally in the fight for our lives and facing unprecedented threats that seek to destroy us.

"The overturning of Roe v. Wade reminds us we are just one Supreme Court decision away from losing fundamental freedoms including the freedom to marry, voting rights, and privacy. We are facing a generational opportunity to rise to these challenges and create real, sustainable change. I believe that working together this change is possible right now. This next chapter of the Human Rights Campaign is about getting to freedom and liberation without any exceptions—and today I am making a promise and commitment to carry this work forward."

The development is a switch, of sorts. PPAF Board Chair Joe Solmonese is a onetime president of HRC.

Joni Madison had been HRC's interim president after former leader Alphonso David was ousted in 2021.

Earlier this year, David sued HRC in federal court, alleging that he was underpaid and then terminated "because he is Black" and saying the HRC has a "deserved reputation for unequal treatment of its non-white employees," NBC News reported.

David, a Black attorney who led the HRC for more than two years, was fired in September after a report by New York Attorney General Letitia James described how he had helped "discredit" a sexual-harassment accuser of former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. David—who was Cuomo's chief counsel from 2015 to 2019 and was HRC's first Black president—has denied any wrongdoing.

David is currently president and CEO of The Global Black Economic Forum.


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