Sherrilyn Ifill Steps Down As NAACP Legal Defense Fund President


Sherrilyn Ifill

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After ten years of steady leadership, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund will look to find a new president. This morning, Sherrilyn Ifill announced that she would step down as the organization's leader and begin the next phase of her storied career.

"It has been the privilege of a lifetime to lead LDF for nearly 10 years. I began my career as a civil rights lawyer at LDF more than 30 years ago and every day leading this extraordinary, dedicated staff has felt like a dream come true,” Ifill said in a written statement.

“I have given this work my all, and I am proud of our accomplishments, including our increased growth and strength. But I am most proud of the leadership role LDF has played during one of the most tumultuous and volatile periods for civil rights in recent memory.”

Ifill has helped propel the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in their continued "fight against voter suppression, inequity in education, economic disparities, and racial discrimination in the criminal legal system." In the second half of her presidency, Ifill battled the Trump administration and challenged its policies on diversity and inclusion. Her tireless efforts earned her a spot on TIME’s annual "100 Most Influential People" list.

With Ifill stepping away from the organization, LDF’s associate director-counsel Janai Nelson will assume the role of president. Nelson has worked alongside Ifill for the last eight years and "helped to develop and execute LDF’s strategic vision and oversee the operation of its programs."

“LDF is unparalleled in its contributions to the cause of racial justice over the past 81 years and in the evolution and protection of civil rights for Black people,” Nelson said in a press statement.

“As LDF emerges from the profound metamorphosis of the past nine years under Sherrilyn’s leadership, I am honored to steward LDF’s next chapter with the skill, vision, care, and courage that it demands.”

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