The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) is bolstering its policy and lobbying staff to fight what it sees as "the growing right-wing threat to American civil rights and civil liberties."
LCCR Executive Director Wade Henderson says the group has to work harder to "break through the din of war fever and the very legitimate war on terrorism" to get lawmakers' attention on election reform, hate crime and education issues, as well as civil liberties and civil rights. Henderson said the group, a coalition of more than 185 national organizations representing minorities, women, labor unions, gays and lesbians, civil rights activists and others, also is fighting a number of President Bush's judicial nominations, contending that the administration is trying to "pack the court with immoderate judges."
"The domestic agenda has operated under a shadow for the past year," he said. "We want to get it back on track."
Among LCCR's recent hiring "coups," Henderson said, are Nancy Zirkin, previously director of public policy and government relations for the Association of American University Women, who became LCCR's new deputy director/director of public policy; and Julie Fernandes, previously an attorney at the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, who joined as senior policy analyst/special counsel.
Rob Randhava, who joined LCCR last year from the staff of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), has become part of the public policy department specializing in immigration issues.
Also, Karen McGill Lawsen, executive director of the Leadership Conference Education Fund, took on new duties as LCCR's deputy director for education and operations; Brian Komar moved into the job of director of strategic affairs; Corrine Yu was named director of education; and Ed Fichter, formerly with the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, signed on as director of development.