Vanita Gupta

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Civil rights litigator Vanita Gupta was named Thursday as the newest president and chief executive of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund, the organization announced in a statement.

Gupta will be the chief leader of both organizations, she will begin officially on June 1. This is the first role she’s taken since her tenure as former President Obama’s head of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. She succeeds Wade Henderson, who served as the president and chief executive since 1996.

“When Wade announced his decision, we set out to find an exceptional individual, someone with a passion for advocacy, a record of achievement, a strategic vision, and the skills to lead our organizations, our dynamic coalition and this nation to a more just and inclusive future,” said Judith Lichtman, chair of the Leadership Conference board. “Vanita is that individual.”

William Robinson, chair of The Leadership Conference Education Fund board, said Gupta, 42, represents the “next generation” of civil rights leaders.

“As the first woman and first child of immigrants to serve as the leader of this organization, Vanita Gupta’s selection marks a turning point in civil rights history,” Robinson said. “The civil and human rights coalition is in very good hands.”

During her time at Justice, Gupta focused the Civil Rights division on advancing constitutional policing and criminal justice reform; prosecuting hate crimes and human trafficking; promoting disability rights and protecting the rights of LGBTQ individuals; and ensuring voting rights for all.

“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 organizations that are fighting for justice, fairness, and equality around the country,” Gupta said. “Civil and human rights work has never been easy, and these unprecedented times demand a clarity of vision, strategy, and solidarity that the Leadership Conference coalition is uniquely positioned to champion. I am honored and humbled to take on this essential work to guarantee that justice and equality apply to every individual as we struggle to be a more perfect union and remain a beacon for hope in the world.”

Here she is talking about this pursuit in 2015: