Wade Henderson

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Wade Henderson

Wade Henderson is the president and CEO[1]of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and counselor to the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund (LCCREF). The LCCR is the nation’s premier civil and human rights coalition.

Wade Henderson is also the Joseph L. Rauh, Jr., Professor of Public Interest Law at the David A. Clarke School of Law, University of the District of Columbia.

Wade Henderson is well known for his expertise on a wide range of civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights issues.

He works principally in the areas of civil rights enforcement; voting rights; public education reform; fair housing policy; immigration policy reform; media and telecommunications policy; economic and political empowerment for people of color, women, persons with disabilities, and the poor. Under his leadership, the LCCR has become one of the nation’s most effective defenders of federal affirmative action policy and one of the strongest advocates for passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.


Wade Henderson is a graduate of Howard University and the Rutgers University School of Law. He is a member of the Bar in the District of Columbia, New Jersey, and the United States Supreme Court. He also holds an honorary Doctorate in Law from Queens College School of Law, City University of New York.

Leadership Conference on Civil Rights

Since taking the helm of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in June 1996, Henderson has worked diligently to address emerging policy issues of concern to the civil rights community and to strengthen the effectiveness of the coalition.

Mr. Henderson is actively involved with the newly reconstituted National Quality Forum Board of Directors that seeks to improve healthcare quality through performance measurement and public reporting; and the FDIC Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion, which was created in 2006 to provide the FDIC with advice and recommendations on important initiatives focused on expanding access to banking services by underserved populations. He also leads an effort to pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), legislation to revive the right of workers to organize unions.

Testified against Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Wade Henderson testified at the Senate Committee on the Judiciary against the appointment of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Henderson said in part:

"...Senator Sessions has proudly associated himself with some of the most extreme and divisive organizations in our country today, associations that would contravene his responsibility to serve as “the people’s lawyer” for all Americans. For example, he has aligned himself with NumbersUSA, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, and the Center for Immigration Studies, all three of which were founded by John Tanton, who held white nationalist beliefs and called for the preservation of a 'European-American majority.' He has also received awards from the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, two organizations designated as anti-Muslim hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. And he has praised the writers of Breitbart.com, which its former head Stephen K. Bannon has described as the 'platform for the Alt-Right.'"[2]

Previous career/activism

Prior to his role with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Mr. Henderson[3] was the Washington Bureau director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In that capacity, he directed the government affairs and national legislative program of the NAACP.

Wade Henderson was previously the associate director of the Washington national office of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where he began his career as a legislative counsel and advocate on a wide range of civil rights and civil liberties issues. Mr. Henderson also served as executive director of the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO).

Center for American Progress

In 2005 Wade Henderson served as a trustee[4] of Center for American Progress. Executive Director, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

IPS connection

Henderson presented the radical Institute for Policy Studies 2007 Letelier-Moffitt human rights award to anti Iraq War group Appeal For Redress.

Wade Henderson, the president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, described the domestic award winner Appeal for Redress as "a democratic movement within the military" calling for an immediate U.S. withdrawal from the war in Iraq.
The organization is composed of more than 2,000 active duty service members, war veterans, and military families and "has rapidly become the most influential force within the U.S. armed services to challenge the U.S. occupation of Iraq," according to IPS.

Choosing Jealous

During the NAACP’s 14-month search for a new executive, Benjamin Jealous, an experienced civil and human rights activist, emerged as the favorite of Chairman Julian Bond. His resume contrasted sharply with outgoing president Bruce Gordon, a former telecom executive who wanted the organization to focus on social services. The board believed the organization should continue fighting discrimination through the justice system, a long-term focus of the NAACP, which marked its 100th anniversary on February 12.

In September 2008, he beat out 200 candidates, including finalists Rev. Frederick D. Haynes III, the senior pastor of a Dallas mega-church, and Alvin Brown, a former White House official and member of the Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign, to become the leader of the NAACP, which Jealous calls “a volunteer army for social change.”

Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and a member of the NAACP presidential selection committee, says, “It seemed especially appropriate to look for someone who is capable of respecting the cherished traditions of the organization but who is prepared to put them in a new light to bring new energy and new vision to an organization very much in need of recasting itself for the challenges ahead.”[5]

American Rights at Work

In 2008 Wade Henderson served on the board of directors[6]of American Rights at Work.

Midwest Academy connection

The Gala Host Committee, for the December 10, 2014 Midwest Academy Awards Ceremony included Wade Henderson — President, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights .[7]

2016 awards

Midwest Academy December 12, 2016.

ONLY 2 DAYS LEFT until the Midwest Academy Awards in Washington DC! Help us honor Joel Silberman, Janice Fine, Wade Henderson, and Mary Kay Henry for all the amazing progressive work they have been working to accomplish for years![8]

"Progressive Agenda"

Signers of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's May 12, 2015 launched The Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality included Wade Henderson - - President and CEO, Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights.[9]