Sherrilyn Ifill, New NAACP Legal Defense Fund Leader, Focuses on New Methods of Fighting for African-American Equality

4798 Sherrilyn Ifill insists that this is the time to play offense, not defense.
Ifill, the new president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, said that organizations working to protect and expand the rights of African-Americans must forcefully push a proactive agenda instead of only react to legal decisions that affect minority Americans.

"The offense game is figuring out the policies practices and laws that are interfering with the ability of African-Americans to attain educational and economic opportunities," Ifill said, in an interview with

"My focus is on those who are left behind," she said. "Some of us made it through the door. We really have to look at the legal barriers that are keeping a segment of the African American population from educational opportunity and from economic opportunity. That's going to be the laser-like focus of our attention."

In taking on the leadership of the Legal Defense and Education Fund, Ifill is now among the nation's most prominent voices in the civil rights world. She heads an organization that traces its beginnings to the legal department of the NAACP. The Legal Defense Fund was spun off from the central organization in 1939. Thurgood Marshall established it as a new, independent organization in 1957.

She comes to the position at a critical moment. The Supreme Court is reviewing a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, a bedrock piece of legislation for the civil rights movement that has been the federal government's most significant tool in protecting minority voting rights.

Source: BET News | Jonathan P.Hicks
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