Penda D. Hair
Co-director, Advancement Project; public interest attorney
Penda D. Hair, Co-Director of Advancement Project, has spent her career as a public interest attorney defending the rights of those unjustly discriminated against. The former director of the Washington, D.C., office of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Hair co-founded Advancement Project to serve as an innovative racial justice organization that would strengthen grassroots efforts to eradicate structural inequities throughout the nation.
Under Hair’s direction, Advancement Project has reformed the electoral system in Florida, campaigned for the restoration of voting rights of people with felony convictions in Virginia, and secured the right to return and the opportunity to vote for thousands of displaced survivors of Hurricane Katrina. In 2008 and again in the 2012 election year, Hair spearheaded campaigns challenging voter ID restrictions and other discriminatory electoral provisions.
Hair is the author of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 2001 report on innovative civil rights strategies, "Louder Than Words: Lawyers, Communities, and the Struggle for Justice." With Advancement Project, she has produced groundbreaking reports, including 2008’s "In Pursuit of an Affirmative Right to Vote" and 2011’s "What's Wrong With This Picture?: New Photo ID Proposals Part of National Push to Turn Back the Clock on Voting Rights."
Penda Hair is a Harvard Law School graduate. She is admitted in Washington, DC.