For the first time in its 40-year history, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group, the Human Rights Campaign, has appointed an African-American president.
The Grio reports that civil rights lawyer Alphonso David will become the organization’s next president. He will replace Chad Griffin, who has served as president since 2012.
In a video released by HRC, David expresses how he will fight for the equality of everyone and will “tenaciously defend the most vulnerable among us.” In the past, HRC has been accused of not prioritizing the needs and concerns of people of color within the LGBTQ community, but many are hoping that focus will change under David’s leadership.
“I promise you this, I will fight for each and every one of us,” David said in a video about his new appointment. “All I ask is that you join me, that you join the Human Rights Campaign in our fight for true equality. In unity, we will fight back and we will win.”
In a statement released by HRC Foundation Board Chair Deb Taft, Taft praised David for devoting his career to expanding the civil rights of LGBTQ people across the nation and agreed that David is the type of leader the organization needs in order to move forward.
“At a time when LGBTQ people, women, people of color, immigrants and refugees, and so many others are being confronted with daily attacks on our most basic rights, Alphonso is the fierce, compassionate and strategic leader HRC and our broader movement for equality needs,” Taft said.
According to The Root, David is a graduate of the University of Maryland and Temple University School of Law. In addition to playing a crucial role in helping to attain marriage equality in New York in 2011, David has fought for several other civil rights victories for the LGBTQ community including prohibiting conversion therapy on minors.
In August, he will officially step into his new role, making him the seventh president of the organization.