Catherine Lhamon, the U.S. Department of Education’s assistant secretary for civil rights, has been elected chair of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
Lhamon, who along with Debo Adegbile was appointed earlier in December to the commission by President Barack Obama, was unanimously elected chair on Dec. 29.
“I am confident that she will bring that same persistence, professionalism, and integrity to her work as leader of this important body,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the D.C.-based Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “As we look to the beginning of a new year and the arrival of new challenges in our diverse and vibrant nation, the civil rights community will look to the Commission to continue its almost 60-year mandate to inform the development of national civil rights policy and enhance enforcement of federal civil rights law. We congratulate Catherine on this auspicious honor and applaud the Commission for its wise action in selecting her as its chair.”
As assistant secretary of education for civil rights, Lhamon has worked to improve the way college campuses combat sexual assault and ensure life-saving protections for transgender students. She previously has served as director of impact litigation for pro bono law firm Public Counsel, and has also worked at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.