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Vanita Gupta named 2018 Richman Fellow

President and chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights will visit campus in March

Vanita GuptaPhoto/Lynn Savarese

Vanita Gupta

Vanita Gupta, the former top civil rights prosecutor in the U.S. and current president of Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, has been named the 2018 Richman Fellow by Brandeis University.

As principal deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights for the Department of Justice from 2014 to 2017, Gupta led investigations into racial profiling and police shootings of African Americans in Ferguson, Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore, and many other cities. She also oversaw a discrimination lawsuit against North Carolina for reversing an ordinance that extended rights to people who are gay or transgender, and successful appeals of voter identification laws in Texas and North Carolina.

Before joining the Department of Justice, Gupta served as an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and worked eight years with the American Civil Liberties Union where she oversaw the development of the ACLU’s criminal justice reform project.

Since leaving the Justice Department at the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, Gupta has overseen the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a nonprofit coalition that promotes and protects civil and human rights.

“I am very pleased to welcome Vanita Gupta to Brandeis, and I look forward to hearing about her experiences fighting for civil rights.  Her perspective will enable our community to participate more deeply in some of the important current national conversations,” Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz said. “Her ongoing commitment to protecting and improving human rights in the United States exemplifies what the Richman Fellowship represents and I congratulate her on this recognition.”

Gupta will visit campus for a residency March 6-7, 2018, which will include a public lecture and award ceremony March 6 at 4 p.m. in Rapaporte Treasure Hall, Goldfarb Library.

The Richman Fellowship was created by Dr. Carol Richman Saivetz '69, along with her children, Michael Saivetz '97 and Aliza Saivetz Glasser '01, in honor of her parents, Fred and Rita Richman. The fellowship recognizes individuals active in public life whose contributions have had a significant impact on improving American society, strengthening democratic institutions, advancing social justice or increasing opportunities for all citizens. This annual award includes a $25,000 prize. Recent past winners include the Rev. Jeffrey Brown in 2017, artist and social activist Theaster Gates in 2016, and civil rights leader Julian Bond in 2015.

The Richman Fellowship is hosted by the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life on behalf of the Office of the President.

Categories: Alumni, Humanities and Social Sciences

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