Democracy Convention

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Power & Democracy, Advancement Project


Building a Democracy Movement

Denise Lieberman, a nationally recognized expert on voting rights, is Senior Attorney and Co-Director of the Power & Democracy Program at Advancement Project, a multi-racial civil rights organization based in Washington DC that works to build an inclusive democracy.  A seasoned constitutional and civil rights lawyer for over 20 years, Lieberman has been at the forefront of voting rights debates in her home state of Missouri and across the country. 

As Co-Director of Advancement Project’s Power & Democracy Program, she oversees the organization’s voter protection work and Right to Vote initiative. She has litigated challenges to discriminatory Photo ID laws in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and North Carolina and has prepared testimony on voting rights for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, to legislatures in several states and has been featured as a voting expert on MSNBC, CNN, PBS, the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and other media outlets. She is currently serving as lead counsel on behalf of VOTE (Voice of the Experienced) in an appeal to restore voting rights to tens of thousands of Louisiana citizens who are on probation or parole. 

In Missouri, Denise coordinates the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition. Through the coalition, she organizes the non-partisan election protection efforts in the state, which includes hundreds of volunteers who monitor polls and ensure voters can cast a ballot on Election Day. In the wake of the implementation of Missouri’s new photo ID law this June, Advancement Project and ACLU brought suit challenging the law’s implementation. 

Denise is also an adjunct professor of law and political science at Washington University in St. Louis, where she teaches courses on constitutional law, civil rights and voting rights. Before joining Advancement Project in 2006, Denise served as the Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, where she advanced constitutional and civil liberties cases. 

In the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Denise served as co-chair of the Don’t Shoot Coalition, a coalition of 50 local organizations calling for policing reforms. She brought a federal lawsuit on behalf of Ferguson protesters that secured a historic restraining order against indiscriminate use of tear gas on demonstrators.

Denise is a recipient of the 2015 National Human Rights Award from T’Ruah the rabbinic call for human rights; the 2015 Hannah G. Solomon Award from the National Council of Jewish Women; 2015 Martin Luther King Award from the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists; the 2014 Unsung Hero Award from the St. Louis Human Rights Coalition; the Democracy in Action Award from the American Jewish Congress; the 2009 Spirit of Martin Luther King Award and others. Denise serves on the Board of NARAL Pro Choice Missouri, on the Worker Rights Board of Jobs with Justice, as general counsel for PROMO and on the St. Louis African American-Jewish Task Force.

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