Breaking: HRC Names Chad Griffin as Organization’s New President
March 2, 2012 by Joe Solmonese, President
A message from Joe Solmonese:
When I decided to begin the next chapter of my career, I could not have imagined a better successor as president of the Human Rights Campaign. Just a few minutes ago, the HRC's Board of Directors appointed Chad Griffin, a brilliant visionary and strategist, as the organization’s next president. While you know him as the mastermind behind the federal lawsuit to overturn California’s Proposition 8, Chad’s spent his career taking on the toughest fights against entrenched, well-financed interests. He’s passionate about our equality and more importantly, has a proven track record of consistently delivering results. Already, the fight to overturn Prop. 8 has prevailed in two federal court rooms.
Chad Griffin has the leadership qualities critical to propel our movement for equality forward and I am so proud that he will succeed me this June leading HRC.
A native of Arkansas and a veteran of the Clinton White House, Chad was inspired by young people in taking on this new endeavor. He told the board this morning, "All over this country in big cities and small towns, there are families and young people who long to be accepted for who they are, and who want be treated with the same dignity and respect as everyone else. Today's generation of young people, and each generation hereafter, must grow up with the full and equal protection of our laws, and finally be free to participate in the American dream. As HRC president, I’ll approach our work with a great sense of urgency because there are real life consequences to inaction."
With your support, HRC has won historic victories over the past several years. In addition to passing marriage equality in New York, the District of Columbia, Washington and Maryland, repealing the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" law, and convincing the Obama administration to stop defending DOMA, HRC also spearheaded successful efforts to pass hate-crimes protections, secure equal hospital visitation rights for same-sex partners, and much more.
But following our recent string of advances, anti-LGBT leaders are trying to dismantle what we have built, brick by brick. That’s what makes Chad’s leadership – and HRC's work in Congress and in communities across the country ––and your voice––even more crucial.
I think of HRC as a family. Over my seven years as president of this great organization, you’ve been there to help us make tremendous progress for our community. I know that you’ll continue to be there as Chad fights to propel our movement forward. He is uniquely qualified to lead HRC into the future.
Professional colleagues and friends have been unanimous in their praise of Griffin’s appointment:
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
“I congratulate Chad Griffin on his appointment as the new President of HRC. I’m confident Chad will continue to provide the strong leadership that HRC has become known for here in Washington. I’m proud to count myself as a strong supporter of issues important to the LGBT community and look forward to working with Chad and HRC to advance these issues.”
Judy Shepard, President, Matthew Shepard Foundation:
“I couldn’t be happier for HRC and my good friend, Chad Griffin. He’s just brilliant. The ways in which he connects with people on issues of equality continue to amaze me. He’s going to be a great leader for HRC, and the equality movement and I look forward to working with him.”
Kate Kendall, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights:
"Chad Griffin is a visionary and a force of nature. Chad sees around corners and finds ways to surmount obstacles and bring together disparate voices. The LGBT movement will benefit greatly from his unflagging confidence in the rightness of our cause and his career spent fighting for equality and fairness on a wide range of progressive causes."
Evan Wolfson, Founder & President, Freedom to Marry:
“This is a terrific choice for HRC and our movement. I admire people who raise the bar and bring creativity, smarts, and, of course, more people into the work of getting important things done. As we've worked together to win the freedom to marry, I have seen Chad do all of that with fresh energy and exceptional talent, and Freedom to Marry and I look forward to partnering even closer as he takes the helm of HRC.”
Julian Bond, Chairman Emeritus, NAACP:
"Chad Griffin is a great choice - he is a major leader in the fight for equality. HRC has staged a coup!"
Anthony Romero, Executive Director, ACLU:
“Chad’s appointment to the Human Rights Campaign comes at a historic time for LGBT equality. Chad is exactly the right person to lead the organization at this incredible time. He has courage, passion, dynamism and a willingness to push tough issues forward in a thoughtful and strategic manner.”
Shannon Minter, Legal Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights
“Chad Griffin is an inspired choice. In addition to his legendary genius and relentlessness, Chad has a deep understanding of how social and political change happen and an unflinching commitment to full equality for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. As someone who grew up in the South, he will bring a fierce commitment to ensuring that change comes to all parts of our country and that every young person can grow up with unqualified love, acceptance, and support. Chad is exactly the type of creative new leader that we will need to make the most of the unprecedented opportunities opening up for our community in the years ahead.”