HRC Names Ben Needham as New Director of Project One America

by Ianthe Metzger

WASHINGTON – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, named Ben Needham as the new Director of Project One America, HRC’s comprehensive, multi-year effort to expand LGBT equality in the South through permanent campaigns in Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

“Our country is deeply divided into two Americas -- one where LGBT equality feels increasingly within our reach, and the other where LGBT people and their families are far too often treated as less than, lacking the most fundamental right to live their lives free of discrimination and intolerance. Unfortunately, this gap is often the starkest in the Deep South,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “That’s why we launched Project One America, and Ben is the perfect leader to guide this critical effort as we enter the next stage in the fight for full LGBT equality.”

Needham will work closely with state directors, including Rob Hill of HRC Mississippi, and their in-state staff, as well as HRC’s senior leadership in Washington, DC.  Launched in the spring of last year, Project One America is focused on making progress on three fronts in those states—changing hearts and minds, advancing enduring legal protections, and building more inclusive institutions for LGBT people from the church pew to the workplace.

Needham is a veteran political strategist with an extensive background in campaigns, issue advocacy, and providing strategic counsel to political parties, progressive organizations, and candidates.  He joins the HRC team from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) – one of the nation’s largest public service employee unions – where he served as Southern and Western Political Manager. Prior to AFSCME, Needham served in strategic leadership roles with Grassroots Solutions as Senior Project Manager, as well as the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids as Associate Director of Advocacy.  He has extensive experience working on political campaigns at the local, state, and federal level.

Needham grew up in Laurel, MS, and received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from Mississippi State University.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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