ERA Welcomes Social Justice Leader & Legal Stand-Out Melvina Ford as National Legal Director

January 25. 2023

For Immediate Release
Jan 25, 2023

Media Contact
Nazirah Ahmad
[email protected]

Melvina Ford
Melvina Ford brings decades of experience leading efforts to advance civil rights and building movements to ERA’s gender justice mission.


San Francisco, January 25, 2023 — Equal Rights Advocates proudly announces the hire of Melvina Ford as its new National Legal Director. Ford’s expertise in civil rights litigation and policy, and her commitment to advancing economic security for women and families throughout her career, will help ERA achieve justice and accountability through high-impact litigation.

“I am honored to welcome Melvina to our team,” said Executive Director Noreen Farrell. “She comes on board at an urgent time for gender, racial, and economic justice in this country. Melvina’s deep experience, expertise and leadership will allow us to have an even greater impact as we continue seeking gender justice through groundbreaking legal cases.”

Ford’s career spans nonprofit leadership, civil rights litigation, and labor and employment policy advising. Prior to joining ERA, she was the Interim Chief Legal Officer for the Southern Poverty Law Center, where she oversaw litigation strategy and operations for the legal department and was charged with seeking justice for marginalized communities in the South. Her portfolio covered voting rights, criminal justice reform, children’s rights, LGBTQ+ discrimination, economic justice, and more. Melvina also served as a political appointee in President Obama’s administration at the U.S. Department of Labor, providing counsel on enforcement and regulatory issues for the Wage and Hour Division and moving the division toward a focus on the strategic enforcement of wage and hour laws. Ford also held CEO roles at both the Equal Rights Center and the D.C. Employment Justice Center.

“With the rights of women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ communities constantly under threat, the work of Equal Rights Advocates is more urgent than ever,” said Ford. “I share ERA’s commitment to civil rights and economic justice, and look forward to joining the team in fighting for women, girls, and people of all gender identities across the country.”


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