Lecia J. Brooks is the chief of staff and culture for the Southern Poverty Law Center, where her duties focus on leadership development, building an antiracist workplace culture across the SPLC’s offices and ensuring a continued focus on equity. Her work also has included testifying before Congress twice about the threat of extremism shortly after the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Brooks’ previous experience at the SPLC includes serving as the organization’s outreach director, where she traveled across the U.S. and abroad to speak about hate and extremism. She has appeared on numerous news programs to discuss civil rights and race in the United States.
She has a wealth of experience in diversity advocacy training for corporations and nonprofit organizations, including Walmart, Lyft, Pixar, Colorado State University and the Newark Public Library in New Jersey.
Earlier, she was director of the SPLC’s Civil Rights Memorial Center, one of Alabama’s premier civil rights sites, which honors the martyrs of the civil rights movement and encourages visitors to continue the march for racial equity and social justice. She also relaunched the SPLC’s “Mix It Up at Lunch Day,” a Learning for Justice program that inspired students of all ages to break down racial, cultural and social barriers at school.
Brooks is a board member of the Western States Center, where she serves as the board’s secretary and treasurer. The organization “works nationwide to build a future where all people can live, love, worship and work free from bigotry and fear.” It has successfully advocated for “concrete policy and institutional changes” across the Western United States and beyond.
Brooks also serves on the advisory board of the Salzburg Global Seminar, an organization whose goal “is to challenge current and future leaders to shape a better world.” The group brings together diverse fellows “across generations, geographies and sectors, most of whom would otherwise never meet to exchange views or collaborate on new ideas.”
In 2022, Brooks was named as a fellow for the Rockwood Leadership Institute. The selection placed her on a prestigious list of social change pioneers across the country who work for justice in American society. The fellowship program is one of the nation’s leading learning centers for such trailblazers, bringing together 30 human rights leaders to forge deeper partnerships within and across social justice movements by training people to become change agents at a time when the nation is deeply divided.
Previously, she worked for 12 years in a number of capacities for the National Conference for Community and Justice in its Los Angeles office. Brooks has a degree in political science from Loyola Marymount University and an elementary education certificate from the National University in Los Angeles.