Margaret Huang is the president and chief executive officer of the Southern Poverty Law Center and its lobbying arm, the SPLC Action Fund. An experienced human rights and racial justice advocate, Huang leads the SPLC in its mission to serve as a catalyst for racial justice in the South, dismantling white supremacy, strengthening intersectional movements and advancing the human rights of all.
Early in her tenure at the SPLC, she guided the organization during pivotal moments in the nation’s history that included the nationwide racial justice demonstrations of 2020 and the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. Huang also has testified before Congress about the threat of hate and extremism.
Throughout her career, she has championed social justice and human dignity, advocating against discrimination and oppression in all forms. Before joining the SPLC, Huang served as the executive director of Amnesty International USA, where she was responsible for leading campaigns to protect the human rights of migrants and refugees, torture survivors, gun violence victims, and activists and protesters across the globe. Under her leadership, the organization developed several new initiatives while growing its financial resources by more than 50% over four years.
She led several human rights missions to the U.S.-Mexico border to hear from asylum seekers and document abuses; accompanied three transgender youth across the border to seek asylum; and sent and led human rights observer delegations to monitor and document police responses to civil and human rights protesters in various locations across the United States.
Huang has worked with members of Congress on critical pieces of legislation, and she has advocated before United Nations human rights officials as well as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. She has published numerous articles and opinion pieces, and she authored a chapter, “‘Going Global’: Appeals to International and Regional Human Rights Bodies,” in Bringing Human Rights Home, by Praeger Publishers.
Huang, a Tennessee native, is a board member of the Progressive Multiplier Fund, which works to strengthen and sustain the progressive movement by enabling philanthropic investment in various organizations.
She previously served as the executive director of the Rights Working Group, which focused on protecting human rights and civil liberties of communities in the post-9/11 era. She also served as director of the U.S. program at Global Rights, program director of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights, program manager at The Asia Foundation, and committee staff for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She received a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University.