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Sakira Cook

Director of Federal Policy
Sakira Cook

Sakira Cook is the federal policy director for the Southern Poverty Law Center and its lobbying arm, the SPLC Action Fund. She leads the federal policy team in Washington, D.C., and guides the development and implementation of legislative, executive and national coalition advocacy strategies.

Throughout her career, she has fought for transformative policy solutions that advance civil and human rights in the United States. She is a leading expert in criminal-legal law and policy, as well as the domestic application of human rights policy.

Before joining the SPLC, Cook was vice president of campaigns at Color of Change and Color of Change Education Fund. She was responsible for shaping the strategic direction of the organization’s policy agenda and driving advocacy aimed at government officials to achieve real-world change for Black people.

Cook served as the senior director of the Justice Program at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund. The Leadership Conference is a coalition of more than 200 national organizations dedicated to promoting and protecting the civil rights of all people in the U.S. In this role, Cook led successful legislative and administrative advocacy campaigns with national and state civil rights leaders on behalf of the civil rights coalition. Successful campaigns include the passage of the First Step Act and President Barack Obama’s executive order “banning the box” – the box on job applications asking about a person’s arrest or conviction record – for federal jobs and federal contracting.

Earlier in her career, Cook served as a legal and research fellow at the Open Society Policy Center, focusing on criminal, civil and racial justice reform.

Cook attended Howard University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in international business and management. She received her Juris Doctor at Wayne State University Law School.