Margaret Huang brings 25 years of experience advocating against discrimination and oppression around the world.
We are delighted to announce that internationally renowned human and civil rights leader Margaret Huang has been hired as the new president and chief executive officer of the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund beginning in April.
When we began our search, we sought out a leader with a distinguished social justice record, a proven commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, strong management skills within a large social justice organization, and ingenuity and vision.
That led us to Margaret. In her, we have found all those characteristics and more.
Margaret, who currently serves as executive director of Amnesty International USA, brings more than 25 years of leadership experience to SPLC and SPLC Action Fund. Throughout her career, she has been a champion for social justice and human dignity, advocating against discrimination and oppression.
Huang is the architect behind Amnesty International USA’s campaigns to protect the human rights of migrants and refugees, torture survivors, gun violence victims, and activists and protestors globally. In this role, she has also worked with members of Congress on critical pieces of legislation; led several human rights missions to the U.S.-México 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 Baltimore, Ferguson, Missouri and Standing Rock, North Dakota, to monitor and document police responses to protestors.
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-September 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 as committee staff for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
With Margaret’s leadership, I am confident we will continue our journey to not only be an effective 21st Century civil rights organization doing vital work, but also a model, demonstrating best practices to partner with employees and the communities we serve to create an environment where all can thrive.
We are as committed as ever before to combating the forces of hate and bigotry and to exploring new and innovative ways to work with allied organizations as we all tackle the challenges our nation is facing.
I wish to thank each of you — our supporters who have stood by our side during this transformational year at SPLC.
Without your support, this work would not be possible.
Please join us in welcoming our new president & CEO, Margaret Huang.
SPLC Board Chairperson
SPLC Action Fund Chairperson
Here’s what social justice leaders say:
“I've had the pleasure of working with Margaret for over 15 years and she is a tireless advocate for human rights, and brings both deep knowledge and passionate activism to SPLC. She takes the helm at this crucial time as we face renewed hate violence, bigotry, and discrimination around the country, and SPLC's work is vital. Margaret's tenacity and ability to navigate tough situations will serve the civil and human rights movement well, and we are fortunate to have her continue in the fight in her new role.” — The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights President and Chief Executive Officer Vanita Gupta
“Margaret Huang is a dynamic human rights leader with a proven track record of achieving results in these challenging times. She has transformed Amnesty International USA through integrated advocacy that combines research, mobilization, and advocacy. The work of the Southern Poverty Law Center has never been more crucial, and under Margaret’s leadership, SPLC’s best days surely are ahead.” — ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero
“I have had the pleasure of working with Margaret Huang for almost two decades beginning with her extraordinary leadership of the Rights Working Group, which was a coalition of human rights, criminal justice, civil rights and immigrant rights groups seeking to protect the civil liberties and human rights of everyone in America, including immigrants, in the wake of 9/11. Under her leadership, Amnesty USA regained its footing and became an even stronger voice for human rights in the United States, as well as around the world. She has a lifelong commitment to human rights and social justice and is adept at uniting people across very diverse perspectives to work on a shared agenda. She is the rare leader who has both the ability to articulate a compelling vision and the talent to manage complex organizations to achieve their goals. A woman of incredible integrity, wisdom and compassion, she is the right leader to help chart the Southern Poverty Law Center’s next chapter at a most critical moment in America’s journey to fully living up to the most fundamental of its principles.” — Karen Narasaki, human and civil rights leader who served as a commissioner on the United States Commission on Civil Rights
“I have known and worked with Margaret Huang for 10 years and am very excited that the Southern Poverty Law Center has chosen her as their next leader during this moment in history in which the advancement of civil and human rights is under attack. Beyond being an internationally recognized human rights expert, Margaret is an exceptional and well-respected organizational leader. She is a brilliant strategist, a powerful thinker, a skilled team-builder and an Inspirer-in-Chief. I have great confidence that she will bring new vision, energy and vitality to SPLC's work and mission, grounded in the arc of SPLC's very best history and bent towards an exciting future vision of justice.” — Center for Constitutional Rights Executive Director Vince Warren
“I have known and worked with Margaret Huang for over 15 years and I can't think of a stronger leader to take the Southern Poverty Law Center into the future. At a time when the stakes could not be higher, Margaret's unique combination of moral compass, vision and energy are precisely what is needed.” — National Domestic Workers Alliance Co-Founder and Executive Director Ai-jen Poo
“Margaret is an extraordinary leader and she is absolutely the right leader at the right time for the Southern Poverty Law Center. Her entire career has been spent fighting discrimination, promoting equality and advocating for the fundamental human rights and dignity of every person. As a woman of color who grew up in the South she has lived experience of discrimination. As a nonprofit leader she has led coalitions, strategized for change, and become a global leader in the fight for fundamental human rights. Most importantly, she garners respect from every individual who works with her, staff, board, volunteers and allies. The Southern Poverty Law Center is lucky to have her lead them into this new era and all those concerned with justice and equality are lucky to have her leading the struggle.” — Student Press Law Center Executive Director Hadar Harris
“SPLC has been one of our closest and most stalwart colleagues in the struggle to secure equality and justice for LGBTQ people. We are thrilled to welcome Margaret Huang in this important new role and excited that a human rights advocate of her stature will be leading SPLC at such a critical time in our nation’s history. We look forward to continuing our relationship with SPLC and furthering the work of securing justice and dignity for all in the South and beyond.” — National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter
“It's exciting to see Margaret assume the leadership at SPLC at this moment in history. As we confront the challenges of the climate crisis and growing corporate greed, as well as the threats to our democratic system and processes, we need organizations like SPLC to build collaborative efforts across the south and the nation. Margaret's commitment to working in partnership and to listening to directly affected communities will facilitate SPLC's work to drive sustainable change and protect the rights of all communities.” — Wallace Global Fund Executive Director Ellen Dorsey