Obama Announces Pick to Head EEOC
On July 16, President Obama announced he intends to nominate Jacqueline A. Berrien as chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces provisions of several important workplace laws regarding discriminatory conduct. "Jacqueline Berrien has spent her entire career fighting to give voice to underrepresented communities and protect our most basic rights," Obama said. "Each of us deserves a fair chance to succeed in our workplace and make a contribution to this nation, and I'm confident that Jacqueline's passion and leadership will ensure that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is living up to that mission. I look forward to undertaking this important work with Jacqueline in the months and years ahead."
Berrien has served as associate director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) since September 2004. In that position, she assists with the direction and implementation of LDF's national legal advocacy and scholarship programs. From 2001 to 2004, she was a program officer in the Ford Foundation's Peace and Social Justice Program, where she administered more than $13 million of grants to promote greater political participation by underrepresented groups and remove barriers to civic engagement.
Prior to joining the Ford Foundation, Berrien was an assistant counsel with LDF who directed the fund's voting rights and political participation work. For eight years before that, she was a staff attorney with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union. She also has taught in trial advocacy programs at Fordham and Harvard law schools and served on the adjunct faculty of New York Law School. She began her legal career clerking for U.W. Clemon, the first African-American appointed to the U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Ala. Berrien is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she served as a general editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree with High Honors in Government from Oberlin College and also completed a major in English.