The Human Rights Campaign just announced civil rights lawyer Alphonso David as its new president.
He makes history as the organization’s first civil rights lawyer and first person of color to make the top position.
David was born in the United States, but spent most of his childhood in the African nation of Liberia. After a violent military coup toppled the Liberian government — of which David’s uncle was President — his family moved to Baltimore, Maryland.
A new video documents the incoming HRC President’s history, including the moment he came to terms with his sexuality.
‘I told my father on the telephone that I was gay,’ David said in the video. ‘And he got very, very angry, disowned me and said “I wish you were never born”.’
He then added: ‘I had to — at a very young age — understand the purpose of life, the value of democracy and really think about why am I here?
‘I became a civil rights lawyer defending LGBTQ people from discrimination,’ he furthermore said.
Over his civil rights lawyer history, he helped enact marriage equality for New York, banned conversion therapy and helped protect transgender people from discrimination.
Alphonso David: ‘I could not be more proud to take the helm’
Alphonso David said he ‘could not be more proud’ to become the next president of the Human Rights Campaign.
‘I believe that together, we can harness the strength that’s inherent in our differences,’ David said in a statement. ‘To stand together in the face of fear and division.’
He then added: ‘If we want to win full equality, that’s going to require us to come together, to dig deep, to be resilient, to embrace our differences, to tenaciously defend the most vulnerable among us, to fight with every ounce of determination we have.
‘I promise you this, I will fight for each and every one of us. All I ask is that you join me. That you join the Human Rights Campaign in our fight for true equality.
‘In unity, we will fight back and we will win,’ he furthermore said.
HRC Board Foundation Chair Deb Taft then added: ‘At a time when LGBTQ people, women, people of color, immigrants and refugees, and so many others are being confronted with daily attacks on our most basic rights, Alphonso is the fierce, compassionate, and strategic leader HRC and our broader movement for equality needs.’
Alphonso David will officially begin his new role in August.
David most recently also made history as the first openly gay Counsel to the Governor of the State of New York.