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In the throes of a conservative takeover of the courts and a retrenchment on civil rights, former NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund attorneys, Constance L. Rice, Penda Hair, and Molly Munger, along with attorney Stephen R. English, established Advancement Project in 1999. Knowing the limits of litigation, they sought to employ cutting-edge strategies to achieve social change.

For more than 25 years, Advancement Project has built a track record of success:

  • Pioneered the school-to-prison pipeline movement, winning significant victories in several school districts across the country to reform disciplinary policies and practices and remove police from schools entirely, including building and nurturing a grassroots movement of parents and youth. This work led to federal guidance on racial discrimination in school discipline.
  • Launched National Police Free Schools Campaign with the Alliance for Education Justice, supporting local youth-led campaigns to end policing in their schools and calling for national demands for change for safety in public schools.
  • Served as legal counsel in the 2000 presidential election case in Florida, successfully challenged North Carolina’s voter suppression law, and was the founding member of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition that won the ballot initiative to strike down the state’s ban on voting for those with felony convictions. Supported legislative efforts to pass the Virginia Voting Rights Act, the first voting rights anti-discrimination law in the South.
  • Supported Close the Workhouse Campaign in St. Louis, led by Action St, Louis, that secured the city’s agreement to close a jail and reinvest money into the community.
  • Worked with survivors of Hurricane Katrina from New Orleans to ensure their voices were being heard in the reconstruction process.
  • Launched a new flavor of Ben & Jerry’s ice creamJustice Remix’d, the first time the company put an organization’s name on its containers.

Advancement Project will continue to build power in local communities by supporting campaigns to dismantle structural racism using law and policy, while shifting harmful narratives.