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Advancement Project National Office on the Passing of Lani Guinier

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, January 7, 2022

Statement from Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of Advancement Project – National Office, on the death of Lani Guinier:

“Today, we mourn the loss of Lani Guinier, a leader, mentor, friend, and national treasure.  Our hearts go out to her family, loved ones, many friends, students, and those who were touched by her intellect and talents. We will miss her greatly for her voice and vision.”

“She will be remembered with love and respect as the Bennett Boskey Professor of Law Emerita at Harvard Law School, the first woman of color appointed to a tenured professorship there, following an illustrious career as an assistant counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, including serving as the head of its Voting Rights project. She trained and inspired a strong cadre of racial justice advocates on how best to uncover and challenge injustice, unfairness, and inequality in our divided nation.”

“Her brilliance shone brightly in the voting rights universe.  In her book, “The Tyranny of the Majority,” she gave us innovative alternatives to the status quo in our representative government.  In “The Miner’s Canary” she cautioned the nation to stay focused on and fix the wrongs inflicted upon people of color, alerting the nation to the perilous, predictable reality that these problems would soon adversely impact everyone.“ 

“Lani was an early supporter and thought partner to the Advancement Project.  Her legacy however will remain a part of who we are and what we do. She worked closely with our Board members and staff to construct new approaches for gaining high-impact racial justice victories, including pursuing the enshrinement of an explicit, affirmative right to vote in the United States Constitution.   We will remember her model of serving the masses while enlightening the elite.  We all owe her a great debt of gratitude for helping us lean in the direction of a more perfect union. Her writings, advocacy, and teachings will continue to inspire new generations of lawyers, election officials, elected officials, communicators, academics, policy makers, and organizers to think boldly and differently about building and maintaining a more inclusive democracy.  Her life’s work will continue to remind us to remain unafraid to think and act outside the mold. Not everyone will appreciate our work.  We learned from her experience that the power elite might even reject us because of the stances we take.  Still, let us live as she did – finding a higher purpose in service to humanity and lasting ideals than in titles and positions.”

Statement from Bill Lann Lee, President of Advancement Project – National Office’s board of Directors, on the death of Lani Guinier:

“I first met Lani when we were legal interns and we remained friends and colleagues. Lani Guinier was an incredible civil rights advocate and scholar. This is a grievous loss for our nation,” said

“Lani was a bold, brilliant strategist in the war against structural racism in our nation.  For nearly half a century, she led, guided, taught, and fought for a just democracy. She helped frame the vision for the Advancement Project at its inception. We are a better nation because of her.”

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Advancement Project National Office is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. Visit to learn more.


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