Saturday, April 01, 2017

FAMU alumna appointed to senior management team of NAACP Legal Defense Fund

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) recently announced the addition of Florida A&M University alumna Melanie Roussell Newman to its senior management team. She will serve as Chief Public Engagement and Communications Strategist.

“Ms. Newman will oversee a critical expansion of our communications department and will be responsible for shaping messaging strategy across all LDF practice areas as well as developing public relations on behalf of the Thurgood Marshall Institute,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of LDF.

Prior to LDF, Newman held several positions in the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama Administration, most recently serving as Director of the Office of Public Affairs (OPA) at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), where she led the Department’s communications team and oversaw messaging and public engagement strategy for Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

During her tenure at DOJ, Newman managed communications across all litigating, policy, and operational divisions of the Department. She also advised the Attorney General on crisis communications and emergency response, including the response to the Mother Emmanuel-Charleston massacre and the Dylann Roof trial, the civil rights investigations of the Baltimore and Chicago police departments, the Department’s lawsuit against North Carolina for its discriminatory HB-2 legislation, and the terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino (CA), and Orlando (FL).

Prior to joining the Justice Department, Newman served as Associate Director of Communications and Strategic Planning at the White House Office of Management and Budget and Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Her experience also includes stints as the National Press Secretary at the Democratic National Committee and Communications Director for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary.

Newman will be based out of LDF’s Washington, D.C. office.

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