Monika Kalra Varma will assume the role as Executive Director on the eve of the 50th Anniversary of the organization’s founding and at a pivotal moment in America’s fight for greater equality for all.
October 10, 2017 – San Francisco – Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR) announced the appointment of Monika Kalra Varma to Executive Director, capitalizing on her management expertise in leading world-class social justice institutions. Varma will be leading a dynamic team focused on securing equal justice for all, in particular the inequities confronting African Americans, Latinos, and other communities of color. She will officially begin in her new position on November 1, 2017.
LCCR Board Chair Jake Sorensen offered, “Monika Kalra Varma has a proven ability to inspire and lead the organization through the difficult place in which our country finds itself. LCCR’s work in fighting for racial and economic justice is more important than ever, and Monika’s track record of taking on some of the most entrenched human rights violations globally and domestically will help us to join with and lead local and national movements in this area.”
The Lawyers’ Committee was founded in 1968 after the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, to enlist the private bar in the civil rights movement. The work to advance, protect and promote the legal rights of communities of color, immigrants, refugees, and low-income persons continues to be vital today.
“I am deeply honored to serve as the Executive Director of an organization that was born during the civil rights movement. My hope, nearly fifty years later, is that we can not only fight the constant assault on the communities we serve, but also envision and work towards the world we want to leave our children.”
Monika has dedicated her career to human rights and social justice work. A native Bay Area resident who spent fifteen years in Washington, D.C., Varma most recently served as the Executive Director of the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, the largest provider of pro bono legal services in the District of Columbia serving 20,000 individuals, nonprofit organizations and small businesses. Monika also served as Director of the Center for Human Rights at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights which partnered with social movement leaders domestically and internationally, providing long-term advocacy, legal and direct programming support. At the RFK Center she tackled complex human rights issues, including ensuring a right to health in Haiti, ending untouchability in India, rebuilding the Gulf Coast after Katrina, increasing access to justice in Chad, and stopping modern-day slave labor conditions faced by migrant farm workers in Florida.
Monika began her legal career as an associate legal officer with the Office of the Prosecutor at the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, where her trial team secured the Tribunal’s first conviction of the crime of terror against General Stanislav Galić, the Serb military commander in Sarajevo from 1992-1994.
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