Person

Margaret Huang

Nationality:

American

Occupation:

President and CEO, Southern Poverty Law Center

Former Executive Director, Amnesty International USA

Former Chief of Staff, Amnesty International USA

Margaret Huang is a longtime left-progressive activist who is currently the president and CEO of the controversial Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund. She was previously the executive director of Amnesty International USA, where she focused the organization’s agenda on supporting left-of-center changes to the immigration and criminal justice systems.

Education

In 1991, Margaret Huang graduated from Georgetown University where she attained degrees in international law and organization and East Asian studies. In 1995, Huang graduated from Columbia University with a master’s degree in international affairs, specializing in East Asia and human rights. [1]

Career

From 1995 to 1996, Margaret Huang worked as a staff member for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee under then-U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI). Her work took her on travels throughout Africa on fact-finding missions. [2]

In 1997, Huang became a project manager at the Asia Foundation, where she oversaw a $2.2 million fund to promote women’s rights in Asia. [3]

In 1999, Huang became a program director for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. From 2002-2007, she worked as director of U.S. programs at Global Rights, where she advised American left-of-center social issue organizations to develop strategies pioneered by human rights organizations. Huang also sat on the board of the US Human Rights Network and became a member of the Arlington Human Rights Commission. [4]

In 2008, Huang became the executive director of the Rights Working Group law firm, where she worked on left-of-center litigation ostensibly aimed at preserving civil rights in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. [5]

From 2015 to early 2020, Huang worked as the executive director of Amnesty International USA, where she oversaw 200 employees and a $40 million budget. [6] Huang pushed the organization to advocate for more lenient detention of illegal immigrants in the United States. [7] Huang also sent organization representatives to Baltimore, Ferguson, and Standing Rock to monitor police conduct toward Black Lives Matter and anti-Keystone Pipeline protestors. [8]

In 2019, Huang was a judge for the Roddenberry Fellowship, a $1 million grant to left-of-center community organizers sponsored by the Roddenberry Foundation. [9]

Southern Poverty Law Center

In April 2020, Margaret Huang was appointed president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a controversial watchdog of right-wing extremist groups. Huang’s primary focus as of February 2021 has been to combat social issues which allegedly exacerbate the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including racial inequality, purported over-incarceration, and the alleged mistreatment of immigrants. Huang launched the Vote Your Voice initiative with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta to encourage voting among racial and ethnic minorities in the leadup to the 2020 election. [10] In an August 2020 interview, Huang claimed there was “extraordinary” voter suppression in the 2020 election. [11]

In September 2020, Huang released a public statement denouncing Louisville, Kentucky prosecutors for refusing to bring charges against the police officers involved in the shooting and killing of Breonna Taylor. Huang blamed the incident and the lack of charges on a “criminal legal system built on anti-Black racism and white supremacy.” [12]

In February 2021, the SPLC released its annual Year in Hate and Extremism publication. With its release, Huang told the Associated Press that white supremacists were not only “emboldened” during Donald Trump’s presidency, but also that they had been allowed to wield “so much influence” in the White House. The report itself found that the number of “hate groups” in the US had declined from 1,020 in 2018 to 838 in 2020, but Huang claimed that the decline in the number of groups should not be interpreted as a decline in the level of racism and bigotry in American society. [13]

References

  1. “Margaret Huang (She/her).” LinkedIn. Accessed February 3, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/margaret-huang-she-her-42258916/. ^
  2. “Margaret Huang (She/her).” LinkedIn. Accessed February 3, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/margaret-huang-she-her-42258916/. ^
  3. “Margaret Huang (She/her).” LinkedIn. Accessed February 3, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/margaret-huang-she-her-42258916/. ^
  4. “Margaret Huang (She/her).” LinkedIn. Accessed February 3, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/margaret-huang-she-her-42258916/. ^
  5. “Margaret Huang (She/her).” LinkedIn. Accessed February 3, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/margaret-huang-she-her-42258916/. ^
  6. “Margaret Huang (She/her).” LinkedIn. Accessed February 3, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/margaret-huang-she-her-42258916/. ^
  7. “Interview with Margaret Huang executive director of Amnesty International USA.” Valley Central. October 24, 2019. Accessed February 3, 2021. https://www.valleycentral.com/video/interview-with-margaret-huang-executive-director-of-amnesty-international-usa/4043790/. ^
  8. Fair, Bryan. “SPLC and SPLC Action Fund Welcome Internationally Renowned Human and Civil Rights Leader as New President and CEO.” SPLC. Accessed February 3, 2021. https://www.splcenter.org/news/2020/02/03/splc-and-splc-action-fund-hire-internationally-renowned-human-and-civil-rights-leader-new. ^
  9. “Margaret Huang.” Roddenberry Fellowship. Accessed February 3, 2021. https://roddenberryfoundation.org/blog/judge/margaret-huang/. ^
  10. Huang, Margaret. “Southern Poverty Law Center CEO: What COVID-19 has taught us about voting – Opinion.” Tennessean. November 1, 2020. Accessed February 3, 2021. https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/community-foundation-for-greater-atlanta/. ^
  11. “What Can Brands Do To Foster Social Justice? The Southern Poverty Law Center Has Ideas.” Altered. August 4, 2020. Accessed February 3, 2021. https://www.atlantic57.com/altered/social-justice-southern-poverty-law-center-civil-rights/. ^
  12. “Margaret Huang: Southern Poverty Law Center denounces lack of justice in Breonna Taylor case.” Yuba Net. September 23, 2020. Accessed February 3, 2021. https://yubanet.com/opinions/margaret-huang-southern-poverty-law-center-denounces-lack-of-justice-in-breonna-taylor-case/. ^
  13. Morrison, Aaron. “Hate groups migrate online, making tracking more difficult.” AP News. February 1, 2021. Accessed February 3, 2021. https://apnews.com/article/hate-groups-decline-migrate-online-c8683e13fb094155c011835b49b9676a. ^
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