Laura W. Murphy is a national civil rights and civil liberties leader with over 30 years of public policy, government relations, and management experience at the local, state, and national levels. Murphy is currently at Harvard University as an Advanced Leadership Institute Fellow.
During her career, Murphy worked as a civil rights leader, a legislative assistant for two members of Congress, as a chief of staff for a California Assembly Speaker, as a cabinet member for the mayor of the District of Columbia, as a non-profit fundraiser, and as a business owner. She is on the board of directors of her family’s paper, the Afro American Newspapers, and she has recently advised the White House and the Justice Department on racially biased policing in Baltimore.
Murphy recently completed her years as director of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) Washington Legislative Office. Murphy supervised a staff of 35 including 18 federal lobbyists who advanced the ACLU’s public policy priorities on a range of issues from national security, privacy and LGBT rights to racial profiling, immigration reform, women’s rights, voting rights, and First Amendment issues. Her extremely successful tenure has been heralded for its positive impact on the lives of millions of people in the United States. Laura Murphy was the first woman, the first African American, and the longest serving head of the federal affairs operation in the ACLU’s 95 year history.