Dennis Parker

Dennis D. Parker ’77 serves as the director of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ), a national organization founded in 1965 to fight on behalf of low income and economically disadvantaged people. Through litigation and advocacy, NCLEJ seeks to assure access to government programs, providing a safety net in the areas of housing, health care, nutrition, and employment, and to challenge discrimination on the basis of race, disability, gender, and immigrant status, particularly when the discrimination creates economic barriers or inhibits the ability of individuals and communities to participate in civil society. Prior to joining NCLEJ, Parker served as the director of the Racial Justice Program of the ACLU, leading its efforts in combatting discrimination and addressing a range of issues which have a disproportionate negative impact upon communities of color, including the “School-to-Prison” Pipeline, racial bias in the criminal justice system, housing discrimination and related economic justice issues, and digital discrimination. Prior to joining the ACLU, he served as the chief of the Civil Rights Bureau in the office of the New York Attorney General and, for 14 years, worked on and directed the educational work of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Parker began his legal career as a staff attorney in the Criminal Defense Division of the New York Legal Aid Society. He has coauthored or contributed chapters to books and articles dealing with civil rights and has lectured extensively on the subject across the country. He serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia Law School/Teachers College and New York University School of Law, where he teaches courses on education law and law and social change. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Middlebury College.