National Commissioner: Leon Russell

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NAACP Vice Chair of the National Board of Directors

Leon W. Russell retired in January of 2012, after serving as the Director of the Office of Human Rights for Pinellas County Government, Clearwater, Florida. He had held this post since January of 1977. In this position Mr. Russell was responsible for implementing the county's Affirmative Action and Human Rights Ordinances. In September of 2007, Mr. Russell was elected President of the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies during its annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. The IAOHRA Membership is agency based and consists of statutory human and civil rights agencies from throughout the United States and Canada as well as representation from several other nations.

Mr. Russell served as the President of the Florida State Conference of Branches of the NAACP from January 1996 until January 2000, after serving for fifteen years as the First Vice President. He has served as a member of the National Board of Directors of the NAACP 1990. He has served that board as the assistant secretary and currently serves as Vice Chairman of the National Board. He is a member of the International City Management Association; a member of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators; member of the Board of Directors of the Children's Campaign of Florida; past Board Member of the Pinellas Opportunity Council, past President and Board Member of the National Association of Human Rights Workers; member of the Blueprint Commission on Juvenile Justice with responsibility for recommending reforms to improve the juvenile justice system in the state of Florida.

Mr. Russell also served as the Chairman of Floridians Representing Equity and Equality. FREE was established as a statewide coalition to oppose the Florida Civil Rights Initiative, an anti-Affirmative Action proposal authored by Ward Connerly. Ultimately, the initiative failed to get on the Florida Ballot, because of the strong legal challenge spearheaded by FREE.