An attorney by training, Michelle D. Bernard is a political and social justice journalist, pundit and opinion maker, social critic, author, columnist, and public speaker. As the president & CEO of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics & Public Policy, she concentrates on domestic and foreign policy matters and provides media commentary on topics as varied as presidential politics, the 2016 presidential election, various Congressional and gubernatorial campaigns and elections; the political participation and voting trends of African Americans, Latino’s, women and millennials, education reform and school choice, foreign policy and national security issues, and advancing democracy, economic liberty, and international human rights. Additionally, an outspoken advocate of the human rights of people of color, women, and religious minorities globally, she is, among other things, a passionate advocate of the significance of the Black Lives Matter movement and the #SayHerName campaign of the African American Policy Forum. She is the recipient of the Shirley Chisholm Trailblazers Award from the Metropolitan, Washington, D.C., Chapter of the National Congress of Black Women (2018); a Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from Howard University for Outstanding Post Graduate Achievement in the Fields of Media, Journalism and Public Policy (2015); the Anvil of Freedom Award for Journalism and Democracy from the University of Denver’s Edward W. and Charlotte A. Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media (2015); and on the Plaza of Heroines that forms the entryway to Carrie Chapman Catt Hall from the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University (2015). She is the author of “Naming the Sin: Are Churches Helping to Stop Domestic Violence or Enabling It,” Sojourner’s (December 2013), Moving America Toward Justice: The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, 1963-2013 (2013), Women’s Progress: How Women Are Wealthier, Healthier and More Independent Than Ever Before (2007) and is a contributing author to the National Urban League’s State of Black America 2009: Message to the President ( 2009) and Lifetime Network’s Secrets of Powerful Women: 25 Successful American Politicians Tell How They Got Where They Are – And What It’s Like (2010). Patton Boggs, LLP.Ms. Bernard holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and political science from Howard University, a Juris Doctor degree from The Georgetown University Law Center and is a 2003 graduate of Leadership Maryland.
It is no coincidence that as we gather to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote, that we also discuss women's leadership and the intersectionality of gender and race in times of crisis. The two have always gone hand-in-hand. From Hariett Tubman, to Sojurner Truth, to Mary Church Terrell to Ida B. Wells-Barnett, to Shirley Chisholm, to Angela Davis, to Audre Lorde, to Kimberlé Crenshaw, Black women have always led the way on issues of feminism and race.
I applaud the Maryland Commission for Women for listening to the voices of Black women and tackling issues of gender and race head on; they are the two of the most important issues facing American women and our democracy today, and it is my belief that Black women will lead the way.