About Us

Our History

For 50 years, we’ve fought groundbreaking legal battles in pursuit of a more equitable society.

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson created the Kerner Commission following a long hot summer of rebellion in dozens of U.S. cities. The Commission’s report concluded, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal.”

African Americans were routinely denied jobs, housing, and public accommodation. Women, immigrants, people in poverty, and people with disabilities also faced widespread and blatant discrimination. The Washington Lawyers’ Committee was born in that era and in response to the conditions described in that report. Working together with other civil rights groups, we have made remarkable progress.

Still, today the effects of historic and ongoing oppression are rampant in our city and our region. Discrimination may be less explicit, but an equitable and just society remains a distant dream — and the damage done from decades of bias remains.

This is the civil rights work of our time and there is no room for any of us to remain on the sidelines. Join us in making the most of this historic moment.