Elizabeth Hira is a Spitzer Fellow and Senior Policy Counsel with the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, focusing on large-scale democracy reform that centers equity. A passionate social justice advocate, Elizabeth worked most recently in the U.S. Congress developing federal policy on equity—first on then-Senator Kamala Harris’s legislative team with a portfolio encompassing judicial nominations, gender equity, civil and LGBT rights, criminal justice, and immigration, then on the U.S. Committee on House Administration, helping to generate what Mother Jones called “the most significant democracy reform bill introduced in Congress since the Watergate era”—the 116th Congress’s H.R. 1/For the People Act, which became the basis for the Freedom to Vote Act.
Over the course of her career, Elizabeth has developed meaningful expertise and a far-reaching network across a range of pressing issues and roles: consulting on long-term judicial strategy with the Center for Reproductive Rights; developing strategic advocacy campaigns to champion LGBTQ equality with Civitas Public Affairs Group; documenting the U.S.’s harmful solitary confinement practices abroad with Physicians for Human Rights; fighting to enable legal abortion access with a clinical team in Uganda; defending freedom of association for human rights and climate justice activists in South Africa through CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation; and working on behalf of Senator Tom Harkin to ensure World Bank Safeguard Policies protect people with disabilities.
A social entrepreneur who’s deeply energized by engaging everyday people in the democratic experiment, Elizabeth has shared the stage with sitting members of Congress, leading academics, and celebrity activists to spread the word about democracy reform. She’s also passionate about engaging the arts for equity, as evidenced by her one-woman show “Pursuing Guerrilla Equality,” developed with Broadway director Danny Sharron and the Manhattan performance venue Caveat, and her work to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion as a crossword puzzle tester for The New York Times. Elizabeth was born in the Caribbean, raised in Stamford, Connecticut, and currently resides in New York City. She earned her B.A. with honors in history from Stanford University, holds a J.D. from Georgetown Law, and is a member of the New York State Bar.