Closing Plenary Speaker

Chairman Leon W. Russell

Leon W. Russell was elected Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors at its Annual Board of Directors meeting in New York on February 18, 2017.  Mr. Russell has served as a member of the NAACP National Board of Directors since 1990.

Mr. Russell retired in January 2012 after serving as the Director of the Office of Human Rights for Pinellas County Government, Clearwater, Florida since January 1977.  In this position, Mr. Russell was responsible for implementing the county’s Affirmative Action and Human Rights Ordinances which provide for the development of a racially and sexually diverse workforce reflecting the general make-up of the local civilian labor force and the implementation of the county’s Equal Employment Opportunity Programs. Programs involved in the implementation of this ordinance cover employees in all the departments under the County Administrator and the five Constitutional Officer.

The Pinellas County Human Rights Ordinance provides protection from illegal discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations for the county’s 923,000 residents. This ordinance has been deemed “substantially equivalent” to Title VIII of the 1968 Federal Fair Housing Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Over five hundred formal complaints of discrimination are filed under the ordinance annually.