Melvina Ford


National Legal Director

Equal Rights Advocates

Melvina Ford is the National Legal Director of Equal Rights Advocates, a national non-profit advancing the rights of women and girls and gender expansive people through policy reform, litigation, community education, and movement building. Ford oversees ERA’s various legal initiatives, including impact litigation and campaigns creating pathways for women of color into higher wage jobs. Ford’s career spans nonprofit leadership, civil rights litigation, and labor and employment policy advising. Prior to joining ERA, she was the Interim Chief Legal Officer for the Southern Poverty Law Center, where she oversaw litigation strategy and operations for the legal department and was charged with seeking justice for marginalized communities in the South. Her portfolio covered voting rights, criminal justice reform, children’s rights, LGBTQ+ discrimination, economic justice, and more. Melvina also served as a political appointee in President Obama’s administration at the U.S. Department of Labor, providing counsel on enforcement and regulatory issues for the Wage and Hour Division and moving the division toward a focus on the strategic enforcement of wage and hour laws. Ford also held CEO roles at both the Equal Rights Center and the D.C. Employment Justice Center.