Issue Communications

Elevating the Conversation on Civil Rights

With the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law


01 / Background

2013 marked 50 years since the March on Washington and the founding of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law by President John F. Kennedy. A host of critical civil rights issues were up for consideration by the Supreme Court. GMMB was engaged to ensure that the Lawyers’ Committee’s experts on civil rights and social justice issues were tapped to provide their analysis of the decisions during this unique moment in time.

Public Relations / Digital / Movement Building

02 / Strategy

GMMB embarked on a two-part strategy. First, we worked to lay a foundation of trust and respect between the Lawyers’ Committee and reporters covering the Supreme Court cases and other civil rights issues. With those relationships as a foundation, we then developed and implemented a rapid response plan to make the Lawyers’ Committee’s insights available for reporters to include in the ongoing news coverage.


03 / Work

GMMB reviewed ongoing coverage of civil rights issues to identify the right reporters to reach leading up to the Supreme Court decisions and to make sure they were aware of relevant Lawyers’ Committee events and teleconferences, as well as interview availability. GMMB also developed media background documents on the cases that included the Lawyers’ Committee’s role, potential outcomes and possible implications.

To prepare for rapid response outreach immediately following each of the decisions, GMMB worked with the Lawyers’ Committee’s experts to prepare responses to each potential outcome and distributed statements to the media immediately after each decision was announced. We also monitored online media and sent the statements to be added to articles written about the decisions. GMMB provided on-site support to Lawyers’ Committee’s experts on the steps of the Supreme Court, and secured television and radio interviews for them with media outlets. GMMB also conducted similar rapid response outreach following the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial and changes in election laws to restrict voting in Texas and North Carolina.



04 / Results

GMMB’s efforts led to multiple interviews with the Lawyers’ Committee’s experts on CNN, FOX and MSNBC, as well as other network and cable news channels, local television stations, online and in print media. Media outlets and journalists continue to seek the Lawyers’ Committee’s commentary and analysis on pressing civil rights issues or events, such as voter suppression tactics or the March on Washington commemorative events. Lawyers’ Committee spokespeople are regularly asked to appear on shows on MSNBC, CNN, and others, and have conducted multiple interviews with national print outlets, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

GMMB is continuing work with the Lawyers’ Committee in 2016 to provide on-site and ongoing earned media support around voting rights, including a key Supreme Court case focused on election law and voter apportionment. GMMB has secured numerous media opportunities for President and Executive Director Kristen Clarke, and other Lawyers’ Committee experts, to provide comment on and analysis of these key issues for a number of national publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Huffington Post.