Constance L. "Connie" Rice is a civil rights activist and lawyer. She is also the co-founder and co-director of the Advancement Project in Los Angeles. She has received more than 50 major awards for her work in expanding opportunity and advancing multi-racial democracy.
California Law Business Journal twice designated her one of the top ten most influential attorneys in California. She regards Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as one of the greatest Americans that our nation has ever produced, and his legacy and philosophies have shaped her calling and career. Her biography, "Power Concedes Nothing", is a hard-hitting memoir chronicling a fiercely dedicated woman’s quest to win the first of all human rights: freedom from violence.
Through impact litigation, campaigns and inside bureaucratic maneuvering, she has led coalitions and clients to win more than $30 billion in damages, bonds and policy changes. Bus riders, death row inmates, folks abused by police, school kids, whistleblowers, cops and sufferers of every stripe of discrimination, (sex, race, disability, age) have sought her counsel. But so have her opponents, like the Los Angeles Police Department whom she sued for 15 years to effect change in underrepresented communities.
Connie grew up all over the world in an Air Force family headed by her parents Anna, a biology teacher, and Phillip, a pilot and Colonel. She graduated from Harvard-Radcliffe colleges in 1978, achieved her black belt in Tae Kwon Do in 1981 and entered New York University School of Law on a Root Tilden Scholarship. In law school, she worked extensively on capital punishment cases at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and after graduating from law school in 1984. She rejoined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in 1989 as Western Regional Counsel, won several landmark cases and in the words of one magazine, established herself as “the voice of Los Angeles’ oppressed.”