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*On this date in 1963, Michelle Bernard was born. She is a Black author, journalist, and lawyer.
A native Washingtonian, her parents emigrated from Jamaica to the nation's capital. Michelle D. Bernard graduated from Howard University with a B.A. in Philosophy and a minor in Political Science. She has a J.D. degree from the Georgetown University Law Center and was a partner at the lobbyist and law firm Patton Boggs. In 2000, she was a member of the Bush-Cheney Presidential Inaugural Committee. She was formerly President and CEO of Independent Women's Forum and Independent Women's Voice. She was the chair for the District of Columbia's Redevelopment Land Agency.
As a political and legal analyst, Bernard has spoken on topics as varied as faith and foreign policy, the War in Iraq, the political participation and voting trends of Blacks and women, and advancing democracy, economic liberty, and the human rights of women, ethnic and religious minorities around the world. Bernard has been featured in several publications, including Fast Company magazine, The Legal Times, The New York Daily News, The Washington Business Journal, The Washington City Paper, The Washington Lawyer, The Washington Post, The Washington Post Sunday Magazine, and The Washington Times.
Additionally, Bernard has been prominently featured in the Observer and the Gleaner, two of Jamaica's leading national newspapers. Her television and radio appearances include America's Black Forum, BBC Radio, CNBC's The Dennis Miller Show, C-SPAN's Washington Journal, Court TV's Catherine Crier Live, Good Morning Jamaica, MSNBC, PBS's Evening Exchange and To the Contrary, NPR's Tavis Smiley Show and KLAS FM 89 (Jamaica). Previously Bernard leads IWF's Iraqi women's democracy initiative and is the program officer of the Iraqi Women's Educational Institute (IWEI). IWEI is a joint project of IWF, the American Islamic Congress, and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Since joining IWF, Bernard has worked with the Women's Alliance for a Democratic Iraq, delegations of Iraqi women activists, and others to promote the full economic, social and political participation of Iraqi women as Iraq moves towards its January 2005 elections.
Bernard has been a driving force in promoting the human rights of women, and ethnic and religious minorities. She has assisted in developing and implementing training programs on the pillars of democracy, women's rights and religious freedom, political activism in a democracy, issues of governance, free markets, and micro-enterprise. Additionally, Bernard has assisted in developing and implementing briefings for Iraqi women on the Economic Index of Freedom, Literacy, and Polling.
Bernard also has experience in constitutional law, international human rights, international business law, and domestic and international legislative matters, emphasizing matters about women and ethnic and religious minorities in emerging democracies. Bernard has worked on matters about or in the Caribbean and Latin America, the Middle East, southern Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, Bernard has experience defending complex federal and state litigation, concentrating on civil and criminal enforcement issues, election law litigation, and white-collar criminal defense. She has extensive experience in matters involving the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the civil and criminal provisions of the U.S. False Claims Act.
She was remarried in 2014 and is the mother of two children from her previous marriage to correspondent Joe Johns. Bernard received the Anvil of Freedom Award for Journalism and Democracy from the University of Denver's Estlow International Center for Journalism & New Media on January 23, 2015. Also, she was named in November 2014 by Essence Magazine as a Rising Star in their Money & Power list.