Hilary O. Shelton, presently serves as the Director to the NAACP’s Washington Bureau / Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy. The Washington Bureau is the federal legislative and national public policy division of the over 500,000- member, 2,200-membership unit, national civil rights organization. In this capacity, Mr. Shelton is responsible for advocating the federal public policy issue agenda of the oldest, largest, and most widely recognized civil rights organization in the United States to the U.S. Government. Mr. Shelton’s government affairs portfolio includes crucial issues such as affirmative action, equal employment protection, access to quality education, stopping gun violence, ending racial profiling, abolition of the death penalty, access to comprehensive healthcare, voting rights protection, federal sentencing reform and a host of civil rights enforcement, expansion and protection issues.
Prior to serving as director to the NAACP Washington Bureau, Mr. Shelton served in the position of Federal Liaison/Assistant Director to the Government Affairs Department of The College Fund/UNCF, also known as The United Negro College Fund in Washington, D.C. In this capacity, Mr. Shelton worked with Senate and House Members of the U.S. Congress, Federal Agencies and Departments, college and university presidents and faculty members, as well as the White House and various government agencies to secure the survival, growth and educational programming excellence of the 40 private historically black colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Prior to working for The College Fund/UNCF, Mr. Shelton served as the Federal Policy Program Director to the 8.5 million-member United Methodist Churches’ social justice advocacy agency, The General Board of Church & Society. In this capacity, Mr. Shelton advocated for the national and international United Methodist Churches’ public policy agenda affecting a wide range of civil rights and civil liberties issues including preserving equal opportunity programs such as affirmative action, securing equal high quality public education for all Americans, guaranteeing greater access to higher education and strengthening our nation’s historically Black colleges and universities, abolition of the death penalty, reforming the criminal justice system, voting rights protection and expansion, gun control and a host of other social justice policy concerns.
Mr. Shelton serves on a number of national boards of directors, including the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute among many others.
Playing an integral role in the crafting and final passage of such crucial federal legislation as the Civil Rights Act of 1991, Mr. Shelton was also instrumental in ushering through to passage, The Civil Rights Restoration Act, The Violence Against Women Act, The Hate Crimes Statistics Act, The Native American Free Exercise of Religion Act, The National Voter Registration Act, The National Assault Weapons Ban, The Brady Handgun Law, Reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act and many other crucial laws and policy measures affecting the quality of our lives and equality in our society.
Mr. Shelton has humbly received a number of awards and recognitions for his unwavering dedication to the mission and goals of the NAACP. Among the many awards to which he is most grateful for receiving, Mr. Shelton is the proud recipient of the National NAACP Medgar W. Evers Award for Excellence, the highest honor bestowed upon a national professional staff member of the NAACP for Outstanding Service, Sincere Dedication and Commitment to the Mission of the NAACP, the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s Excellence in Advocacy Award, the Religious Action Center’s Civil Rights Leadership Award in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Religious Action Center awards the Civil Rights Leadership Award to outstanding leaders in the black and Jewish communities, 2006 NCADP 30th Anniversary Award as well as the Congressional Black Caucus’ Chairman’s Award In Recognition and Appreciation for Dedication, Leadership and Commitment to Advancing the Cause of Civil Rights for All Americans.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, to a family of 6 brothers and sisters, Mr. Shelton holds degrees in political science, communications, and legal studies from Howard University in Washington, D.C., the University of Missouri in St. Louis, and Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, respectively.
Mr. Shelton presently lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife Paula Young Shelton and their three sons, masters Caleb Wesley, Aaron Joshua, and Noah Ottis Young Shelton.