Michelle D. Bernard

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Michelle D. Bernard is is a lawyer, political and policy analyst, media commentator, author, columnist, and president and CEO of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics & Public Policy

An attorney by training, Michelle D. Bernard is a political and policy analyst and social critic.  Additionally, Ms. Bernard is an author, a contributor to The Huffington Post and The Root, a columnist for The Seventy Four, a non-profit, non-partisan news site covering education in America, and is the president & CEO of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics & Public Policy where she concentrates on domestic and foreign policy matters, particularly matters of racial, social and gender justice and the advancement of democracy, economic liberty, and the human rights of women and ethnic and religious minorities globally.  Fiercely independent in her political views, Ms. Bernard, an advocate of transpartisanship, believes that American democracy is best served when the electorate votes for candidates and issues rather than on the basis of political ideology or party affiliation. 

Ms. Bernard is an outspoken advocate of women’s human rights globally and has assisted in the development and implementation of training programs built on the pillars of democracy, women’s rights and religious freedom, political activism in a democracy, issues of governance, free markets, and non-governmental organizations.  Additionally, Ms. Bernard is, among other things, a passionate advocate of the significance of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, restoration of the Voting Rights Act and other matters of racial and gender justice. She is an outspoken critic of the execution of stand your ground laws, “show your papers” immigration laws which she argues promote state sanctioned racial profiling, the-school-to-prison pipeline, K-12 public education based upon zip code, and the investigation, arrest, trial and incarceration of low-income women charged with the crime of stealing a public education.  On August 18, 2014, in the aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager who was killed by police on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, Ms. Bernard famously opined on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews that America had declared a “war on black boys and black men.” Fox News Channel Host Bill O’Reilly stated on his show that he was so incensed by what Bernard and others said that he cut his vacation short to rage against the media’s coverage of the events in Ferguson, stating, “The truth is that 91 percent of black homicide victims are killed by other blacks. Ninety-one percent. Yet [Michelle Bernard] tried to mislead folks by accusing American law enforcement of shooting down young black men in the streets. It’s beyond belief.” In response, Ms. Bernard, paraphrasing Jane Austen, has responded to O’Reilly’s comments, stating that,  “Angry men are not always wise. Whether we are Democrats, Republicans, or Independents, we have a moral responsibility to listen to the other side, and find areas of common ground. Black lives matter.”

On March 31, 2015, the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University announced that Ms. Bernard was being honored in the University’s Plaza of Heroines which honors women role models who have made an impact on their families, communities and society.  Also, on January 23, 2015, Mrs. Bernard was awarded the Anvil of Freedom Award for journalism and democracy by the University of Denver’s Edward W. and Charlotte A. Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media.  The Estlow Lecture series and the Anvil of Freedom Award were created to “offer recognition and honor to individuals whose careers demonstrate true leadership and commitment to democratic freedoms, ethics and integrity and recognize those who work to see journalism reach and maintain the highest standards.” Mrs. Bernard’s Estlow lecture was entitled, “America’s Promise: Moving America Toward True Racial, Social, and Gender Justice.”   Ms. Bernard was named in the November 2014 issue of Essence magazine as a “Rising Star” on its annual “Money & Power List” and in November 2015,  Upscale magazine named Ms. Bernard as one of “25 Power Players … who have defied traditions, the odds, and more to get where they are today – at the tops of their games.”

Ms. Bernard appears regularly as a political analyst or contributor on Al Jazeera America’s Third Rail; CNN’s Smerconish; HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher; MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, Up and MSNBC Live; The McLaughlin Group and TV One’s NewsOne Now with Roland Martin.  Ms. Bernard has guest hosted The Michael Smerconish Program on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s POTUS Channel and is a regular guest commentator on National Public Radio and WAMU ‘s The Diane Rehm Show.  In 2009, Ms. Bernard co-created and hosted MSNBC’s education reform television special, About Our Children.

Ms. Bernard is the author of  “Naming the Sin: Are Churches Helping to Stop Domestic Violence or Enabling It,” Sojourner’s (December 2013), Moving America Toward Justice: The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, 1963-2013 (2013), Women’s Progress: How Women Are Wealthier, Healthier and More Independent Than Ever Before (2007) and is a contributing author to the National Urban League’s State of Black America 2009: Message to the President ( 2009) and Lifetime Network’s Secrets of Powerful Women: 25 Successful American Politicians Tell How They Got Where They Are – And What It’s Like (2010).   Additionally, Mrs.  Bernard is the author of numerous opinion editorials that appeared in The Washington Post’s She The People blog from its inception in 2012 as a platform for exploring the intersection of women and politics and culture, through its farewell in early January 2015.

Ms. Bernard has been featured in several publications, including Essence.com, Fast Company magazine, Jamaque magazine, The Legal TimesThe 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, she has appeared on BBC Radio, CNN’s Smerconish and The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, C-SPAN’s Q&A with Brian Lamb and Washington Journal, MSNBC’s Decision ’08 with Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, Morning Joe,  NBC’s Today show and Nightly News Weekend Edition, and TV One’s NewsOne Now with Roland Martin and Washington Watch with Roland Martin.  Also, she has been a guest of  PBS’s This is America with Dennis Wholey, XM Satellite Radio’s presidential election channel POTUS, various hosts with XM’s The Power, and several  Middle Eastern radio and cable television programs.  Ms. Bernard’s opinion editorials and commentaries have appeared in the G8 Summit magazine, The Hill.com, The Huffington Post.com, US News and World ReportThe Washington Post’s She the People, the New York Post, the Philadelphia Daily News, The Root, and The Washington Times.

Ms. Bernard is a member of the Board of Trustees of Hampton University and sits on the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Opportunity in Education and the Executive Board of the International Women’s Forum of Washington, D.C. where she is the Leadership Foundation Liaison.  Additionally, she is a member of the Advisory Board of the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence and of the Journalism Advisory Board of The Seventy Four. Prior to founding the Bernard Center for Women, Politics & Public Policy and joining the Independent Women’s Forum, Ms. Bernard was a partner at the District of Columbia’s Squire Patton Boggs (then, Patton Boggs, LLP).

Ms. Bernard holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and political science from Howard University and a Juris Doctor degree from The Georgetown University Law Center.

Posts by Michelle D. Bernard

Blog Posts

Childhood Obesity

Children's Rights

Civil Rights

Criminal and Social Justice

Culture and Politics

Domestic and Economic Policy

Education and School Choice



Foreign Policy

In The News

International Children's Rights

International Women's Rights

Midterm Elections

Moms and Dads Know Best

News Releases


Policy Papers

Presidential Elections

Print Advertisements


Smart Government


Television and Video


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Women's Rights