Michelle D. Bernard

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Michelle D. Bernard is a lawyer, political analyst, pundit and opinion maker, social critic, author, columnist, public speaker, and president and CEO of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics & Public Policy

An attorney by training, Michelle D. Bernard is a political and social justice journalist, pundit and opinion maker, social critic, author, columnist, and public speaker. Ms. Bernard is fiercely independent in her political views and is particularly interested in how national and local politics, policy, and elections affect matters of racial, social and gender justice, the economy, education reform and the digital divide, national security, terrorism and the military, and the advancement of democracy, economic liberty, and the human rights of women and ethnic and religious minorities globally.

As the president & CEO of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics & Public Policy, she concentrates on domestic and foreign policy matters and provides commentary on topics as varied as presidential politics, the 2008, 20012, 2016, and 2020 presidential elections, various Congressional and gubernatorial campaigns and elections; the political participation and voting trends of African Americans, Latino’s, women and millennials, education reform and school choice, foreign policy and national security issues, and advancing democracy, economic liberty, and international human rights. An outspoken advocate of the human rights of people of color, women, and religious minorities globally, Ms. Bernard is, among other things, a passionate advocate of the significance of the Black Lives Matter movement and the #SayHerName campaign of the African American Policy Forum. An ardent advocate of women’s human rights, Ms. Bernard 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 in Asia and the Middle East.

In March 2018, the National Congress of Black Women awarded Ms. Bernard the 11th Annual Shirley Chisholm Memorial Trailblazers Award. In March 2016, Mrs. Bernard was awarded a distinguished alumni achievement award from Howard University for outstanding post-graduate achievement in the fields of media, journalism and public policy. In 2015, she 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. Later that year, the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University announced that Ms. Bernard was being honored on the University’s Plaza of Heroines. Also, later that year, “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 was named in the November 2014 issue of “Essence” magazine as a “Rising Star” on its annual “Money & Power List.” Additionally, Ms. Bernard has been featured in several publications, including “Essence.com,” “Fast Company” magazine, “Jamaque” magazine, “The Legal Times,” “The Nation,” “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.”

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 and commentaries that have appeared in various publications, including, but not limited to, “Politico Magazine,” “Roll Call,” ” Sidewire,” “U.S. News and World Report,” “The 74,” The Hill,” “The Huffington Post,” and “The Root.” Additionally, Ms. Bernard wrote several opinion editorials for “The Washington Post’s She The People” from 2014 until that feature was discontinued.

Ms. Bernard has appeared regularly as a political analyst and media commentator on Al Jazeera’s “The Third Rail,” CNN’s “Smerconish,” HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” MSNBC’s Election 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020 programming, “All In with Chris Hayes,” “AM Joy,” “The Beat with Ari Melber,” “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams,” “MSNBC Live,” and “Weekends with Alex Witt.”  She has appeared as a panelist on  TV One’s “News One Now with Roland Martin” and frequently guest hosted “Washington Watch with Roland Martin” until that program ended.  In 2008, she joined “The McLaughlin Group” as a rotating panelist and appeared on that program until 2016 when the original program ended.  In 2009, Ms. Bernard co-created and hosted MSNBC’s education reform television special, “About Our Children.”

Ms. Bernard is a member of the Board of Directors of the Calculus Roundtable and the McLean Project for the Arts. She is a member of the International Women’s Forum of Washington, D.C. and served as its Leadership Foundation Liaison from 2013 to 2015. She is a former member of  the Board of Directors of the Adams National Bank, the Board of Directors of the Ellington Fund of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, the Board of Trustees of Hampton University, and the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Opportunity in Education. Prior to founding the Bernard Center, among other things, Ms. Bernard was once a partner at the District of Columbia’s law firm, 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

Congressional Elections

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 Debates

Presidential Elections

Presidential Politics

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Sidewire Chats

Smart Government


Television and Video


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Women's Rights