Joint Center Updates


Joint Center Mourns Passing of Cassandra Quin Butts

“On behalf of the Joint Center and our elected officials and policy experts who serve communities of color, I want to express our sadness and loss upon learning of the passing of Cassandra Butts,” said Joint Center President Spencer Overton.

Cassandra Quin Butts was a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and Harvard Law School, and she passed away this week at the age of 50. She was at the center of race and inclusion throughout her career. She made major contributions to the legal and policy community while working with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Representative Dick Gephardt, the Center for American Progress, the Office of the White House Counsel, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. In 2014 she was nominated by President Obama to be U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas.

“Cassandra’s passing represents a major loss for the cause of inclusion in the United States and abroad,” said Overton. “I first met Cassandra when we were in law school, and I later had the privilege to work for her on the Obama transition and in the Administration. Throughout our friendship, I benefited from her mentoring, advice, and example.”

“Cassandra represented the best of us–she was both smart and committed to using her skills to improve the lives of others. Although she was a major leader in civil rights and development policy, Cassandra had no pretense,” said Overton. “Cassandra was selfless, and she always focused on the interests of excluded people. Her optimism, openness, smile, and ability to listen and empathize put others at ease, and allowed for real and meaningful conversation. She had a rare spirit, and we will miss her deeply.”

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