Laura W. Murphy, President of Laura Murphy & Associates. is a business consultant and an influential national civil liberties and civil rights leader. She pioneered the process for conducting civil rights audits of businesses with her groundbreaking audit of Airbnb in 2016 and her widely reported audit of Facebook in 2020. Murphy recently authored a report, "The Rationale for and Key Elements of a Business Civil Rights Audit" that was endorsed by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and made possible by the financial support of The Ford Foundation. That report was developed in consultation with over 30 civil rights, worker rights and shareholder advocacy organizations.
Murphy helped Airbnb, the home-sharing company, on strengthening its policies and products to help promote civil rights values at the company. Murphy authored two reports, one in 2016 Airbnb's Work to Fight Discrimination and Build Inclusion and another in 2019 that outlined the steps Airbnb is taking to tackle discrimination. Influenced by her work, Airbnb is now the first consumer tech company to collect data to measure and evaluate discrimination on its platform in the US so it can take additional action against it.
Murphy also led a multiyear civil rights audit of Facebook, the world's largest social media company. She produced three reports, the final one issued in July of 2020. Murphy developed a process to solicit feedback from civil rights groups and members of Congress on ways that Facebook can better serve all of its communities. Murphy's work with Facebook led to many changes including the creation of a department of civil rights at Facebook, the first of its kind at a technology company or a corporation of its size.
Murphy brings more than 40 years of experience in government and advocacy, including 17 years as Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office where she advanced legislation on free speech, criminal justice reform, national security, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, civil rights, and Internet privacy before Congress and the White House. She has testified more than a dozen times before Congress and has been celebrated for building effective bipartisan coalitions.
Prior to her work with the ACLU, Murphy served as a cabinet member for the Mayor of the District of Columbia, as a chief of staff to a California Assembly Speaker, as an account executive for a public affairs firm, and as a legislative assistant for two members of Congress (the late Representatives Parren Mitchell (D-MD) and Shirley Chisholm (D-NY)).
Murphy was a 2016 fellow in the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University. She was recently featured in Businessweek, has been honored numerous times, and cited as top lobbyist by both Roll Call and The Hill newspapers. She received awards from three ACLU affiliates. The Congressional Black Caucus honored Murphy with the William L. Dawson Award for significant contributions to legislation addressing the needs of minorities in the United States. Murphy received the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award "for selfless and devoted service in the cause of equality" from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. In May of 2021, Murphy received the Impact Award from the Rainbow Push Coalition, headed by Rev. Jesse Jackson, for her work in Silicon Valley promoting inclusion and fighting bias. Laura W. Murphy has authored over 50 blogs and opinion pieces and chapters in four books, most recently, Journeys, An American Story: 72 Essays about Immigration and American Greatness and To the Front: Black Women and the Vote (hard copy only).