‘The Country Has To See Itself:’ 2017 MAKERS Honoree Sherrilyn Ifill
Matt McClain

Sherrilyn Ifill is the trailblazing force that has been leading the NAACP’s iconic Legal Defense Fund (LDF) for the last five years.

But as she tells it in this exclusive clip of her new MAKERS interview, excellence has always been in her sights.

“I never felt rocked by the low expectations that strangers would have of me,” the civil rights lawyer says in the video. “I knew that was the deal, and, in fact, part of the delight in smashing those low expectations.”

She became the seventh president and director-counsel of the LDF in 2012, years after she worked there as an assistant counsel advocating for voting rights. She also taught at the University of Maryland School of Law, where she inspired a new generation of civil rights lawyers. 

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The full interview is set to debut Tuesday at the 2017 MAKERS Conference, where Ifill will be honored as a guest speaker. Other attendees include Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, actress Eva Longoria and journalist Lydia Polgreen.

MAKERS is a storytelling platform that focuses on trailblazing women who are key in shaping today’s world. Past MAKERS include Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Shonda Rhimes. 

As for Ifill, her role at the LDF has never been more important with the uncertain times ahead.  

“We are undergoing tremendous change as a country,” she said. “And we have to be really grown up citizens and figure out what our roles will be in moving this country forward.”

You can also livestream Ifill’s MAKERS speech Tuesday on MAKERS.com