William J. Roberts is the senior vice president for Rights and Justice at American Progress, where he leads the organization’s crosscutting work on bold, large-scale policy solutions that advance rights, justice, and equity and seize the current opportunity to build a better America where all people have an equal opportunity to thrive. Roberts has had a long career in and out of government, focused on civil rights and the removal of structural barriers that reduce access to opportunity for all Americans. In his role at American Progress, Roberts leads the development, communication, and execution of policy that cuts across the issues of criminal justice, disability justice, gun violence prevention, immigration, LGBTQI+ rights, and racial equity and justice.
He is the former managing director for Structural Reform and Governance at American Progress, previously leading the organization’s democracy work and playing a strategic role in its courts and legal policy work. Roberts has broad expertise in civil rights, racial justice, and pro-democracy work, in addition to a diverse set of domestic policy issues and deep experience in government and advocacy. He has appeared in U.S. and international television, print, and radio news outlets to discuss those issues.
Prior to joining American Progress, Roberts was the legislative director and chief counsel for Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD). As the leader of Rep. Raskin’s legislative team, he developed policy and legislative strategy and oversaw Rep. Raskin’s work on the House Judiciary, Oversight, Administration, and Rules committees.
He is a proud alumnus of Howard University, where he obtained his law degree and bachelor’s degree cum laude in political science. He serves on the boards of various community-serving nonprofits in Montgomery County, Maryland, and he recently served as the co-chair of the Housing Policy Transition Committee for Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D).