Tanya Greene, Director of Human Rights Watch’s US Program, leads the organization’s team focused on exposing and addressing human rights violations in the United States. Ms. Greene is an attorney with over 25 years of experience in advocacy, policy reform, community organizing, partnerships, and litigation aimed at challenging and dismantling racist structures and systems in the US criminal legal system and beyond. As a Black woman from a working-class family, including an immigrant parent, Ms. Greene uniquely understands the challenges of race and class and the vital importance of individual and community empowerment to achieve change.
Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, Ms. Greene provided direct representation to state and federal indigent capital clients across the country; throughout her career she has consulted on capital cases providing litigation and other resource support, and developed innovative, highly-regarded criminal defense education programs nationwide. Ms. Greene also spent five years as the inaugural national ACLU criminal justice Advocacy and Policy Counsel focused on death penalty, indigent defense, and juvenile justice policy reform issues; her work contributed to death penalty repeal in a number of states.
Ms. Greene served as the Death Penalty Resource Counsel for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), creating NACDL’s renowned Making the Case for Life annual conference. Ms. Greene has served on the Board of Directors of the NACDL, co-chair of the NACDL Death Penalty Committee, and as a member of that organization’s Public Defense Committee. She has served on the American Bar Association Death Penalty Due Process Project Advisory Committee, the Boards of Directors of the Gulf Region Advocacy Center in Houston, Texas, and the Atlantic Capital Representation Project in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and has been part of the National Association for Public Defense Death Penalty and Racial Justice subcommittees.
Ms. Greene has developed and implemented “street law” programs with the National Conference of Black Lawyers and the National Lawyers Guild bringing legal education to the community. As a young lawyer in 1999, she won the Reebok International Human Rights Award for her work against the death penalty and was profiled in Working Woman magazine. She has made numerous media appearances, taught and guest-lectured at law schools and colleges, and served as faculty at conferences across the country.