Named one of the most influential Black Americans in the country by EBONY Magazine, Kiara Pesante Haughton is a political communications and public relations strategist, public speaker, and event manager with over a decade of experience specializing in strategic partnerships, influence campaigns, brand development and special event design and execution.
She currently serves as the Director of Communications for the Civil Rights Corps, a non-profit organization dedicated to challenging systemic injustice in the American legal system through innovative, anti-racist litigation by partnering with individuals accused and convicted of crimes, their families and communities, people currently or formerly incarcerated, activists, organizers, judges, and government officials to challenge mass human caging and to create a legal system that promotes equity and human freedom. Previously, she was the Communications Director for the Democrats on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and Labor, where she was one of the youngest senior staffers in the chamber’s Democratic leadership. While there, she led the Democratic Caucus’ communications strategy around the Working Families Agenda and the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, while also promoting policies to close the achievement gaps in PK-12 education, reform school discipline practices, modernize the juvenile justice system, expand access to Pell Grants and make college more affordable, raise the minimum wage, provide paid sick and family leave for all workers, and more. She was also part of the battleground states press operation for the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Previously, she served as the Southern Regional Press Secretary and National Director of African American Media for the Democratic National Committee during the 2014 election cycle. While there, she led the party's media outreach and messaging efforts in 11 Southern states, working with those state parties, more than 40 campaigns and embedding in three on-the-ground. Prior to that, she was a battleground states radio and TV booker for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and Communications Director for D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh and the District’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment. While there, Pesante Haughton played an integral role in the expansion of Uber, Car2Go, and streetcar services in the city, along with the modernization of the District’s taxicab fleet. She has also served in various roles at Edelman Public Relations, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, and WSB-TV in Atlanta.
Pesante Haughton was named the 2017 Young Woman of Achievement for Politics and Campaigns by the Women's Information Network, was a member of the Women's Campaign School at Yale University's class of 2012, served as the first-ever IMPACT Social Media Fellow in 2011, and was one of 17 individuals selected from across the United States and Canada for the 2010 Google Policy Fellowship. She earned her Master’s in Public Administration from Howard University, where she was a Trustee Scholar. Her thesis focused on how political candidates and elected officials harnessed social media to reach communities of color. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Auburn University.
She is an active volunteer tutor with Reading Partners DC, and a supporter of Martha's Table and Thrive DC. In 2019, she was appointed to serve as a Commissioner for the Board of Real Estate Appraisers for the District of Columbia. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Faith in Texas and The Hill Preschool.
Fluent in Spanish, Pesante Haughton’s belief in civic and political engagement - particularly for women and girls - transcends geography and cultures. She is a dedicated public servant, who embraces the challenges of leadership and is the proud mentor of several young women.
Pesante Haughton was born in Brooklyn, New York, and has roots in Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Puerto Rico. She lives in Southeast Washington with her husband Malik Haughton and their daughter Zora.