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New York Law School

185 West Broadway

New York, NY 10013

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The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is excited to announce the launch of its Inaugural Racial Justice Institute, co-sponsored by New York Law School.

The Racial Justice Institute is dedicated to bringing together leading attorneys, activists, journalists, academics, and community leaders working on the front lines of the fight for racial justice. This free conference will feature a full day of programming addressing some of the country’s most pressing civil rights issues, including the criminalization of race and poverty, ensuring a fair and accurate 2020 Census count, and why courts matter.


PLEASE NOTE: While Eventbrite registration is sold out, same-day registrations at the door will be welcomed until capacity is reached.


RJI Agenda

8:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
Registration and Light Breakfast

Grand Gallery

9:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Opening Remarks

Room A14

Speakers

  • Anthony W. Crowell, Dean and President, New York Law School
  • Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Lewis Steel '63. Founder, Lewis Steel Racial Justice Fellow Program. Senior Counsel, Outten & Golden

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.

Morning Plenary: Civil Rights Litigation in the Current Judicial Environment

Room A14

This panel will discuss the challenges in litigating civil rights in the federal courts as the Supreme Court and other federal courts have become increasingly more conservative. The panel will discuss recent civil rights decisions of the Supreme Court and lower federal courts, as well as some of the strategic issues civil rights groups are considering.

Speakers

  • Moderator: Jon Greenbaum, Chief Counsel, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • ReNika Moore, Director, Racial Justice Program, American Civil Liberties Union
  • Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Incl.
  • Hon. Shira Scheindlin, retired U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York

1.5 CLE credits in Areas of Professional Practice, NY transitional and nontransitional

11am – 11:15am

Coffee Break

Grand Gallery

11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

Morning Breakout Sessions

21st-Century Barriers to the Vote

Room A14

Over the past decade, 23 states have enacted legislation creating barriers to the vote. Six years ago, the Supreme Court removed the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. In recent years, the U.S. Department of Justice has appeared to abdicate its role as the enforcer of voting rights, having not filed a single suit under the Voting Rights Act since January 2017. This perfect storm has resulted in increased barriers faced by communities of color to their exercise of the franchise. In response, state and national voting rights and civic engagement organizations have been working together to defend the right to vote and to advocate for reforms that will allow for increased access to the ballot. This discussion will explore the express and subtle means that states, local governments, and private parties use to create obstacles to the vote, as well as strategies employed to overcome them.

Speakers

  • Marcia Johnson-Blanco, Co-Director, Voting Rights Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Ezra Rosenberg, Co-Director, Voting Rights Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Susan Lerner, Executive Director, Common Cause New York
  • Myrna Perez, Director, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice
  • Jerry Vatamalla, Director, Democracy Program, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Leah Aden, Deputy Director of Litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.

1 CLE credit in Areas of Professional Practice, NY transitional and nontransitional

#MeToo: How Women of Color Navigate Their Workplaces

Room W300

This panel will be designed to solicit an engaging conversation regarding the prevalence of workplace harassment of women of color in various sectors. The panel will explore the impact of strong anti-harassment legislation on communities of color, and how businesses and unions can play a role in creating safer and more inclusive workplaces for women of color in the United States and abroad. The panel will also explore the impact that the #MeToo movement has had on communities of color internationally.

Speakers

  • Moderator: Phylicia H. Hill, Associate Counsel, Economic Justice Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
  • Penelope Andrews, Co-Director of the Racial Justice Project and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law, New York Law School
  • Brittny Saunders, Deputy Commissioner for Strategic Initiatives, New York City Commission on Human Rights
  • Melissa S. Woods, Of Counsel, Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP

*No CLE Credit offered

The State of Hate in America: Then and Now

Room W301

Reported hate crimes are on the rise, devastating individuals and entire communities. Join us for a conversation regarding hate in America. We will discuss lessons learned and what advocates and community members can do to strengthen their capacity to combat hate. Participants will be given an opportunity to engage during a question and answer session.

Speakers

  • Moderator: Becky Monroe, Director of the Divided Communities Project and Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
  • Louvon Byrd Harris, sister of James Byrd Jr. and President, The Byrd Foundation for Racial Healing*
  • Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer** and Co-Founder, Heather Heyer Foundation
  • Nadia Aziz, Policy Counsel and Co-Interim Director, Stop Hate Project***, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Arusha Gordon, Counsel and Co-Interim Director, Stop Hate Project***, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

*The Byrd Foundation for Racial Healing fights racially motivated hate through education and enlightenment. In 1998, James Byrd Jr. was murdered in what has become one of the most high-profile hate crimes in American history. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act, signed into law in 2009 by President Barack Obama, is named for James Byrd Jr.

** Heather Heyer was a young civil rights activist murdered in a hate crime in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 as she joined peaceful counter-protestors rallying against the Unite the Right Rally. Ms. Bro co-founded the Heather Heyer Foundation in her daughter’s memory and works to fight racism and improve hate crime reporting.

***The Stop Hate Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law works to strengthen the capacity of community leaders, law enforcement, and organizations around the country to combat hate. The Project is at the forefront of policy work, both on Capitol Hill and with private tech companies, aimed at fighting hate online and in the real world. The Project also engages in creative litigation to hold white supremacists and others accountable for hateful activity.

1 CLE credit in Diversity, Inclusion, and Elimination of Bias, NY transitional and nontransitional

12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m.
Lunch & Fireside Chat

Events Center, Second Floor

Speakers

  • Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Alvin Bragg, Visiting Professor and Co-Director, Racial Justice Project, New York Law School
  • Janell Ross, Reporter, NBC News


1:45 p.m.–2:45 p.m.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Disparate Impact Under the Fair Housing Act After Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project

Room W300

This panel will highlight the importance of the Fair Housing Act’s disparate impact standard for attempts to dismantle structural racism in housing and provide an overview of the obstacles that have arisen in some disparate impact lawsuits since the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision upholding the disparate impact standard.

Speakers

  • Moderator: Sarah Carthen Watson, George N. Lindsay Fellow & Associate Counsel, Fair Housing and Development Project, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Stanley (Stan) J. Brown, Senior Counsel, Hogan Lovells
  • Jessica Clarke, Of Counsel, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP
  • Thomas Silverstein, Counsel, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

1 CLE credit in Areas of Professional Practice, NY transitional and nontransitional

Black Perspectives: At the Intersection of Racial Justice and Immigration

Room W301

Black immigrants are one of the fastest growing groups in the United States. However, their voices have been largely absent from the mainstream immigration conversation. This panel will feature an in-depth discussion about the unique position of Black immigrants in the United States immigration debate, the intersection of immigration advocacy and racial justice, and recent litigation filed on behalf of Black immigrant communities.


Speakers

  • Moderator: Chauniqua Young, Outten & Golden LLP
  • Carl Hamad-Lipscombe, Deputy Director, Black Alliance for Just Immigration
  • Maryum Jordan, Counsel, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Amaha Kassa, Founder and Executive Director, African Communities Together
  • Patrice Lawrence, National Policy and Advocacy Director, UndocuBlack

*No CLE Credit offered


Legal Challenges to Efforts to Promote Diversity and Educational Equity in K-12 Schools

Room A14

Over the past year, there have been a number of legal challenges filed to voluntary efforts by K-12 schools to promote more diverse and integrated learning environments. These cases, and others like them, ask whether uniform admissions standards and high-stakes testing are objective measures of merit or create an unfair advantage or disadvantage to certain minority groups, or whether magnet programs or controlled choice amounts to intentional discrimination. This panel will explore the emerging threats to the constitutionality of voluntary efforts to increase racial diversity within schools by focusing on the efforts of Mayor de Blasio and his Department of Education to improve diversity at the competitive high schools in New York City.

Speakers

  • Moderator: Genzie Bonadies Torres, Educational Opportunities Project, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Syed Ali, Professor of Sociology, Long Island University-Brooklyn
  • Sadye Campoamor, Director of Community Affairs, New York City Department of Education
  • Rachel Kleinman, Senior Counsel & Director of Professional Development, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
  • Leanne Nunes, Director of Equity, IntegrateNYC
  • Shino Tanikawa, Parent and Advocate

1 CLE credit in Areas of Professional Practice, NY transitional and nontransitional

2:45pm – 3pm

Coffee Break

Grand Gallery

3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

Afternoon Plenary

Central Issues to Criminal Justice: Challenges and Promising Reforms

Room A14

While there is growing consensus around the need for criminal justice reform, the methods for effecting change are endless. This panel will bring a racial justice lens to discussion of four pressing criminal justice issues: the use of court debt to criminalize poverty, ways to prevent police misconduct, competing priorities of bail reform, and the recent push for open discovery laws. The panel will explain each issue and the fundamental questions it poses, as well as recommend practical options for reform.

Speakers

  • Moderator: Tali Farhadian Weinstein, General Counsel of the Kings County District Attorney’s Office
  • Kenneth Polite, former U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Louisiana; Partner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
  • John Schoeffel, Attorney, The Legal Aid Society Criminal Defense Special Litigation and Training Units
  • Joanna Weiss, co-founder and co-Director, Fines and Fees Justice Center
  • Scott Levy, Special Counsel, Bronx Defenders

1.5 CLE credits in Areas of Professional Practice, NY transitional and nontransitional

4:30PM – 5:30PM
Keynote Address and Closing Remarks

A14

Keynote delivered by New York Public Advocate, Jumaane Williams

Followed by Q & A with Professor Chrissy Greer, Fordham University

Closing remarks from Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under law

5:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m.

Reception

Grand Gallery

FAQs

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please email RJICommittee@LawyersCommittee.org for questions or concerns

Are CLE credits available?

Application for New York accreditation of certain panels, as indicated above, is currently pending.
Please note NYLS is only accredited to provide CLE in New York State. However, there may be reciprocity with New Jersey. Attorneys from other states will have to inquire with their respective State CLE Board about what the process is, if any, for reciprocity.

Will Waitlist tickets be honored?

Yes! Your waitlist ticket will grant you admission.


Date and Time

Location

New York Law School

185 West Broadway

New York, NY 10013

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