The Changing Face of the Civil Rights Movement (UC Davis)

February 2, 2008

January 28 through February 2
Hosted by the NLG Chapter at UC Davis, King Hall
All events open to the public. 12-1 pm in the Wilkins Moot Courtroom.

At a time when we approach the possibility of immense political and cultural growth or regression, we must educate ourselves on the issues most pressing in our community. As future attorneys, we must build coalitions in spite of our differences and regardless of our educational and career goals. The events this week address a variety of concerns, but they are interrelated. Poverty, race, citizenship, and identity (real or presumed) affect us no matter where we come from or where we are going.

Monday January 28th: Representing Civil Rights

  • Patti Roberts, civil rights attorney in Oakland, CA

Patti Roberts is an attorney practicing in Oakland who has been active since law school in the areas of prisoners rights, women's rights, labor, civil rights and LGBT rights. She has represented employees in virtually all aspects of employment law, including cases of race, sex, religion, national original, sexual orientation, age and disability discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, breach of contract, family medical leave, as well as labor code violations and wage and hour claims. She is a member of NLG's Tom Steel Fellowship committee and is currently an Adjunct Professor at San Francisco State's Paralegal Certificate Program and San Francisco Community College's Labor Studies Program, where she teaches Legal Research and Writing, as well as Employment and Labor Law.

  • Pamela Price, civil rights attorney in Oakland, CA

Ms. Price is respected nationally as a tenacious and principled advocate. In 1993, and again in 2001, she received the Charles Houston Bar Association's Clinton W. White Advocacy Award. She is one of the youngest recipients of that distinguished honor and one of only three people ever to receive it twice. She received the 2002 CLAY Award for Employment Law from California Lawyer Magazine, March 2003. She was also honored in October 2003 by U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for her outstanding and invaluable service to the community. In 2004 and again in 2005, she was recognized as one of the top 50 women lawyers in Northern California. In 2006 and 2007, she was recognized as one of the top 100 lawyers in Northern California. In 2002, she successfully argued Morgan v. Nat'l Passenger Railroad Corp., 536 U.S.101 in the U.S. Supreme Court. Ms. Price is a member of the Charles Houston Bar Association and the California Association of Black Lawyers. She serves on the Executive Boards of the San Francisco Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights and the Friends Foundation

  • Erica Tomlinson, immigration attorney in Sacramento, CA

Erica Tomlinson practices immigration law at her two-attorney firm in Sacramento , Mahoney & Tomlinson. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of California , Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco (1999). Since becoming an attorney, she has practiced exclusively in the area of immigration law, representing individuals, families and employers in a wide range of immigration matters. She has represented clients in removal proceedings based on criminal convictions, as well as applicants for asylum, adjustment of status, and cancellation of removal. Many of her clients are undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central America . Ms. Tomlinson volunteers for community workshops and clinics sponsored by the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center .

  • Scott Williams, partner at Alexander, Berkey, Williams & Weathers, a firm committed to serving Native American tribes and tribal organizations throughout the United States and Canada. [confirmation determinate on court schedule]

In addition to representing Indian tribes and tribal organizations in litigation, Mr. Williams also provides ongoing advice and consultation on employment and personnel issues, on natural resources, and on governmental and corporate affairs. Illustrative cases include representation of healthier tribal interests in employment disputes throughout the country, health clinics in personnel and organizational matters, water rights disputes, protection of tribal land and cultural sites from environmental degradation, and defense of tribal sovereign immunity in tribal, state and federal courts.

Tuesday January 29th: The Queer Rights Movement

  • Alex Lee, of the TGI Justice Project

Alexander Lee is a community organizer and activist. In 2004, Alex launched the TGI Justice Project, a nonprofit that seeks to reduce incarceration rates of transgender, gender variant, and intersex people, and bring attention to the abuse TGI people frequently experience while imprisoned. He received his J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law, Boalt Hall in 2004. Before law school, Alex worked as a community organizer for TransAction – a joint project of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Community United Against Violence to organize the transgender and transsexual communities of San Francisco to end abuse from local law enforcement. Alex has also worked at Legal Services for Prisoners with Children as co-coordinator of the California Habeas Project, a statewide effort to assist imprisoned survivors of domestic violence challenge their imprisonment. And as a legal advocate with Justice Now, a teaching law clinic that works with women prisoners and local communities to build a safe, compassionate world without prisons.

  • Professor Courtney Joslin

Prior to joining the King Hall faculty, Professor Joslin was a Staff Attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the only national legal organization with a primary commitment to issues affecting lesbians and their families. Professor Joslin litigated family law and relationship recognition cases on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their families, as well as cases involving LGBT young people. She also was co-counsel in multiple lawsuits pending in California regarding the right of same-sex couples to marry. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and received her undergraduate degree at Brown University.

Wednesday January 30th: The Effect of Poverty on Civil Rights

  • Professor Lisa Ikemoto, discussing health care in poor communities

Professor Ikemoto's scholarship and community work focuses on race and gender issues in bioethics and health care. She has written extensively on genetic and assisted reproductive technology use, reproductive justice, and health care disparities issues.

  • Nwamaka Agbo, of the Ella Baker Center discussing environmental racism

Nwamaka Agbo was a double major in Sociology and African American Studies at UC Davis, she realized her passion is working to solve social justice issues and her future career would be a civil rights lawyer. After, moving to the Bay Area, Nwamaka began volunteering at the Ella Baker Center because she believed in the mission of the organization and its commitment to peace, justice and opportunity. Nwamaka is passionately committed to the work of the Green Collar Jobs Campaign because she believes that the pressing environmental justice concerns are the civil rights movement of her generation.

  • Mark Merin, a Sacramento Civil Rights Attorney discussing his work with the displacement of the Sacramento homeless

Mark Merin was named one of the two best attorneys in Sacramento by a "readers choice" poll conducted by the Sacramento News & Review in September of 2006. He is currently working in opposition to the infamous "Gang Injunction" of West Sacramento and has recently filed a lawsuit against the city of Sacramento for their abhorrent treatment of the homeless. In 2004 he won the largest settlement in the history of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department over strip-search violations at the county jail. Mr. Merin's work focuses largely on issues surrounding the 4th amendment, police misconduct, jail conditions and illegal searches.

Thursday January 31st: The Immigrant Rights Movement

  • Julia Mass from ACLU

Julia Harumi Mass is a staff attorney at the ACLU of Northern California. Since joining the ACLU in 2003, Julia has worked on a variety of civil rights and civil liberties issues involving students' rights, immigrants' rights, public employees' rights, and criminal justice. In 2005, she worked to secure the return of two U.S. citizens in Pakistan whom the U.S. government refused to allow them to return home without their submitting to interrogation and a lie detector test. In the last year, Julia has been involved in monitoring immigration enforcement practices, including a lawsuit on behalf of a young U.S. citizen boy who was held in detention with his father. Prior to 2003, Julia worked as a union lawyer in Pasadena, California and clerked for the Honorable Warren J. Ferguson on the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

  • Professor Jennifer Chacon

Jennifer Chacon is Assistant Professor of Law at the University of California, Davis. She is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School. After graduating from Yale, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Sidney R. Thomas, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Thereafter, she worked as an attorney with Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York City. She teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Immigration Law. Her research interests center upon the nexus of criminal law and procedure and more general issues of citizenship. Her publications are forthcoming in the Fordham Law Review and Connecticut Law Review. She is currently in the midst of finalizing an essay that deals with the meaning of the legacy of MLK and the Civil Rights Movement for the immigrants' rights movement.

  • Kim Seelinger from the UC Hastings Refugee and Human Rights Clinic

Prior to joining CGRS, Kim helped to develop a clinical law project at Yunnan University in the People's Republic of China, as the 2005-2006 Yale-China Association Clinical Legal Education Fellow. Before that, Kim was a staff attorney at the Lutheran Family & Community Services Immigration Unit in New York City, where she worked primarily in the areas of asylum and post-9/11 deportation defense. She graduated from New York University School of Law, where was a student in the Immigrant Rights Clinic. Kim has worked with the Hague Conference on Private International Law, as well as with the International Labour Organisation's Trafficking in Children and Women project in Hanoi, Vietnam.