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When Race and the Environment Collide: The Impact of Systemic Racism on Environmental Justice

This program examines the impact of structural and systemic racism and its impact on the environment, specifically environmental justice, and intentionality. Panelists address the ongoing crisis in Flint, MI, and the continued failure to provide sufficient relief; tribal environmental issues including the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Trump Administration's 2020 waiver of environmental and cultural laws to allow the destruction of tribal burial grounds for the southern border wall; and the intersectionality of environmental justice and COVID-19 in terms of higher pollution and infection rates among people of color.

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Belly of the Beast Documentary and Discussion

When an unlikely duo discovers a pattern of illegal sterilizations in women’s prisons, they wage a near impossible battle against the Department of Corrections. Filmed over seven years with extraordinary access and intimate accounts from currently and formerly incarcerated people, Belly of the Beast exposes modern-day eugenics and reproductive injustice in California prisons.

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#BlackTaxpayersMatter: Intersection of Race, Tax Systems, Laws and Enforcement

Tax and spending systems are the most profound fiscal tools under the government’s control. Many aspects of tax systems worsen inequality, especially the racial wealth gap. Three nationally recognized expert panelists provide a deep dive into institutional racism in tax systems. Beginning with a broad overview focusing on racism in international and domestic tax systems targeting Black and Latinx taxpayers, the focus then narrows further looking at the disparate impact of taxpayer audits on communities of color. Finally, panelists suggest concrete strategies to start to remedy these wrongs.

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Reparations Roundtable

The conversation about reparations for American chattel slavery is increasingly noticeable, compelling and urgent to many people and institutions in our country. The ABA is part of the conversation, in that ABA policy supports a commission to study reparations. Notwithstanding the many challenges of getting started, and the "slippery slope" arguments that can easily derail a productive dialogue, the conversation is progressing and gaining momentum. We have a wealth of new ideas, new language and new ways of describing our society, all of which are fortifying the work of reparations advocates and changing hearts and minds on this topic.

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The Challenges in Providing COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Distribution for African American Communities

Dr. Karissa Culbreath, Medical Director of Infectious Diseases at TriCore Reference Laboratories reflects upon her work and her discussions with other leading medical doctors as they try to address the distrust that African Americans have regarding the public health system as it relates to the COVID-19 virus, testing and vaccine distribution.

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Restoration of Voting Rights: The Elimination of Felony Disenfranchisement

There is growing momentum to dismantle felony disenfranchisement and restore voting rights across the country. Maine and Vermont are the only states in which those convicted of a felony offense never lose their right to vote. In July 2020, Washington, DC joined Maine and Vermont in allowing those convicted of a felony to vote while incarcerated. Several other states have recently changed their laws to provide automatic restoration of the right to vote upon release from prison. In November 2020, California voters passed Proposition 17 which amended the state constitution to allow those on parole for a felony conviction to vote.

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Racial Disparities and Criminal Justice: A Conversation with Cheri Beasley and Ted Shaw

The evidence of differential treatment in the criminal justice system is overwhelming. According to the NAACP, Black and Hispanic individuals make up 32% of the population, but 56% those incarcerated. If Black and Hispanic individuals were incarcerated at the same rates as white individuals, prison and jail populations would decline by almost 40%. The problems that lead to these disparities are historically-rooted, systemic and ongoing. This discussion of racial disparities and the criminal justice system features former North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and former Director-General of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Ted Shaw.

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#BlackEconomistsMatter: Economic Justice Recommendations for the Biden Administration

Given the lack of diversity among economists, most economic research and scholarship notably exclude race, racism, and racial inequality, issues that the Biden Administration must address to improve America’s health, welfare, and financial well-being in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis. Three nationally recognized economists provide a deep dive into institutional and systemic discrimination in economics discussing why lack of diversity significantly undermines a functioning society. The focus then turns to specific recommendations for the Biden Administration to address debilitating inequality as it relates to the catastrophe of COVID-19 and beyond.

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Climate Effects on Communities of Color

The racism embedded in U.S. society and the associated historical and present-day injustices have subjected people of color to far greater environmental health hazards. It is not surprising that climate change, the result of a legacy of extraction, colonialism, and slavery, disproportionately impacts communities of color, poor people, and indigenous people. Further, racial inequality has left those most at risk from climate change with the fewest resources to cope. Climate action is, therefore, intimately tied to racial justice. This webinar examines the disparate impacts of climate on communities of color in the United States.

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Upcoming Programs

In order to serve and provide resources to our Section members, the greater ABA, and the general public, the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice presents a variety of webinars highlighting critical legal issues of civil liberties, human rights, and social justice.