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August 16, 2023 CHAIR COLUMN

August CRSJ Chair's Column

If you missed the ABA Annual Meeting this year, you missed an amazing celebration of our Section’s work during this bar year! You missed our Section’s substantive programs concerning Native American Rights, environmental justice, and the implications regarding the recent Supreme Court decision in 303 Creative as well as on eliminating the consideration of affirmative action in higher education admissions.  If you missed Annual this year, you missed a wondering tribute to Attorney John Echohawk during our Thurgood Marshall Award Dinner! If you missed Annual this year, you missed the second African American woman to serve as ABA President pass the gavel to the first Native American woman to serve as ABA President!

For those of you who did not miss Annual this year, I want to thank you for your participation and support! I especially want to thank two of our Past Chairs who currently serve as our Section delegates to the House of Delegates, Mark Schickman and Wendy Mariner, for guiding and leading the passage of all of our Section’s resolutions through the House. We sponsored eight resolutions (we co-sponsored several others) that passed the House including a resolution urging local and state governments to stop the banning of books in public schools, the protection of patients’ abortion rights, the elimination of discrimination in capital punishment jury selection, and a call for the end of caste discrimination. We plan to bring back two more of our Section’s excellent resolutions at Midyear. I am particularly proud of the passage of the Renter Tax Credit Resolution because it was the culmination of our Section’s theme this year: Economic Justice. I am grateful for our collaboration and partnership with the ABA Section of Taxation to ensure the passage of this important resolution that will provide financial support to tenants of rental housing, such as a refundable tax credit for lower income renters, restoration of the Low-Income Child Tax Credit, and/or expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.

During this meeting, the Civil Rights & Social Justice Section received the ABA Section Officers Conference Diversity Scholarship Award for having the most members of a Section donate to the scholarship fund! This is the second year in a row that our Section has won this award.

I want to thank our Section staff and our interns for EVERYTHING! Paula, Alli, and Ruchika (who is now in law school) - you made this year a delight and I will never forget all you did to support my year as Chair!

Finally, to all of the members of the best Section in the ABA, thank you, thank you, and thank you again! I am forever grateful for the opportunity to lead our Section this year! I hope I made you proud.

    Juan R. Thomas

    ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, 2022-23 Chair

    Juan R. Thomas is the 2022-23 Chair of the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice and Past President of the National Bar Association (NBA). Currently, he is Of Counsel to Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., and is the founder and principal of The Thomas Law Group.