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January 09, 2023 CHAIR COLUMN

January CRSJ Chair's Column

Happy New Year! Has the first half of the bar year gone too fast, or is it just me? Nevertheless, the first half of the bar year for our Section has been busy! Here are a few highlights:

  1. We held a successful Joint Fall Section Meeting with the ABA Young Lawyers Division and the ABA Section of State & Local Government in Portland, OR. During the meeting multiple CLE programs were held, including: Perfecting Democracy Jeopardy; ABA Opportunities After YLD; Hot Topics from the Supreme Court; How to Become a Judge; and the Impact of Local Protest in Portland. We were also honored to have Oregon Secretary of State, Shemia Fagan, take us on a tour of her office and explain how they conduct elections in the State of Oregon.    
  2. The Section’s Perfecting Democracy Initiative was actively involved in protecting our democracy and securing the right to vote during the 2022 midterm elections. CRSJ connected lawyers from across the country to ensure that every vote counted!
  3. We have hosted 19 weekly Chair Chats this bar year! These weekly chats highlight the work of the Section and also offer an opportunity to discuss important civil rights issues. If you have missed any of them, please visit the CRSJ YouTube Channel or the Section's Chair Chat webpage.    

Please join us virtually on Thursday, January 26th when we will present past CRSJ Section Chair Kay Hodge with the 2023 Father Drinan Award! Kay has a long record of service in the ABA and has dedicated her life to public service, a continued commitment to the legal profession and has been a zealous advocate to advancing the causes of human rights, the rule of law, and civil rights.

As we move into the second half of the bar year, Save The Dates: March 30-31, 2023, when we will host our Economic Justice Summit in Washington, DC, at the Georgetown Law Center. We will gather to discuss poverty, the wealth gap, federal tax policy and other economic barriers that face so many in our society. We hope to develop policy solutions to address these economic issues that continue to plague our society. 

Finally, I hope to see you at the Section’s Midyear Meeting, which will be virtual (the schedule is listed on the CRSJ Midyear Meeting website), and in New Orleans for the ABA Midyear Meeting! At Midyear our Section will continue to be a leader in the ABA advancing the causes of civil rights and social justice. We have introduced a resolution in response to the Dobbs decision to protect a person’s right to travel when they need healthcare services and another resolution to make housing more affordable by offering a renter’s tax credit.  These and three other CRSJ resolutions will come before the House of Delegates on Monday, February 6th.    

I wish all of you a safe and wonderful New Year and please if you are not a member of our Section, please join us. Your voice is needed now more than ever.

Juan R. Thomas
Chair, Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice

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.

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