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March 04, 2022 CHAIR COLUMN

March CRSJ Chair's Column

We stand in solidarity with our friends in the sovereign nation of Ukraine and condemn Russian aggression in the region, which violates international law and undermines the rule of law globally.

On a happier note, I am proud to congratulate Hon. Ketanji Brown Jackson on her historic nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

For other points of progress this month, I’d like to highlight the recent accomplishments of our Section. We had a wonderful Section Midyear Meeting at the beginning of February where we planned more resolutions, organized responses to pending legislation, participated in a microaggression training, and celebrated the Father Drinan Award recipient, Jerry Gardner. We then enjoyed the ABA Midyear Meeting where we successfully passed 10 resolutions as co-sponsors and celebrated the Spirit of Excellence winners, one of which was our former Chair, Kay Hodge. Also in February, we celebrated Black History Month with webinars spanning from affirmative action, to redlining, and racism’s impact on environmental justice.

We’re happy to collaborate with other ABA entities on a variety of important subjects:

  1. Co-sponsoring a 3-part series with the Commission on Women in the Profession and the Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity on assisted reproduction, transgender athletes, and the 50th Anniversary of Title IX, which we are thrilled to announce will be a Showcase Program at the ABA Annual Meeting in August.
  2. Co-sponsoring a Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence’s multi-part series on domestic violence and economic paths to safety
  3. Co-sponsoring a 5-part Senior Lawyer Division series on dementia
  4. Co-sponsoring a multi-part Commission on Immigration series on the mechanics of immigration courts

Our Civil Rights Civics Institute continues to evolve. So far, we’ve answered over 100 student questions about civil rights issues. However, we are in urgent need of reviewers who can make sure each answer has the appropriate tone and is educationally effective. If you are willing to help in this way, please contact Linda Herr. Also, please read this great article about the Institute from the ABA Journal.

I am so grateful for our members’ work to defeat the passage of anti-civil rights bills such as Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill (House Bill 1557), through our Policy Implementation Initiative and especially grateful for withdrawal of the amendment to that bill that would have required school personnel to inform a parent of their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Thank you to Michael Stratton for spearheading this effort.

Please join us for our Spring Meeting to be held April 27-29, 2022, in San Pedro, CA in conjunction with the ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty! We are looking forward to the first time we will get together in person as a Section in two years and hope you will share this time with us. We have a wonderful schedule planned with both educational and outreach opportunities. Please view this slideshow of the places we’ll visit during this great event and RSVP! We hope to see you there! In addition, our Committee and Liaison reports, as well as a discussion of pending resolutions and an implicit bias training will be held virtually on April 13, 2022. Please save the date!

Beth K. Whittenbury
Chair, Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Beth K. Whittenbury is the 2021-22 Chair of the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice and past leader of the ABA Commission on Youth at Risk. Currently, she is the Principal at Beth K. Whittenbury & Associates.