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September 09, 2021 CHAIR COLUMN

Sept. 10, 2021 CRSJ Chair's Column

I don’t intend to make it a practice to send you more than one Chair's Column per month. However, I know we've all been feeling the burden of fighting for our causes on every front and some of us may be tempted to feel discouraged or tired. I hope you find renewed energy in the fact that we are continuing to meet every challenge. We have the strength wisdom and fortitude to do so for as long as we’re needed. Each day, I give gratitude for the wonderful members of our Section who devote their spare time to work to advance the rule of law, equity, fairness and basic human dignity and who do so with such grace. I’m humbled by your example and wish to thank you.

Please know that in the last few weeks, we have responded to the events in Afghanistan and will continue to do so by pointing you to ways you can help and through further webinars which explore the complicated issues involved in that situation. Please join us on Monday, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET, for our next webinar, "Afghanistan on the Brink: Risk Assessment for Women’s Rights, Cultural Heritage Preservation and Economic Relief". Thank you to Nadia Ahmad for envisioning this program and spearheading this effort.

We are addressing the issues in Haiti through a webinar on Wednesday envisioned and spearheaded by Janel George and Karla McKanders. If you’re looking for ways to help the victims of Hurricane Ida, please check out our Civil Rights Connection for a list of entities offering pro bono opportunities. We are also looking for ways to respond to the new Texas abortion law and the U.S. Supreme Court’s response through use of its shadow docket. Our Fair Elections and Voting Rights Task Force has just stood up an active agenda for the year. Our Religious Freedom Committee is tackling the issue of religious objections to COVID-19 vaccination mandates through a webinar on September 23, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m ET.. We are also actively looking for ways to make everything we do accessible to all, and I wish to thank Vice Chair Robin Runge for highlighting the need for our Section to lead the way in accommodating those with disabilities. Frankly, more good work goes on within our Section than I have room to list here. So, I thank all our committees which form the backbone of our Section and all our members who work each day to make this a better place to live for all of us.

As was sent to you yesterday, we are accepting nominations for our open ABA House of Delegates position through September 17, 2021. To clarify our process, the Council will vote for our replacement Delegate during the Friday of our virtual Fall Meeting, scheduled to take place on October 20-22, 2021, and not via an email vote in late September as was stated in yesterday’s email. Our intent is to make this a fair, impartial, and democratic process that will yield us the best selection for the job. Candidate applications will be circulated the week of September 20, 2021, and the Council will have an opportunity to hear from the candidates and ask questions before voting at the Fall Meeting.

Thank you all for what you do each and every day to make our nation a more perfect union. I appreciate each of you who bring issues of concern to my attention. Thank you for continuing to give me and others graceful rudder steers and for upholding and exemplifying the best our profession has to offer.

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.