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Fall 2000

Volume 27 No. 4   September 2000


A Hunger for Justice: The Passion of Rachel Ortiz

You feel the kind of heroism that belongs to Rachel Ortiz in the marrow of your bones. Even stronger than the mental impression it leaves is the shiver in your spine and catch in your throat. Hers is the steely, uncompromising courage under adversity that captures hearts and truly changes the world-a day at a time. She began life battling the odds-neglect, drug addiction, crime, and the authority of an intolerant community. Today, she directs an extraordinary and acclaimed $1,000,000 a year program that literally saves the lives of thousands of troubled young people.

Joyce Meskis: Pushing Books and Free Speech

Joyce Meskis, the owner of Denver's Tattered Cover Book Store, will tell you she doesn't go looking for trouble-it finds her. The most recent occasion was last summer when her Denver bookstore, the Tattered Cover, became a target for protest over a book signing by the aging rock star Ted Nugent. Nugent is a director of the National Rifle Association and an avid hunter who strongly opposes gun control. His book expounds his positive view of guns and argues that hunting can instill discipline in children and provide wholesome family recreation. Nugent was in town for a concert, but his publisher had suggested that he take the opportunity to sign some copies of his book at the Tattered Cover.

Two Unlikely Heroes in the Fight for First Amendment Rights

For most lawyers these days, defending controversial clients-even extremely unpopular and socially despised clients-entails little personal or professional risk. Not so, however, for lawyers Anthony Griffin and David Baugh. Both of these accomplished African American lawyers agreed to take on, as American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) volunteer counsel, the representation of Ku Klux Klansmen. Both cases involved central First Amendment free speech principles for which the two Klansmen in question, almost in spite of themselves, just happened to be exemplars.

Robert Lee Carter: Continuing the Struggle for Civil Rights

United States District Judge Robert Lee Carter is still working to ensure that the precedent set by Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 will be given effect fifty years later. As an assistant to the late Thurgood Marshall at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in New York, Carter was listed on the briefs in perhaps the most significant constitutional decision ever rendered. His abiding commitment to racial equality, which started when he personally integrated New Jersey's East Orange High School pool (despite his own inability to swim), is what drives his continued efforts to achieve racial justice.

Elizabeth Jones and Gabriel Chong King: Making the Impossible Dream Come True

Imagine your child has a critical illness, and you must get medical help fast. You first call a private doctor but are unable to afford the expense. You apply for local aid, but you do not qualify for assistance. You go to the local hospital but find there are no pediatric specialists, and the cost is still too high. Your child's condition gets worse, and you realize your only hope is to travel to a foreign country in order to find specialists who can save your child's life.