Originally published: http://www.americanbarfoundation.org/news/730
Expert panel will explore the obstacles practitioners face when justifying civil rights claims
The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation(ABF) will present the CLE research seminar, “Civil Rights Advocacy: Past, Present and Future,” from 8:30-10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 5, at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. The seminar is one of several events being hosted by The Fellows of the ABF during the 2016 American Bar Association (ABA) Annual Meeting, Aug. 3-7, 2016, in San Francisco, Calif.
From struggles for racial and gender equality to the more recent expansion of equal rights for the LGBTQ community and people with disabilities, civil rights claims have been central to the American struggle for equality, but their meaning has never been stable. This program will take a wide view of civil rights: how they’re conceived of, enforced, ignored, and contested, and the ways they sometimes develop in directions their framers and advocates never imagined.
The panelists for the program are Lauren B. Edelman, the Agnes Roddy Robb Professor of Law and professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Jocelyn Larkin, executive director of the Impact Fund, a legal nonprofit providing support for public interest impact litigation. Edelman, a former ABF board member, recently published Working Law: Courts, Corporations, and Symbolic Civil Rights, a book on the organizational response to and mediation of civil rights law. Edelman and Larkin will be joined by panelists Melissa Murray, interim dean and professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, and Cheryl I. Harris, the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at UCLA School of Law. Murray’s research focuses on the roles that criminal and family law play in articulating the legal parameters of intimate life. She is co-author of Cases on Reproductive Rights and Justice, the first casebook in the field of reproductive rights and justice. Harris has lectured widely on issues of race and equality, and has authored groundbreaking scholarship in the field of Critical Race Theory, particularly focusing on how racial frames shape our understanding of significant events like Hurricane Katrina, admissions policies, and anti-discrimination law.
The program will be moderated by Dylan C. Penningroth, an affiliated research professor at the ABF and professor of law and history at the University of California, Berkeley. Penningroth is an award-winning legal historian and expert in African American history and U.S. socio-legal history. His first book, The Claims of Kinfolk: African American Property and Community in the Nineteenth-Century South, won the Avery O. Craven Award from the Organization of American Historians. His articles have appeared in the Journal of American History, American Historical Review, and Journal of Family History. Penningroth’s current research explores African Americans’ encounter with law from the Civil War to the modern civil rights movement. He is working on a study that combines legal and social history to explore the practical meaning of legal rights for black life. His next project is a study of the legacies of slavery in colonial Ghana.
“This panel will showcase how vibrant work under the banner of ‘civil rights’ can be,” Penningroth said, “—from the diverse meanings that the term carries today, to the challenges and opportunities that scholars and practitioners face in vindicating civil rights.”
The program is co-sponsored by the ABA Commission of Disability Rights, ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, ABA Section of Criminal Justice, ABA Senior Lawyers Division, and the National Association of Women Judges.