Advocating for Equality in Times of Inequality
Reversing inequality, particularly prevalent in communities of color and rural communities, is one of our greatest imperatives. But how can we best empower low- and middle-income communities? Scholars and practitioners of housing and employment law, racial justice, and civil rights will discuss their experience working toward equality, the challenges we face, and strategies by which young advocates can achieve material change, whether through providing legal services, community organizing, or political reform.
Lessons on the Fight for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
The immigration reform movement has gained increasing momentum. In June 2012, organizing by young people knows as "Dreamers" led to the implementation of the program commonly known as "DACA," which gives these Dreamers permission to legally be in and work in this country. In November 2012, President Obama was reelected on an immigration platform, promising comprehensive immigration reform. In June 2013, the Senate passed an immigration reform bill. Despite these feats and promises, over 11 million people in the United States continue without status, and find themselves needing to once again take to the streets to clamor for reform. This panel brings together experts in the immigration field to provide an in-depth look at the immigration reform movement.
Litigation, Public Policies, or Educational Activism: Tools for Transforming the Food System
In recent months, we have seen growing public concern over the state of our food system from environmental, ethical, health, policy, food justice, and other perspectives. Our three panelists have been leading the charge to translate these concerns into legal action, policies, and opportunities for educational activism. Join us to learn how you can navigate the many policies that control (or don't control) our food industry, and how the three tools for change mentioned above can be used to most effectively create change.
Public Interest Scholarship as a Tool for Social Justice
This workshop will explore the role of legal scholarship in public interest practice and aims to answer three major questions: 1. How can legal academics, through their research, shape and challenge practitioners' work on the ground? 2. When practitioners submit articles for publication, what tools are they leveraging that they cannot leverage through practice alone? 3. What short-term and long-term options are available for students who are interested in both legal academia and public interest practice? The academics will discuss their career trajectories and the interplay between their scholarship and their practice. Additionally, the academics will discuss their views about academia as a tool for transformative justice, how to go through the process of writing a paper that will make an impact, and how to connect scholarship with people that can use it as a legal tool.
Building Cultural Competency
This is an interactive workshop designed to give future attorneys tips for working with diverse people and cultures in justice settings. Progressive lawyering often involves finding allies in unexpected places and social change requires collaboration by diverse parties. Yet law school does not always prepare students to work with clients and partners whose backgrounds are very different from their own. This workshop will give the participants a tangible skill set to approach these issues. More importantly, it will start a conversation that should continue through their legal careers.
Differing Perspectives on Education Reform
The Youth and Education Advocates at Stanford (YEAS) will host a discussion on the promises and challenges of using different strategies to close the achievement gap in California. Marcellus McRae will present his work on the Vergara case, which challenges the constitutionality of various education code provisions pertaining to teacher dismissal and seniority-based layoffs. Seth Eckstein will explain how the dismissal and suspension process for certificated employees currently operates at Oakland Unified. Laura Juran will respond to the merits of the Vergara case and address the CTA's position on what is needed for education reform. Josh Mukhopadhyay will discuss the staffing and financing issues covered by the other panelists as they apply to charter schools in California. John Affeldt will present his work on the Robles-Wong case, which challenges the constitutionality of California's school finance system, and discuss broader issues of resource equity and teacher quality.
Designing Social Movements Through Art
The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, PETA's anti-fur photo campaign, and the Vagina Monologues are a few among numerous examples of how progressive people are increasingly employing the creative arts to generate social awareness and social change. We will discussing the pros and cons of these creative approaches. Ultimately, we will use them as inspiration in working as a team to create a public arts project of our own with the help of visual artists from the Music Mural & Arts Project based in East Palo Alto.
In Their Shoes: Living with Incarceration
This workshop involves an interactive simulation experience, based on the education tool, "In Her Shoes" which was designed for learning about domestic violence. In contrast, in this workshop, participants move, do, think and experience the lives of the formerly incarcerated.
From the Bronx to Arab Spring: Hip Hop as a Tool for Social Justice
In 2011, Saudi Arabian born, American raised, Syrian artist Omar Offendum was widely credited with giving voice to an inspiring a movement. Far from a politician, but not less a gifted orator - Offendum and other hip hop artists could hear their music being chanted in the streets of Tahrir Square the protests that began Arab Spring. It was a reminder of the potential of hip hop to be an instrumental and subversive tool for social justice movements.
Back in the U.S., has hip hop lost its way? Or more importantly, how can it be harnessed again as a tool for speaking truth to power on behalf of a community?
Tools for Effective Advocacy
Synopsis: Hear long-time advocates share their experiences and stories on how to communicate and build support around sensitive and difficult issues. Maggie Crosby, ACLU Northern California, and Robert Coulter, Indian Law Resource Center, will discuss sustainable advocacy and how to influence change over the long term and think about an integrated strategy using advocacy and legislation. Nate Ela, ALICE, will share how his start-up organization is working to aid advocates in their efforts to impact legislation.
New Challenges & Strategies for Workers' Rights Advocates
Changes to the national economy and federal courts, as well the evolution of tactics to evade employee protection laws, have provided new challenges for workers' rights advocates. How will workers respond to new attempts by employers to misclassify them as "independent contractors"? What must low wage workers do to organize in a struggling economy? Must workers who seek to vindicate their rights go it alone in the new era of class action litigation? Join the workers' rights panelists as they share their experiences in fighting for workers and offer their strategies for surmounting these and other challenges to workers' rights.
Environmental Justice in Rural Issues
Join us for a discussion on how environmental justice tools can be used to serve rural communities that often lack basic infrastructure and access to public services. Community-based lawyering and advocacy can address these disparities. The panelists will discuss their rural justice campaigns and effective tools for bringing about rural justice.
Battling Goliath: The Impact of Plaintiff-Side Litigation Against Corporate Defendants
The legal profession-traditionally conceptualized as a conservative and risk-averse vocation-is often seen as legitimizing the status quo. Even when the potential for litigation to spur significant legislative and public policy reforms is recognized, social change is considered to be the ambit of civil rights and constitutional lawyers. But can for-profit plaintiff-side litigation, with a primary goal of resolving narrow conflicts between private parties, also be a powerful tool for social change? Reflecting on the work of 'private attorney generals,' this panel will consider the efficacy of plaintiff-side litigation in combating corporate malfeasance and stimulating large-scale political reform.
Impact Litigation: By Whom and For Whom?
This panel convenes civil rights practitioners to talk about ethical dilemmas in impact litigation: while lawyers must represent individual clients, they might seek to advance the interests of entire communities as well. How do lawyers properly serve both, and how should clients be involved in litigation strategy decisions?
Making Peace in the War on Drugs: The Present and Future of Domestic Drug Policy
This panel discussion will explore policy alternatives that offer a way forward from a drug enforcement regime that has lead to mass incarceration of non-violent drug offenders. Offering distinct perspectives, panelists will discuss policies ranging from alternative sentencing and treatment to drug legalization, examining the efficacy, desirability, and political viability of each.
Effective Political Organizing: Creating Change Through the Political Process
Lawyers are increasingly looked upon to create change not only in courts, but also in their communities. In this workshop, students will learn to organize for progressive political change by building political organizations that win elections, create progressive majorities, and pass progressive initiatives.
Advancing Trans Rights Through Administrative and Legislative Advocacy
Over the past decade, the transgender rights movement has continuously made, and reevaluated, strategic decisions on whether to pursue changes in policy through litigation, legislation, or executive branch advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels. This workshop will cover the factors that come into deciding which routes to pursue, how wins and losses in different arenas affect each other, and how transgender rights have made meteoric advances in policy and statute in such a short time because of the strategies we have pursued.
The Power of New Media: Blogging and Online Organizing on Race, Gender and Violence
This is a workshop on social media, online organizing and mobilizing. Online activism is more than possible; it also has the possibility to be an effective vehicle for both problem awareness and eliciting policy reform. The leader of this workshop will give you insights into her experiences in activism using online outlets and social media; and will provide an overview of the tools available for online activism.
Progressive Consumerism: Consuming in Line with Your Values
Were you disappointed when you heard Gap was employing children in sweatshops in Bangladesh? Or were you enjoying fries from Chick-Fil-A when you found out it was funding anti-gay ads and campaigns? You have particular values that have led your interest in progressive work, why not have your choices as a consumer be in line with your values too? Please bring your smartphones and a laptop, as this workshop will teach you how to be an ethical consumer using the newest tech tools and will provide a framework to confirm whether a company's behavior is in line with your values.
We believe that communities thrive on personal knowledge of each other, that we need to know how to tell our own stories, and that we gain courage, insight, and bond from hearing others tell their own stories. We believe people just need permission and an opportunity to tell their story (and sometimes, a bit of encouragement and inspiration).
Few get to spend time in places like this one, with people like these. First Person teases out and celebrates the humanity we all brought with us, ensuring that we lose out on as little as possible of what makes each of us special. To that end, we gather to hear personal stories from three presenters: vignettes about foreign policy, watershed moments, star-crossed lovers, a towering sonata – you name it, so long as you speak from personal experience, tell us the truth as you saw it (or see it now), and hold back nothing for the sake of mere propriety. Presentations are approximately fifteen minutes long, the venue is intimate, and short post-piece Q&A sessions are optional. Teach us something. Blow our minds. Break our hearts.
Featuring, among others:
Pamela S. Karlan, the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law and Co-Director, Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Stanford Law School. Professor Karlan recently served as co-counsel in U.S. v. Windsor, the landmark case in which the US Supreme Court held that restricting federal interpretation of "marriage" and "spouse" to apply only to heterosexual unions is unconstitutional.
Closing by Mina Titi Liu, Director of International Public Interest Initiatives, Stanford Law School.