Advances in Transgender Rights in Vietnam! Parliament Adopts New Legislation

Vietnam: Positive Step for Trangsender Rights – Vietnamese Parliament Adopts New Transgender Legislation

HRW

By: Human Rights Watch

On November 24, 2015, the Vietnamese National Assembly approved a bill to legalize sex reassignment surgery and to introduce the right to legal gender recognition for transgender people who have undergone such surgery.

The law allows people who wish to undergo gender affirming surgeries to do so in Vietnamrather than abroad, and to subsequently change the gender marker on their official documents. This constitutes a small, but significant step toward recognition of transgender people’s rights, Human Rights Watch said today.

Continue reading here.

Thousands Mourn Kurdish Human Rights Lawyer Killed in Turkey

Photo of Thousands Mourning at Tahir Elci Funeral

By: Ayla Albayarak | Wall Street Journal | Photo credit: Reuters

Tens of thousands of mourners gathered on Sunday to bid farewell to a prominent human rights lawyer whose shooting death delivered a setback to hopes of bringing an end to months of political violence that has swept through Turkey’s Kurdish region.

Tahir Elci, one of Turkey’s leading advocates for Kurdish rights, was killed Saturday after making an appeal for an end to clashes between Kurdish militants and state security forces.

Mr. Elci was shot during a clash on a narrow street in Diyarbakir, the Kurdish majority city in southeastern Turkey that has been one of the central battlegrounds for renewed clashes since a two-year-old cease-fire collapsed in July.

Continue reading here.

Employers and Workers Grapple with Laws Allowing Marijuana Use

ABA Logo

By: G.M. Filisko | ABA Journal

On June 15, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court was the ultimate buzzkill.

When the state’s residents passed a referendum in 2012 legalizing recreational marijuana use—long after the state sanctioned medical use in 2000—few had any idea that Coloradans who partook in the bud would end up jeopardizing their livelihood.

That’s exactly what the court permitted inCoats v. Dish Network. The case pitted a quadriplegic licensed to use medical marijuana against his employer. The court held the state’s “lawful activities statute,” which generally prohibits employers from firing employees for engaging in lawful activities off the job, applied only to activities lawful under Colorado and federal law. Because marijuana is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act, its use isn’t lawful—and can remain a valid basis for termination in the state.

Continue reading here.

Supreme Court Ruling Could Spark More Unintentional-Discrimination Cases

Eva Paterson

By: Stephanie Francis Ward | ABA Journal | Photo of Eva Paterson; Photo credit: Eva Paterson

A recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion that addressed unconscious discrimination in a low-income housing case could have far-reaching effects on future civil rights and criminal cases involving implicit bias.

The June 2015 opinion (PDF) dealt with a claim against the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. It alleged that the department disproportionately gave tax credits to developers of low-income housing in minority inner-city Dallas neighborhoods, while denying the credits in suburbs with large white populations. The Inclusive Communities Project brought the case, alleging that the state agency’s actions led to segregated housing, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

Continue reading here.

 

A Play at UW Law? Check Out Thurgood Marshall and Socrates Duking it Out!

October 2 & 3: “The Test Case” Play on Thurgood Marshall and Socrates Duking it Out – Is There Implicit Bias in Heaven?

Play Masks

Date: Friday, Oct. 2, 2015; Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: University of Washington School of Law

A new play by a Seattle lawyer gets a staged reading by lawyers, under the wing of the Hit and Run Theater Company, directed by Arne Zaslove.

It has often been observed that good courtroom lawyers are actors at heart. And there is a natural kinship between the courtroom and the theater: both are places where we gather to experience persuasive speech and the pursuit of truth.

“The Test Case,” a new play by longtime civil rights attorney Jim Lobsenz, is about to bring lawyers and theater together to examine the question: Is Heaven an egalitarian and inclusive place – or do the entrance requirements reflect implicit bias? A staged reading will be presented in the Mock Trial Courtroom at the University of Washington Law School at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 2 and Saturday, October 3.

Seattle civil rights pioneer Lem Howell will play Thurgood Marshall, with appellate lawyer Michael B. King (of Carney Bradley Spellman) as Socrates, Venkat Balasubramani (of Focal PLLC) as Gandhi, and prominent trial and appellate litigator for farm workers (and others) John Phillips as Daniel Webster. The cast also features Susan Roe, of the U.S. Attorney’s office, third year UW Law Student and Gates Public Service Law Scholar Thomas Miller, as well as arts and culture professionals Jennifer Lobsenz (Program Director at Path with Art) and Edward Wolcher (Curator of Community Programs at Town Hall).

For tickets, click here. Photo credit: Udaipur Times.

October 5: Access to Information as a Human Right Conference

Conference Poster

Date: Monday, Oct. 5, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: University of Washington School of Law, William H. Gates Hall RM 115 (Sessions) & 138 (Evening Keynote)

This fall, the University of Washington Center for Human Rights will host a one-day conference, “Access to Information as a Human Right,” on October 5, 2015, at the UW School of Law. Grounded in the UW CHR’s partnerships with organizations and communities struggling for truth and accountability in post-war El Salvador, the conference will explore the right to access to information as a frontline of transnational campaigns for justice. Preceding the conference, the UW CHR will announce exciting advances in the Freedom of Information Act program of its Unfinished Sentences project in a press availability at the UW School of Law.

For more information and to register online, click here.

Attention Advocates! Registration Now Open For 7th Annual Domestic Violence Symposium

July 28: WSBA Legal Lunchbox Series – Addressing Implicit Bias in the Law

WSBA Lunchbox Series Image

Date: Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Registration: Webcast registration closes at 5:00 PM on Monday, July 27, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Location: Webcast
Free 1.5 Ethics CLE Credits

What does the latest research in biology and psychology tell us about implicit bias? And how does implicit bias play out in the legal profession — in everyday interactions with clients, colleagues, and the judicial system? Join presenter Sevilla P. Rhoads for a look at the ethical implications of implicit bias under Washington’s Rules of Professional Conduct. You’ll leave the webcast with a better understanding of implicit bias – and with some practical approaches, based on behavioral and cognitive interventions, for addressing it as a legal professional.

Register online here.

July 28: You’re Invited to Lambda Legal and K&L Gates’ Evening in Celebration of Equality & Diversity

Lambda Legal Logo

Date: Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: K&L Gates LLP, 925 Fourth Ave., Ste. 2900, Seattle, WA 98104

Lambda Legal and K&L Gates invite you to connect with your fellow law firm summer associates and corporate interns to learn about the great work of Lambda Legal. We will be celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, and discussing the status of marriage equality across the country as well as the impact the decision will have on lived LGBT equality outside of the marriage context.  Come for drinks and light appetizers and enjoy some of the best views of Puget Sound and Mount Rainier from the 29th floor of K&L Gates in downtown Seattle.

To RSVP, please contact Jeannie Beth Asuncion.

September 10 – 11: Registration Now Open For 7th Annual Domestic Violence Symposium on Violence, Trauma, and Culture

SU Law Logo

Date: Thursday, September 10 – Friday, September 11, 2015
Time: 8:15 AM (Thursday) – 4:30 PM (Friday)
Location: Seattle University, 901 12th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122

A collaborative symposium promoting critical and innovative thinking for prosecution, law enforcement, civil and family law attorneys, advocates, judges, law students, social workers, corrections, mental health/healthcare professionals and others responding to survivors of gender-based/domestic violence.

Featured Speakers:
Connie Burk – Executive Director, Northwest Network for LGBT Survivors of Abuse and Co-Author, Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others
Olga Trujillo – Consultant, Attorney, Speaker, Survivor. Author of “The Sum of My Parts” Memoir and “A Survivor’s Story” documentary and training video. Co-author of “Representing Domestic Violence Survivors Who Are Also Experiencing Trauma and Mental Health Challenges”
Dr. Linda Chamberlain – Epidemiologist specializing in childhood exposure to violence and brain development. Founding director of the Alaska Family Violence Prevention Project.
Leslye Orloff – Director, National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project.
Russell Strand – Chief, Family Advocacy Law Enforcement Training Branch, U.S. Army Military Police School, Ft. Leonard, MO. Retired U.S. Army CID special agent, trainer of the Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview
Heather Hackman, Ph.D. – Founder, Hackman Consulting Group, addressing deep diversity, equity and social justice issues in education, law, government, non-profit, medicine and business

Register online here.

October 14: Save the Date for Columbia Legal Service’s 4th Annual Pro Bono Reception – Celebrating the Art of Advocacy 

CLS Logo

Date: Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM
Location: Axis Pioneer Square

Sponsored by: Sonata Capital, Sirianni Youtz Spoonemoore Hamburger.  Also sponsored by Barron Smith Daugert PLLC, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, and SeaMar Community Health Centers.

Summer Funding Options, Opportunities for Service & Using Mindfulness to Mitigate Bias

How Will YOU  Fund your Public Service Internship this Summer?

piggybankBy Aline Carton-Listfjeld, Center for Public Service Law

At UW Law we are lucky to have a powerhouse student organization like PILA and a supportive administration which fundraises tons of money to help support summer public service internships. Unfortunately, there are always more deserving applicants than there is funding. So, are you going to put all of your eggs in your PILA basket or are you going to do some research and apply for many other funding sources that are out there? Hint: the latter.

Check out all the great summer funding resources on the Center for Public Service Law’s quick  reference guide (under summer funding towards the bottom of the page). These include labor and employment specific funding, LGBT rights funding, civil legal aid funding, human rights funding, international funding, and new for this year Latina/o advocacy  funding (just to name a few). Application deadlines tend to range between December through April with the bulk due in March/April giving you time to secure your summer internship. We highlight some of the most common sources of summer funding that UW Law students have applied for and obtained. But wait, there’s more! Also check out the great resources compiled by our friends at PSJD here and here. Investing a few hours in research and applications will pay huge dividends (literally). Don’t miss out!

If you missed our lunchtime presentation today don’t fret. Here are the slides to help you connect the dots.

New research finds implicit bias can be tamed through the use of time-honored meditation techniques.

trayvon-protestDecember 2, 2014 By Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard- The Science of Society

A large crowd gathers to peacefully protest the Trayvon Martin murder case in Union Square in Manhattan on July 14, 2013. (Photo: Marie Havens/Shutterstock)

Racial bias has declined drastically in the United States over the past few decades. And yet, recent reaction to the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri, suggests race continues to color our opinions, with both blacks and whites holding firm assumptions that their counterparts completely reject.

It’s something of a conundrum, until you consider implicit beliefs—the automatic thoughts and feelings that arise when one looks at an image of someone of another race. While these often operate below our level of consciousness, they shape our views of society and opinions on such policy issues as affirmative action, voter ID laws, and whether the justice system is genuinely just.

Fortunately, new research has documented a surprisingly simple way to short-circuit these knee-jerk negative associations. The key, according to Central Michigan University psychologists Adam Lueke and Bryan Gibson, is mindfulness.

Whites have “quicker response times for words that represent good things when paired with white faces than with black faces, and quicker response times for words that represent bad things when paired with black faces than white faces.” Continue reading here.

Attention Pro Bono Attorneys! Opportunity to Support Homeless Advocacy.

Homeless

SHARE is a homeless shelter in Seattle served by the Homeless Experience Legal Protection program. Presently, two matters are of huge concern to its community, as to which it is seeking pro bono legal representation. One concerns Nickelsville, an independent encampment of homeless people that is following all the legal obligations put upon it by the City of Seattle & etc. They are not receiving the same police services as other encampments, shelters and transitional housing projects and it is jeopardizing their safety and future. SHARE needs to figure out a way to get SPD to provide its residents the same support they provide others. The second issue concerns the complete defunding of SHARE – the county’s largest shelter provider – by King County Government. SHARE is also by far the most cost effective shelter outfit per bed night. SHARE would like to challenge the County’s defunding on numerous grounds – procedural, legal, common sense and political. This defunding isn’t something we can just let sit – the County Council is going to have to reconsider the whole thing sometime. If a lawyer in your firm is interested in either project, please have him/her contact Scott Morrow at Share Shelters shelters@sharewheel.org

Attention Lawyers & Community Members Committed to Social Justice! Washington State Access to Justice Board Seeks New Board Members. Application Due This Friday, January 9. Act Fast!

ATJ Board announcement