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Lawyers Club of San Diego is a specialty bar association committed to advancing the status of women in the law and society. We use this space to share articles written about Lawyers Club events and programs and items of interest to our members which are relevant to our mission. The opinions outlined in content published on the Lawyers Club of San Diego blog are those of the authors and not of Lawyers Club. All members are encouraged to participate respectfully in discussions regarding the topics posted on the blog. Guest writers are welcome. Guidelines for writers may be found on the Leadership Resources page.

 

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Women’s Suffrage For My 10-Year Old

Posted By Guest Blogger Mikhak Ghorban, Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Later this year, the United States will mark the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. To celebrate this historical moment, I thought to share the importance of the event with my daughter. But explaining how long and how hard women fought for the right to vote to a 10-year-old girl is a little challenging. How am I to introduce her to Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton without her rolling her eyes and losing interest? 

 

So, I thought I would first consider what women’s voting rights means to me before I share it with my daughter. I was born in Iran and spent my early years living in the capital of Tehran. I spent my school years in the US. I attended law school in the US; I practice law in the US; I became a mother in the US. However, my first introduction to voting and women’s rights came from hearing my mom and aunt talking about voting in Iran in 1979.


Iranian women were granted the right to vote in 1963, but their rights have been restricted since the Islamic Revolution. In late March of 1979, there was a referendum on creating an Islamic Republic. This single issue was determined by either casting a vote with a red card for no or a green card for yes. There was no registration; no voting booth for privacy; no way to maintain voting security; and certainly no anonymity for the voter's vote when she is using colored ballot card in front of the ballot box. Because of the lack of privacy, security, and anonymity, citizens were frightened to be seen voting against theocracy. They were risking verbal and possible physical attacks from the election monitors who were pro-Islamic. Even with the potential of retribution, my mother and aunt, two Iranian women in their 40s, exercised their right to vote for the first time in their lives, and voted against a regime change in their country.


With that memory, I set to explain to my daughter what other women around the world face -- how they are not permitted to voice their concerns. I explained how lucky she is to have the freedom to vote as millions of people, women especially, who do not have such rights to freely vote for what they want.


I’m thankful to my mother for having the courage to exercise her right to vote in the presence of potential harm, and to my dad who supported her choice. I am thankful that my daughter, Klara, never knew how she and her brother could have been subject to such restricted rights of Iran.


I tell her that if she truly cares about her world, then she has to go out there and vote. Every election, I take my children to my local polling station so they can watch me vote and to get “I voted” stickers! I want my children by my side as I exercise my right to vote. Growing up in a country where women don’t have equal rights motivates me to make sure my daughter never takes her civil liberties for granted.

 


Editor’s Note:
The 19th Amendment states, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” To learn more about the Amendment and centennial commemorations, please visit http://www.2020centennial.org/learn. 107 years ago, on March 3, 1913, the “Woman Suffrage Procession” took place in Washington, D.C., giving the suffrage movement a new wave of inspiration and purpose.


Mikhak Ghorban practices family and immigration law at Ashtari & Ghorban, LLP and is the 2019–2020 cochair of the Lawyers Club of San Diego’s Membership Committee.

 

 

 

 

Tags:  19th Amendment Centennial  civil liberties  civil rights  constitutional amendment  Iran  Islamic Republic  Islamic Revolution  polling  polling booth  polling place  suffrage  suffragettes  theocragy  voting  women’s suffrage 

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Join the Fight for Women's Rights

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Thursday, January 16, 2020
Updated: Thursday, January 16, 2020

 

On January 18, 2020, the fourth annual Women’s March will be held in San Diego, an event for women and men to advocate for women’s rights and show politicians around the country that women’s rights cannot be ignored. The Women’s March in San Diego will coincide with other marches around the United States, including in our nation’s capital, as a response to actions by state and federal governments to retrench important civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and reproductive rights that protect women and families.

As our country prepares for its next election, we must show up and advocate for policies that ensure equal treatment for all women. The importance of women’s rights must be part of the discussion during this election cycle. This should also serve as a reminder to us all to support elected officials that embrace these values and push to elect even more women to elected office. This will serve not only to protect the gains women have achieved on important issues, like reproductive rights, but to continue to push our government for pass necessary polices, like the Equal Rights Amendment, equal pay, and paid family leave. In the words of our Justice Ginsburg, "Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you." Let us all join the fight.

 

Elvira Cortez practices business and commercial litigation and employment defense at Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP and is the 2019-2020 president of Lawyers Club.

 

Tags:  advocacy  civil rights  election  politics  reproductive rights  women’s advocacy  women's march 

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Stonewall at 50 – Building on the Legacy of Pride and Freedom

Posted By Kim Ahrens for Lawyers Club's LGBTQ Committee, Monday, July 8, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, July 9, 2019

 

Like too many, I lived my entire law school career plus the first part of my professional career suppressing part of my identity in fear that my orientation, instead of my skill, would define me and distract prospective employers, or worse, clients. So, while I developed my knowledge of the law and sharpened my litigation skills, I also became an expert at avoiding questions that revealed the gender of my partner. 

Around the same time, I attended my first Lawyers Club event where a room full of successful women greeted me and opened my eyes to the possibilities available for female attorneys in the San Diego legal community. It’s hard to put into words the impact that 2005 mentor-mentee reception had on me and how it affected the trajectory of my career, but without a doubt it decreased my concern that my gender would be an insurmountable obstacle. However, it did nothing to thwart my fear of the professional consequences of revealing my orientation.

At the time, Lawyers Club did not have an LGBTQ Committee, and I did not learn about the Tom Homann LGBT Law Association until years later. I continued to be an active member, and even a leader, in Lawyers Club. And I continued to be closeted.

This status quo remained until opponents of same-sex marriage put a proposition on the ballot to amend the California constitution to exclude same-sex marriage. For me, Prop 8 opened my eyes to the importance of being an open lesbian in my professional career, gave me motivation to hit the streets to oppose the discriminatory proposition, and propelled me into being an activist in the LGBTQ rights movement. It was my personal tipping point.

I now appreciate how fortunate I am to have the freedom to use my voice, especially compared to LGBTQ people across the U.S. and world who risk far more than potential professional obstacles if they reveal their authentic selves. With this in mind, one can imagine the intensity of oppression and violence it took to trigger Stonewallers to rebel against police in the early morning of June 28, 1969. 

This year, I traveled to New York and visited the now National Historic Landmark. As I stood outside Stonewall Inn, I took a moment to acknowledge the historical significance of the Stonewall uprising. Fifty years ago, the aftermath of Stonewall opened the door to the first LGBTQ rights and activist organizations, and the first pride parade kicked off one year later. I also reflected on how much we accomplished during this first year of San Diego Lawyers Club’s LGBTQ Committee and the pride that overwhelmed me when I heard the Lawyers Club mission statement blasted to the audience as the very first Lawyers Club contingent passed in the 2018 San Diego Pride parade. 


My thoughts then turned to the theme of this year’s San Diego Pride, Stonewall 50: A Legacy of Liberation, and my heart filled with pride as I took a moment to acknowledge Lawyers Club is building on the legacy passed down by so many trailblazers, including the Stonewallers.


 With all this in mind, I could not be more excited to invite you to march with Lawyers Club in San Diego’s Pride Parade on Saturday, July 13, 2019 (register here to join us). 


Kimberly Ahrens wrote this for the San Diego Lawyers Club LGBTQ Committee, she is the founder of Ahrens Law, APC, and a Director of Lawyers Club of San Diego.

 

 

 

Tags:  civil rights  closet  LGBTQ  Mentee  Mentor  National Historic Monument  New York  parade  Pride  Stonewall Inn  Stonewallers 

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more Calendar

6/17/2020
Register Now!-- Cybersecurity during COVID-19 CLE with Ankura Consulting Group

6/30/2020
General Counsel Luncheon: now Virtual!

7/29/2020
Lawyers Club Annual Dinner: Driving Change

11/19/2020
Equal Pay Day Luncheon--Rescheduled to November 19, 2020

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