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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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Driving Change

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President’s Perspective, Friday, June 5, 2020
Updated: Thursday, June 4, 2020

As I prepared my final address for the newsletter, I thought of the message I wanted to leave our members to conclude my service as president. Serving as our 48th president and reflecting on all of the achievements Lawyers Club has accomplished since its founding, some important rights and legal protections remain out of reach for women, like paid family leave, protecting access to reproductive rights, and equal pay.


Despite our vigorous advocacy and the advocacy of others around the country, some of these goals seem unattainable. To change the status quo, I decided to focus my presidency
on the goal of encouraging our members to become leaders in the legal community. When women become decision makers, they can cause real change in the workplace and in society.

 

When I began my presidency, I focused on programming geared toward providing our members with the skills needed to become leaders in their places of work. With respect to
our civil practitioners, this included tools and strategies for developing a book of business. To inspire our members, we called on various leaders in our community to provide guidance on how to become leaders, including San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez, Carlsbad City Councilwoman Priya Bhat-Patel, San Diego County Superior Court Presiding Judge Lorna Alksne, and founding mother, Justice Judith McConnell. Recognizing that some women are unable to take the traditional paths into leadership positions, we turned to the inspirational journeys of attorneys Connie Broussard, Andrea Guerrero, and Heather Riley who explained how they undertook different paths to become leaders and stressed the importance of understanding that having set-backs do not define your success. In addition, some of our committees put on programming focused on developing trial skills and a book of business.


I am also proud of Lawyers Club’s other accomplishments. At our annual Fund for Justice fundraiser, due to the generosity of our members we raised over $28,000 thereby continuing
our support of women in our community. Our Human Trafficking Collaborative was internationally recognized and met with nine officials from Bahrain to advise on strategies to curb human trafficking and provide support to survivors. As we began the new year, our newsletter team created a stylish, updated design for the newsletter.


In early March, we were all excited to participate in another successful Red, White and Brew event. Little did we know that the event would be our last in-person event of this year. As you are aware, the events of the global pandemic precluded us from providing further in-person programming. Indeed, as a result of the pandemic, our society and way of life has changed. While initially our concerns were focused on the practicalities of the restrictions (like not having enough toilet paper), we soon understood that the greatest tragedy has been the significant losses of so many lives.


In addition, the pandemic has highlighted the inequalities and challenges that continue to exist for women: incidents of domestic violence against women have increased, some state governments have placed substantial barriers to reproductive rights, and some women working from home have simultaneously been tasked with childcare. As a consequence, our mission for Lawyers Club has not changed and our mission is more important than ever. As we continue to push for social policies that support women, we must remember not to pause during these difficult times. The best way to shape the river of social change is to continue to use our tools of advocacy, especially when society gets off track. Together, as so many women before us, I know we will continue to carry the torch of the women’s movement to ensure that we protect the hard-fought gains from the backsliding of complacency and move our society towards finally achieving equality for all women.

 

-Article first published in LC News, June 2020

 

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  book of buiness  equality  fund for justice  human trafficking  inequalities  leadership  leadership development  legislation  pandemic  politics  president  women's advocacy 

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We Can Do It

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President’s Perspective, Saturday, May 2, 2020
Updated: Friday, May 1, 2020

During this time of crisis, it is important to recognize the many brave women who have sacrificed and risked their lives to help the sick during this pandemic, including the countless doctors, nurses, medical staff, and first responders. We are equally grateful to those women who continue to work at essential businesses, including, but not limited to, grocery store works, janitors, and transportation workers. These women have stepped up for the good of society.


Of course, women have a long history of sacrifice in times of crisis and the struggle to better society. Countless of women participated in the struggle for women’s suffrage. During World War II, millions of women heeded the call of duty by joining the work force, some even served in the military, in positions traditionally reserved for men. The experience of these women and the injustices they suffered helped ignite the women’s movement about a decade later. Again, women were on the front lines of the struggle for social change. Women protested against discrimination, for reproductive rights, and against domestic violence. We have made significant gains over the last 100 years to improve the status of women, but in this time of crisis women are disproportionately affected.


According to the U.N. Secretary General, the pandemic is having a devastating social and economic impact on women and girls. Domestic violence against women has increased during the pandemic; some states have taken the opportunity to attack reproductive rights; women are working at home while still being tasked with caring for the children at home; all while women are paid less than men. Indeed, the coronavirus has highlighted the inequalities still faced by women, sometimes in unexpected ways, for example one developing country
recently provided advice for women on how they can politely ask their husbands to contribute to household duties during the crisis.

 

Like the women in the generations before, we should embrace the moment to advocate for fair policies for women. This is an especially opportune time to advocate for women-centered policies because many people, who are now sheltering at home, may now empathize with the need for affordable healthcare, affordable childcare services, flexible work schedules, and equal pay. This is our time to be advocates for change and to push for the policies that women need. We can do it. 

 

-Article first published in LC News, May 2020

 

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

 

Tags:  childcare  COVID  crisis  domestic violence  essential  healthcare  pandemic  politics  reproductive justice  social change  society  women  women in 

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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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Guest Blog: 45th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade – Part 2

Posted By Tracy Rogers, Thursday, January 18, 2018
 

45th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade – Part 2

 

As part of a Lawyers Club blog series in celebration of the 45th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, I interviewed Marsela Rojas-Salas, Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Coordinator with El Programa Hispano Católico. Ms. Rojas-Salas will be receiving the first ever Audre Lorde Emerging Leader Award at the 45th Anniversary of Roe V. Wade Breakfast Celebration Breakfast hosted by the San Diego Coalition for Reproductive Justice on Friday, January 26, 2018. Below is a summary of my interview.

 

Marsela Rojas-Salas moved to San Diego in 2015 for graduate school and in the spring of 2016, furthered her activism with California Latinas for Reproductive Justice (CLRJ). With CLRJ, Rojas-Salas’s confidence in organizing began to grow. “The power of holding space for our traumas collectively, while organizing with and educating our community on reproductive justice issues was affirmed,” said Rojas-Salas.

 

Expanding the reproductive justice network has been critical to her role in the movement. This led to bringing No Más Bebes to San Diego State University, engaging students to become more critical of the history of sterilization against Latina immigrant women in Los Angeles. Rojas-Salas also co-facilitated a workshop on the differences between reproductive rights, health, and justice through the Women’s Resource Center.

 

In August of 2017, CLRJ staff hosted their first California Latinas Presente! in which members from the San Diego chapter recruited community members to join a Day of Action. CLRJ provided hands-on training on California's policy making process and effective policy advocacy strategies, followed by visits with federal and state legislators and their staff to discuss priority reproductive justice policy issues like the Gender Recognition Act, which passed in California!

 

Rojas-Salas wants readers to know that reproductive oppression and the resulting movement involves many overlapping societal factors. Reproductive oppression is represented through the forced sterilization of black, indigenous people of color in the 1960s and 1970s in Puerto Rico and Los Angeles; coerced sterilization of women in prisons that only recently ended in 2014; and the ways in which people with disabilities have been deemed unfit for parenthood.

 

Reproductive oppression is also illustrated by the ways in which the mainstream media portrays poor black women as “Welfare Queens,” and the children of undocumented women of color as “anchor babies” who seek to suck the system dry of its so-called benefits. Such stereotypes blame women of color for overpopulation and insufficient government funds, and thus, shape U.S. policy that is anti-immigrant, anti-black, and forces parents of color and their respective communities to struggle under capitalism.

 

Reproductive justice must also be about the right to have children and the right to raise youth in a world free of police brutality, environmental racism, sexual and gendered violence, homophobia and transphobia, violent detention centers and deportations, gentrification and displacement of communities of color, and so much more! This requires radical friendships, says Rojas-Salas. “For many of us, our politics and our activism are intimately tied to cultivating radical friendships with women, femmes, queer, and trans folks of color,” and many more.

 

When asked, “What are the best ways for attorneys and law students to help?” Marsela replied, “Utilize a reproductive justice lens in your work. There is an organization called “If/When/How” that supports law students in creating reproductive justice chapters on campus and even provides online toolkits on various issues such as reproductive justice in the prison system, women of color and the struggle for reproductive justice, reproductive justice for LGBTQ folks, as well as a chapter leader guide.”

 

Tracy Rogers is an appellate lawyer specializing in criminal appeals and wrote this as the Lawyers Club liaison to the San Diego Reproductive Justice Coalition.

Tags:  activism  guest blogger  LCB  politics  reproductive justice  reproductive justice committee  reproductive rights 

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My So-Called First-World Problems: "The Seven Most Miserable Moments for Women this Election Season"

Posted By Rebecca Zipp, Tuesday, November 8, 2016
The Seven Most Miserable Moments for Women this Election Season:

7. Trump mansplains a Muslim woman voter at a town hall-style debate, “We have to be sure that Muslims come in and report when they see something going on,” after she poses a question about combating Islamophobia.

6. The vice presidential debate, during which the word “women” was uttered 20 times in connection with the following topics:

  • In reference to reproductive freedom: 13
  • Men and women in military service: 2
  • Quoting Donald Trump’s descriptions of individual women: 2
  • Men and women in law enforcement: 1
  • Quoting Hillary Clinton on women’s rights: 1
  • Women as political colleagues: 1

Based on this breakdown: Women are 66% reproductive chamber, 10% objects of male ridicule, 24% human people.

5. The selection of Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana, as major party’s VP nominee. Mr. Pence is so hostile toward abortion that recent legislation in Indiana mandating funerals or cremation for miscarried fetuses and barring abortion in cases of fetal abnormalities gave rise to the “Periods for Pence” movement. This, in a state where public funding of abortion is prohibited except for cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest; state law limits private insurance coverage of abortion; parental consent is required, and women are subject to an 18-hour waiting period after receiving mandated counseling on fetal pain.


4. #Repealthe19th – After realizing that Trump would win the election if the right to vote were reserved to men only, Trump supporters (male and female) took to Twitter with this hashtag, claiming that a Trump victory is more important than suffrage. Fortunately, they haven’t advocated #Repealthe13th. (At least, not as of press time.)


3, 2, and 1, in no particular order:

  • A major-party nominee boasts about his sexually assaultive behavior.
  • Political leaders describe their chagrin with the major-party nominee’s boasts in the following ways: “as the father of three daughters” (Mitch McConnell);  “as the grandfather of two precious girls” (Jeb Bush); “Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters . . . ” (Mitt Romney); “[W]e’ve got a 15-year-           old daughter” (Jason Chaffetz); and, even the nominee’s own running-mate Mike Pence chimed in, “[a]s a husband and a father, I was offended.” As shrewdly     observed by Amanda Marcotte on slate.com, these men invoking their wives and daughters, “fram[es] sexual violence as a property crime against male-controlled female bodies, rather than a crime against people with rights.”

Rebecca Zipp is a person. While she derives much joy from her husband and sons, she understands that her intrinsic value as a person does not stem from her status as a wife or mother.

Tags:  Abortion  elections 2016  mansplain  politics  sexual violence  victim-blaming  voting  voting rights  women 

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more Calendar

9/30/2020
Fall Virtual Mixer: For Members New and Not-so New: Where Everyone Takes a Seat at the Bar!

10/15/2020
Diverse Women's Committee Program: Women at the Forefront of Social Change

10/26/2020
HTC MCLE Labor Trafficking 101

11/19/2020
Equal Pay Day Event

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