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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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Advocating for Women of Color

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Thursday, January 30, 2020
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2020

 

As many of you know, women of color face many obstacles in the legal profession. Studies have shown that the combination, or intersectionality, of race and gender has a particularly devastating effect on the professional lives of women of color. For example, Black women only earn 65% of wages earned by men and Latinas 62%. Women of color are also much more likely to leave the private practice or the legal profession entirely. While the Judicial Council of California does not identify demographics for judges based on a combination of gender and race, its annual judicial survey has shown that Asians comprise of 7.8%, Blacks comprise of 7.5%, and Latinos comprise 10.8% of superior court judges.

In order for women of color to succeed in the legal profession they need advocates that will address the barriers to success. The San Diego community is fortunate to have the Hon. Vallera Johnson, who has been an advocate of women of color for decades. Judge Johnson is this year’s keynote speaker for the Women of Color Reception, which is scheduled for February 13, 2020 at Procopio. We hope you will join us and be inspired by sage advice and good company

 

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  gender  gender pay gap  intersectionality  race  representation  women of color 

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My So-Called First World Problems: Racist on a Plane

Posted By Rebecca Zipp, Tuesday, March 6, 2018
My So-Called First World Problems: Racist on a Plane

 

I start a jury trial in less than 48 hours. I have work to do. I have an opening statement to perfect and witness statements to review. Instead, I am sitting here in 22A (window seat, so completely trapped) next to a white supremacist who doesn’t even have the decency to be ashamed of himself.

 

I remember I have a kippah in my purse. I find it, put it on. When I arrive at my hotel later, I will be annoyed, because I will realize I actually had three kippot in my purse, and could have shared them with other passengers. (I had just attended a Jewish wedding.)

 

I asked the flight attendant whether the airline has a policy about racist clothing. I later discovered that they do, and it isn’t allowed. But the flight attendants were in the dark about this policy, because at least two of them said, “Oh, yes, we saw that when he boarded the plane.”

 

The flight attendant did offer me an available middle seat elsewhere. Are you kidding me? Move the white supremacist. Or at least make him take off his vest.

 

I feel sick.

 

I feel like punching him in the face.

 

There is an anger and a fear that I am not accustomed to experiencing.

 

The vest is hanging over the armrest and it is touching me.

 

My discomfort is palpable.

 

The kippah on my head is my son’s and it says Benjamin on it in Hebrew letters.

 

I wish I had a bobby pin.

 

I would use it to keep my kippah in place. I swear.

 

Is coughing on him too passive-aggressive? Is the kippah passive-aggressive?

 

I grew up charmed, in New Jersey! The closest we got to anti-Semitism was an uncomfortable dispute over lyrics in the school Christmas concert.

 

I know people harbor hate. But to wear it on your sleeve? In an airport in a major city?

 

What is this? And who are we?

 

Rebecca Zipp is a San Diego County Deputy District Attorney in the Economic Crimes Division, and focuses her practice on securities fraud and elder financial abuse cases.

Tags:  LCB  My So-Called First-World Problems  race  racism 

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Guest Blog: "Consider the numbers, but let the stories move you"

Posted By Angelica Sciencio, Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, July 19, 2016
I have always strolled peacefully at the intersection of white and black, foreign and homegrown, poor and prosperous. I have heard about many injustices but experienced few.  So like you, I usually scroll through my news feed glancing over lives lost, vocalized racism, masked xenophobia and just plain bigotry. I usually feel sad but somewhat detached from that reality, so I shrug and move on to the puppy videos. But not today.

Today, I cried. I saw the video of Philando Castile bleeding in front of his girlfriend, a child, a cop, and a camera phone. I read about the protests, police officers getting shot and I felt extreme sadness. But what took me over the edge to tears were the excusatory comments from my “friended”, the news headlines, the opportunistic political advances and above all, my own inaction.

I thought about posting #blacklivesmatter on my feed, but I wondered if people would think I was playing victim. You see, I am a foreign-born-woman-of-mixed-race.  My black father was a policeman, who was murdered by a white guy.

Despite that drama, I have always lived in this perpetual middle of the road that has shielded me from extremes. I am black enough to have been made fun of for my hair and to prevent closet-racist friends from using slurs in my presence, but not too black to be stopped and frisked for no reason, to be thrown in jail for minor violations or to be shot in my car. I am foreign enough to have worked long hours at various undesirable jobs for minimum wage and will probably forever mess up my prepositions, but I am not too foreign to make people anxious when I board a plane or to be called a terrorist because of the way I dress or the language I speak. I am poor enough to get my yoga classes on Groupon and to buy dog food on sale, but not too poor to be chastised for using government assistance to feed myself and my family.  I am womanly enough to have been called “doll” and “love” by former male bosses, to have been told to smile more times then I can count, but not a woman who was prevented from getting an education and trying to succeed in a male-dominated profession. And thank heavens I am straight for that I have always been allowed to love and marry (and subsequently divorce) whoever I damned pleased. Don’t get me wrong: it hasn’t been easy, but it has been possible.

My point is: I am part of pretty much every minority group out there, and I don’t even understand what they go through. But I try. When (sometimes unwillingly) I enter into discrimination discussions with more privileged, sheltered friends, I feel the need to formulate arguments based on statistics, logical reasoning and contradictions by the other side. But maybe we shouldn’t have to bring up the numbers to convince. Perhaps, we should just listen and give the other side the benefit of the doubt. 

If you have been blessed with opportunities to succeed, and are tempted to believe that everyone in the world has had the same, do yourself a favor lest you sound like a fool: consider the historical oppression of certain people, the widespread institutional discrimination of certain groups and most importantly, listen to the stories. Then, concoct and implement your own moral affirmative action: give those who have traditionally had less (money, opportunities, freedom, respect, rights) just a little extra love and support.  If we shoot for equity, not equality, we might not need hashtags to shine a light on systemic racism and other inequities. For now, however, #blacklivesmatter, #equalpay, #reproductiverights, #stopbullying, #loveislove. 


This post was authored by Angelica Sciencio, an Immigration Attorney at Law Office of Angelica Sciencio and co-chair of the Diverse Women’s Committee. 

 

Tags:  advocacy  discrimination  diverse women's committee  diversity  guest blogger  LCB  race  social media 

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more Calendar

2/28/2020
COC's Spring Read-In

3/5/2020
2020 Red, White & Brew

3/13/2020
International Women's Day Luncheon

3/19/2020
GOOD Guys MCLE and Networking Happy Hour

5/14/2020
Lawyers Club Annual Dinner: Tickets now on sale!

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