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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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The Power of Choice

Posted By Yahairah Aristy: A President’s Perspective, Friday, August 21, 2020
Updated: Thursday, August 20, 2020

The power of choice has never been more on display than it was yesterday when a male presidential candidate deliberately chose a woman who is a person of color to be his running mate. Only two other women have been vice presidential nominees, Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008. This historical moment cannot be ignored and must be acknowledged regardless of political affiliation or thought.


Our mission is to advance the status of women in the law and society, and thus Lawyers Club applauds United States Senator Kamala Harris’ trailblazing accomplishment. Lawyers Club has long invited women who are breaking gender barriers for all women to share time with our members. Therefore, it is no surprise that in May 2011 Harris was the annual dinner keynote speaker and in September 2008 was the luncheon speaker.

Harris has been breaking gender barriers for years. In 2003, she was elected the first person of color to serve as San Francisco District Attorney. In 2010, she was elected the first woman and first person of color to serve as California Attorney General. In 2016, she was elected the first Indian American person, and second African American woman to serve in the United States Senate.

Regardless of the state of political affairs and racial tensions today, the nomination of a woman and person of color as vice president for 330 million Americans is a prodigious moment for the advancement of women and diversity in our society.

 

Yahairah Aristy is a Deputy Public Defender, and is the 2020-2021 president of Lawyers Club of San Diego.

 

Tags:  election  gender  president  running mate  women of color  women's advocacy 

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Consequences of Anti-Feminism

Posted By Yahairah Aristy: A President’s Perspective, Friday, July 24, 2020
Updated: Thursday, July 23, 2020

Feminism the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes and organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

When self-proclaimed anti-feminist Roy Den Hollander intending to kill Esther Salas, the first Latina woman to serve as United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, instead killed her son, 20 year-old Daniel Anderl and injured her husband, Mark Anderl, judges and citizens around our nation mourned this stark reminder of the vulnerabilities of being a woman judge. These vulnerabilities serve as a powerful reminder that women judges, though they wear the black robe, are not immune from the callousness of people who do not believe women's rights are human rights.

As of August 2019, the appointment of women to Article III courts did not reflect the gender makeup of the United States. (Building a More Inclusive Federal Judiciary (October 2019). In fact, 60 percent of all judges were white males. (Ibid.) People of color, women, and queer people were respectively 20 percent, 27 percent, and 1 percent of all sitting judges. This despite, 40 percent of people of color, 51 percent of women, and 4.5 percent of queer people live in the United States. (Ibid.)

Seeing a woman of color, a double minority, targeted five days ago because of her gender and race is a grim reminder that the fight for the equality of women is far from over.

 

Yahairah Aristy is a Deputy Public Defender, and is the 2020-2021 president of Lawyers Club of San Diego.

 

Tags:  equity  feminism  gender equality  judge  women of color  women's advocacy 

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Take the Census

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President’s Perspective, Friday, April 24, 2020
Updated: Thursday, April 23, 2020
This year you have an opportunity to participate in an event that only occurs once in decade.  However, a recent article in The New York Times highlighted that a recent survey found that fewer women than men intended to participate in this year’s census. This is concerning because the census count determines how valuable federal funds get distributed to the states.  This federal funding is vital to many services that women depend on, including, but not limited to, funding for childcare, programs to protect women and children from domestic violence, and healthcare.  The study also found that women of color were even less likely to express an intention to participate.  This is equally concerning because women of color tend to live in communities most in need of these vital services for women.  
 
One of the reasons for the lack of enthusiasm to participate may be that women are very busy.  Not only are they occupied by their careers, but they are also tasked with caregiving responsibilities, including for children and parents (sometimes simultaneously).  This may also be compounded by COVID-19, which has caused their lives to be upended and created further responsibilities, including the difficult task of trying to work from home with children or running errands for parents who cannot leave their homes. As such, responding to the census might be the last responsibility on women’s minds. 
 
I encourage you all to take time out of your busy lives to fill out the census and encourage others to do the same.  We should not let such an important resource for women to be misallocated, since these services are so vital to assisting women in leading successful lives. 

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

 


Tags:  census  childcare  community  domestic violence  healthcare  services  women  women of color 

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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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Guest Blog: 45th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade – Part 1

Posted By Mehry Mohseni, Tuesday, January 16, 2018

45th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade – Part 1

 

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 Professor Kimala Price. Professor Price will be the guest speaker at the Reproductive Justice Committee meeting THIS THURSDAY, January 19, 2018, at 12:00 p.m. at DLA Piper downtown. Dr. Price will be sharing her experience working in the reproductive justice social movement, her most notable research findings, and she will share highlights from her next publication entitled Reproductive Politics in the United States. This meeting is open to all Lawyers Club members and lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to mehry.mohseni@gmail.com by January 16th, 2018.

 

Here’s a summary of my interview with Professor Price, who has been involved in the reproductive rights and justice movements for more than 25 years as a scholar and an activist:  

 

MM: What does "reproductive justice" mean to you?

 

KP: First of all, reproductive justice is different from the “pro-choice” framework. Reproductive justice is both a theoretical and political organizing framework based on human rights doctrine and social justice principles. “Choice” is based on individual rights to privacy and autonomy, often narrowly focused on abortion rights.

 

Reproductive justice argues that reproductive oppression not only happens to individual people, but also to entire communities, such as the systematic coercive sterilization of women of color, poor women, and women with disabilities in the US throughout the 20th century.

 

Reproductive justice is also intersectional in its approach to reproductive and sexual politics. We must understand how gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic class, ability, and other markers of identity interact with each other and how various groups of women experience reproductive oppression differently.  

 

MM: How do you think reproductive rights have been affected since the Roe v. Wade decision?

 

KP: Reproductive rights and justice have been under constant attack ever since the Roe decision. The Hyde Amendment (1976) bans the use of federal funding for abortions. According to the Guttmacher Institute, states have enacted 231 abortion restrictions between 2011 and 2014. At the state and federal level, there have been efforts to cut family planning funding in general. All of these and other actions have made it more difficult for many women, especially low-income women, to access reproductive and sexual health services, although these services are legal.

 

MM: What are the best ways for attorneys and law students to help?

 

KP: The first step is to become better educated about the framework. There are a few “classic” books that laid the groundwork for the reproductive justice framework: Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty by Dorothy Roberts; Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organizing for Reproductive Justice by Jael Silliman, Marlene Fried Gerber, Loretta Ross, and Elena Gutiérrez; and, Pregnancy and Power: A Short History of Reproductive Politics in America by Rickie Solinger.

 

Another step is to support reproductive justice organizations by donating money, becoming members, and volunteering. I suggest supporting the smaller organizations run by women of color such as SisterSong, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, Black Women for Wellness, Forward Together, and ACCESS Women's Health Justice.

 

I also suggest talking about RJ issues with your personal network of friends, acquaintances, and family. Post about these issues on social media, and hold elected officials accountable for reproductive justice issues. Commit to getting more young people involved in the RJ movement and in politics in general.

 

To learn more, RSVP for the January 19th Reproductive Justice Committee meeting where Dr. Price will be speaking (email me at mehry.mohseni@gmail.com).

 

Mehry Mohseni is a family law attorney with the firm Cage & Miles, LLP and wrote this as RJC Co-Chair. 

Tags:  LCB  reproductive justice  reproductive justice committee  reproductive rights  women of color 

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167 Years, No Women

Posted By Yahairah Aristy, Thursday, October 5, 2017
167 Years, No Women

 

Growing up in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, a kaleidoscope of race, ethnicities and culture was the norm. Being a “woman of color” was not even a phrase in my vocabulary until I became a lawyer. Being a woman of color and an attorney at the same time is no easy feat!


In 2012, Ms. Jackie Lacey was the first woman and the first African American elected to be District Attorney for Los Angeles, one of the largest criminal justice systems in California. She was re-elected in 2016 without any opposition. To many, (including me), this formidable achievement is to be applauded; however, it also raises an eyebrow.


The L.A. District Attorney’s office was created in 1850. It took 167 years for a woman and an African American to be elected, in spite of the presence of women and African Americans in all aspects of the criminal justice system and communities. A revelatory illustration that, “Sometimes the wheels of justice grind slowly.”


In two weeks, I look forward to hearing Ms. Lacey’s advice on how women of color can overcome challenges to advance in the legal profession. As a member of the Diverse Women’s Committee and a woman of color in the legal profession I am well aware that these challenges exist, but also can be overcome.


Join us for this important luncheon on October 19, 2017 –
register now!

 

 

Deputy Public Defender Yahairah Aristy wrote this post for the Diverse Women’s Committee, was born and raised in New York City, and believes diversity and inclusion are a recipe for societal success.

Tags:  diversity  justice  LCB  Los Angeles  Los Angeles District Attorney  luncheon  women of color 

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The Color of Justice: "The Hidden Story of the 2016 Election: Rise of Women of Color in Government"

Posted By Shanly Hopkins, Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Hidden Story of the 2016 Election: Rise of Women of Color in Government


When I think about what this election cycle has meant for women of color, anger and fear are two of the predominate words that come to mind and the representation of women in government stayed about the same. However, one story has lingered in the shadows, and is a small beacon of hope in these troubling times: After the 2016 election, a record number of women of color will be serving in Congress.


The next Congress will include 38 total congresswomen of color, including 35 Democrats and 3 Republicans. Three new democratic women of color were elected to the Senate: Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada, Tammy Duckworth in Illinois, and Kamala Harris in California. All of these new members of Congress are notable trailblazers. Catherine Cortez Masto, won the open Nevada Senate seat vacated by Harry Reid and she will be the first Latina senator. Kamala Harris will be the first Indian-American and second African-American woman to serve in the Senate.


Several women of color were also elected to the House. Stephanie Murphy won her seat in the House by beating 12-term GOP incumbent Rep. John L. Mica in Florida’s 7th Congressional District. Stephanie Murphy will be the first Vietnamese-American female member of Congress. Lisa Blunt Rochester will be not only the first African-American woman to serve in Congress from Delaware, but will also be the first woman to ever serve in Congress from Delaware. Lisa Blunt Rochester was also Delaware’s first African-American female state labor secretary.


Val Demings, who was the first African-American woman to serve as police chief of Orlando, won her congressional race in Florida. In Washington State, Pramila Jayapal, who is Indian-American, won an open congressional seat. New Hampshire will continue to be represented by an all-female congressional delegation. Rep. Mia Love, who was the first African-American female Republican in Congress, was reelected in Utah. Republican U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who was the first Latina elected to Congress, also won reelection.


Another remarkable victory for women of color came from a Minnesota state legislative race, where Democrats elected the first Somali-American lawmaker, Ilhan Omar. Additionally, in Kentucky, Attica Scott became the state’s first African-American female legislator in 20 years. Native Americans were also well represented in this election, with over 40 being elected in state legislative races across the country. Namely, Affie Ellis became the first Native-American woman elected to the Wyoming Legislature. In this election, Nevada Democrats also put up an all-female ballot in a suburb of Las Vegas, right down to the county commissioner.


These victories are a bright spot for women of color in an otherwise dark election. Although we should celebrate these victories, we must still be cognizant of the current climate for women in government. Women are still vastly underrepresented in politics. After this election, women still make up just under 20 percent of Congress, yet represent half of the U.S. population.


Although this election has shown that change is possible for women of color, these changes are moving much too slowly. To win more races, women need to run more. Although Hillary Clinton’s loss will have a lasting effect on women in politics, we cannot let it discourage other women from jumping in and running for office. In 2016, women’s representation in government did not make a large change, but the women who did win are more diverse than ever, and we should use that as motivation to deal with the challenges that will surely come.


Shanly Hopkins is a business and real estate attorney with Aguirre Allen Law, and co-chair of the Professional Advancement Committee.

Tags:  Affie Ellis  Attica Scott  Catherine Cortez Masto  congress  election  house of representatives  Ilhan Omar  Kamala Harris  LCB  Lisa Blunt Rochester  Mia Love  minorities  Pramila Jayapal  senate  Stephanie Murphy  Tammy Duckworth  the color of justice  Val Demings  women of color 

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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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