How to Be a Good Ally: A Strategic (Civil Rights) Engagement Conference

On January 6, 2016, I joined over 1,000 lawyers and legal professionals attending the How to Be a Good Ally conference in San Francisco. While work called me away in the mid-afternoon, I left tremendously impressed and inspired by those who organized the conference in reaction to the election results, by those who spoke to us, and by our local legal community. And I continued to follow the conference on Twitter.

Join 1,000+ lawyers and legal professionals for this cutting edge conference addressing urgent matters of importance, including rising hate crimes and anti-Semitism; governmental targeting of the Muslim community; deportations and dreamers; the targeting of transgender people and religious exemptions to LGBT civil rights protections; reproductive freedom and saving Roe v. Wade; changes to the Affordable Care Act and health access and impacts on people with disabilities and at-risk populations; criminalization of communities of color; combatting domestic and sexual violence; environmental protections under siege; voting rights and access; economic justice and workers’ rights; and challenges to civil liberties and the civil justice system.

You can follow the Storify here. Also check out the materials provided on Lieff Cabraser’s site relevant to each of the panels described below.

Highlighted Tweets & Resources

(from SFBayAllies, ADL San Francisco, Equal Rights Advocates, Equal Justice Society, Sara Zimmeran, Sally Xiyi Chen, Legal Aid at Work, Alison Elgart, Jeremy Chan, Bryan Parker)

Panel 1: Hate Crimes, Anti-Semitism and Rise of the White Nationalist Right

  • #HateGroups are emboldened when they feel they have allies in positions of power in gov’t. -@orensegal
  • Great takeaway from our first panel: protecting one group against hate crimes, is protecting all of us.
  • Action point: encourage advocates, allies & social media platforms to prevent #onlinehate and encourage positivity & truth
  • 501(c)(3) nonprofits can speak out if elected officials are advocating hate messages or violating civil rights
  • Reason for optimism: nonprofits are setting aside differences to collaborate on bigger civil rights issues
  • Recommendations of the ADL Task Force on the Online Harassment of Journalists

Panel 2: Government Targeting of Muslim Community

  • The Trump Memos: The ACLU’s Constitutional Analysis of the Public Statements and Policy Proposals of Donald Trump
  • Little outcry to Muslim registration program after 9/11-we must do better this time. Naheed Qureshi, @MuslimAdvocates

Panel 3: Immigrant Rights, Deportations and Dreamers

Panel 4: LGBTQ Equality Backlash

Panel 5: Protecting People with Disabilities and Medically at Risk

Panel 6: Justice Under Attack

  • Donald Trump and the Overinflated Presidency (WSJ)
  • Amicus: Corruption in the White House (Slate)
  • @Dahlialithwick We need to do better job of helping ppl undstnd what’s @stake; other side convincd ppl to vote against self-interest
  • Have to work across narrow interests (environment, LGBT, etc.); change will come from ground-up – decentralized @Dahlialithwick
  • “In order to change the rules, you need movement building.” – @rashadrobinson
  • @Dahlialithwick Nobody wants to talk about private prisons or gerrymandering but we have to get there
  •  @Dahlialithwick we must get beyond booze, Netflix & sleep. Tweeting & FB alone is not enough
  • Public failure to demand substance from media and government – @CharlesMBlow
  • Media was complicit in (digital) act of war – @CharlesMBlow
  • Optimist Prime: When cable news said, “he may not be good for the country, but he is good for our bottom line” = giant red flag. Unforgivable.

Panel 7: Criminalization of Communities of Color

Panel 8: Reproductive Rights and Saving Roe v. Wade

Panel 9: Combatting Domestic and Sexual Violence

  • @realDonaldTrump a disaster for violence against women. Must shift culture, esp in low wage industries+colleges.
  • ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice Resource List from Campus Sexual Assault: A Civil Rights Perspective
  • Comments by PEOTUS and Sessions threaten to normalize gender-based violence. We must stand united to combat sexual violence

Panel 10: Protecting Workers

  • Chris Ho outlines how crucial protecting workers’ rights is now, esp. for undocumented workers, approx 10% of CA workforce
  • Language Discrimination (Legal Aid at Work)

Panel 11: Saving the Planet

Panel 12: Securing Voting Rights

Panel 13: Lift America to be America Again – A Call to Action (keynote by Rev. William Barber II)

  • If you ever want to see what white privilege is, we have just seen it in this election.
  • Trump mixes race and othering with economic fears, and points their fears towards women, POC, immigrants
  • We need mvmt lawyers, we need social engineers.  Everything you went to law school for is on the line RIGHT NOW.