Dereca Blackmon is an award-winning filmmaker and activist, with over 20 years of experience organizing African Americans to fight institutional and internalized racism. She began her career as an officer in Stanford's Black Student Union where she organized to overturn the Eurocentric core curriculum and founded the first National Black Student Action Day. In 2007, she was awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award for Alameda County for her tireless advocacy on behalf of the youth of Oakland. Ms. Blackmon is the Executive Director of Leadership Excellence in Oakland, California. Its mission is to provide grassroots community organizing and leadership skills to African American children and youth (ages 5 to 18).
Maria Blanco ('84)
Maria Blanco is the Executive Director of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity (Warren Institute). Blanco brings more than 20 years of experience as a litigator and advocate for immigrant rights, women’s rights and racial justice. Blanco formerly served as the executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Blanco is also the co-chair of the California Coalition for Civil Rights, a group dedicated to building a progressive national agenda for civil and human rights. She has successfully litigated pivotal civil rights cases, such as Davis v. San Francisco, which brought women for the first time into the San Francisco Fire Department; and Castrejon v. Tortilleria La Mejor, which established that undocumented workers are covered by federal anti-discrimination laws.
Stephanie Bush-Baskette is the director of the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey that connects researchers with citizens, businesses and policymakers, in order to promote informed policy making on issues such as urban development, housing, education, social justice, criminal justice, children and juveniles, and health. Prior to beginning an academic and research career, Dr. Bush-Baskette practiced law for several years, was elected to and served in the New Jersey State Legislature, and was a member of the Gubernatorial Cabinet and served as commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. While in the New Jersey State Legislature, she successfully sponsored laws that raised the minimum wage in New Jersey to $5.05 an hour (in 1990), and instituted the first Family Leave Law in the country (1988). She was also the majority whip chair of the Senior Citizens Committee, vice chair of the Financial Institutions Committee, vice chair of the New Jersey Criminal Justice Commission, and chair of the Commission’s Alternatives to Incarceration Committee.
Lydia Chávez is a professor at U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Chávez started as a reporter for The Albuquerque Tribune, later moving on to Time magazine, the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, where she served as El Salvador and South American bureau chief. In 2005, Chávez and her students collaborated to publish Capitalism, God and A Good Cigar: Cuba Enters the Twenty-First Century (Duke University Press). In 1998, Chávez published The Color Bind: California’s Battle Against Affirmative Action, which won the Leonard Silk Award (U.C. Press). She has also written op-ed pieces for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Examiner and magazine pieces for the Los Angeles Times and New York Times Sunday Magazines and George Magazine. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
David Chiu is Chief Operating Officer of Grassroots Enterprise and has also served as the company's General Counsel. David previously worked in the United States Senate, as Democratic Counsel to the Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee and as Senator Paul Simon's aide to the Senate Budget Committee. David was also a criminal prosecutor with the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, as well as a law clerk to Judge James Browning of the Ninth Circuit United States Court of Appeals. He has served as a staff attorney with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, where one of his responsibilities was to manage online communications for a coalition of 50 civil rights, social service, religious and labor organizations. David has served as board president of the Youth Leadership Institute, president of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, chair of California's 13th Assembly District Democratic Committee, and a board member with nonprofits focused on affordable housing, domestic violence and civil rights.
Constance de la Vega
Professor de la Vega is Director of the International Transactions and Comparative Law (ICL) LL.M. Program at the University of San Francisco, where she is also Academic Director of the law school’s International Programs. Professor de la Vega received her B.A. from Scripps College and her J.D. from Berkeley. Before joining the USF faculty, Professor de la Vega worked as staff attorney, managing attorney and student coordinator at the Legal Aid Society of Alameda County and as a staff attorney at the East Palo Alto Community Law Project where she supervised Stanford law students. She has written extensively on international human rights legal issues and has participated at various United Nations human rights meetings. She also teaches International Human Rights Law and directs the International Human Rights Clinic.
Meredith Desautels (’08)
Meredith Desautels is a third-year student at Boalt. She is interested in race and poverty issues broadly, and has sought to engage with these issues on a number of different levels throughout her education. Most recently, she worked as a law clerk at Public Advocates, where she created and implemented a training program on school-based advocacy rights for a local non-profit. She is also a team leader for Street Law, a program that brings law students to the Alameda Juvenile Hall to talk to the youth there about the law, their rights, and larger social justice issues. Her goal is to work with broad alliances to further racial and economic justice.
Lia Epperson is an assistant professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, where she teaches in the areas of constitutional law, civil rights, and education. Currently, her scholarship centers on constitutional interpretations of educational equity and the role of public schools and universities in making manifest the Constitution’s promise of equal opportunity. Professor Epperson’s research interests are informed by her experiences litigating education cases throughout the country, and lobbying for the maintenance and enforcement of civil rights protections.
Prior to joining the faculty in 2005, Professor Epperson directed the education law and policy group of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund (LDF). While there, she litigated in federal and state courts, advocated for federal administrative and legislative reforms, and co-authored multiple /amicus/ briefs to the United States Supreme Court in the areas of education and affirmative action. In addition, she represented LDF in several national civil rights leadership coalitions, including serving as chair of the Education Task Force for the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights, a coalition of nearly 200 national organizations.
Prior to her time at LDF, Professor Epperson was an attorney with Morrison & Foerster in Palo Alto, CA, and a law clerk to the Honorable Timothy K. Lewis of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She received her law degree from Stanford University, where she served as an editor of the Stanford Law Review as well as the Stanford Law and Policy Review. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology—magna cum laude—from Harvard University.
Professor Epperson currently serves on the Board Nominating Committee of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the Justice Fund Honorary Committee of the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center.
Mary Louise Frampton
Mary Louise Frampton is the Director of the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice and a lecturer-in-residence at Berkeley Law School, where she teaches restorative justice and law and social justice. For 30 years she was a civil rights lawyer in the San Joaquin Valley, first as Directing Attorney of the Madera office of California Rural Legal Assistance and then in a firm that she established in Fresno. She worked for farmworkers and small farmers in legislative campaigns and litigation to enforce federal reclamation law and represented plaintiffs in employment discrimination and other civil rights actions.
Josh Fryday (’09)
Josh Fryday, a native to the Bay Area, is a second-year student at the Berkeley School of Law. Josh has an extensive background in community organizing and has worked in electoral politics for the last several years at the local, state and federal levels. He currently sits on the Board of the Directors for the California Alumni Association, where he works on issues of diversity in higher education as the Chair of the Diversity Committee.
Lucas Guttentag is the national director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation. Mr. Guttentag founded the Immigrants’ Rights Project (IRP) in New York in 1987 and established the California office in 1996. Under his direction, the IRP’s staff conducts a program of national impact litigation, advocacy and public education to enforce and expand the constitutional and civil rights of immigrants. Mr. Guttentag has litigated major immigrants’ rights cases, including regional and national class actions, for almost twenty years. He has argued many cases in federal courts of appeals throughout the country and has successfully argued in the United States Supreme Court, INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289 (2001), Calcano-Martinez v. INS, 533 U.S. 349 (2001), and in the California Supreme Court, Press v. Lucky Stores Inc., 34 Cal. 3d 311, 667 P.2d 704 (1983).
Monique Harden is the co-director of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights (“AEHR”), a nonprofit, public interest law firm in New Orleans, Louisiana, that she co-founded with attorney Nathalie Walker. AEHR provides innovative human rights litigation and a broad range of public advocacy to defend the human right to a healthy environment. Prior to forming AEHR Harden was an attorney at both Earth Justice and Greenpeace. Her legal counsel and advocacy support to organized communities have contributed to important environmental justice victories that have protected people from the damaging health and environmental burdens of industrial pollution. On behalf of African American residents in Mossville, Louisiana, Harden and AEHR legal staff filed the first-ever human rights petition seeking reform of the United States environmental regulatory system. The petition was filed with the Organization of American States Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in March 2005. Harden has also coordinated international coalitions of community organizations advocating for human rights and environmental justice. Since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Harden has spearheaded advocacy and organized coalitions to protect human rights in the recovery of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region. Harden is a graduate of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland and received her J.D. degree from the University of Texas Law School at Austin. A native of Louisiana, Harden recalls how her great grandfather was killed working on the levees in that state.
Aileen Clarke Hernández
Aileen Clarke Hernández is an urban consultant and CEO of her own firm, founded in 1967 and based in San Francisco. Appointed by President Lyndon Baines Johnson, she was the only woman member of the first United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
She is the State Chair of the California Women’s Agenda, a network of 600 organizations serving women and girls; the Coordinator for the Bay Area’s Black Women Stirring the Waters; and Chair of the Coalition for Economic Equity, which advocates for increased contracting opportunities with the private and public sectors for businesses owned by women and minorities. She was the second national president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and currently serves on the Steering Committee of the California Coalition for Civil Rights and the Board of Directors of the Center for Governmental Studies. In 1995, she was one of the 1000 women globally nominated collectively for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Lisalyn R. Jacobs
Lisalyn R. Jacobs joined Legal Momentum as Vice-President for Government Relations in March of 2003. She began her legal career at the National Partnership for Women and Families under the auspices of Georgetown's Women's Law & Public Policy Fellowship. Following three years in private practice, she joined the Office of Policy Development of the U.S. Justice Department in 1995 and worked on a number of issues including implementation of the Violence Against Women Act, the welfare reform law, judicial nominations and affirmative action. She also served as Chief of Staff of the Civil Rights Division, as well as Special Counsel to the Director of the Violence Against Women Office. She has also been a civil and human rights consultant on issues ranging from capital punishment to affirmative action, and international human rights. She has testified before congressional committees at both the state and federal levels and has appeared widely in television and print media, including CNN and the New York Times.
Keith Kamisugi is the director of communications at the Equal Justice Society, responsible for the organization's media relations and online strategies. He was previously a regional spokesman for Verizon Communications, account manager for technology PR agency Niehaus Ryan Wong and serviced a diverse portfolio of companies as an independent consultant. He also served for four years on the executive staffs of Hawai'i governors John Waihee and Benjamin Cayetano. Kamisugi’s work involving journalists of color has included managing communications for several AAJA national conventions and serving as communications director for the UNITY 2004 convention, which was attended by more than 7,000 journalists of color in Washington, D.C. He also helped coordinate the community media training workshops for the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles chapters of AAJA. Keith received AAJA's national award for Member of the Year in 2004, the only non-journalist/media professional to receive that recognition.
Jerry Kang is Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. His teaching and scholarly pursuits include civil procedure, race, and communications. On race, he has focused on the nexus between implicit bias and the law, with the goal of importing recent scientific findings from the mind sciences into legal discourse and policymaking. He is also an expert on Asian American communities and has written about hate crimes, affirmative action, the Japanese-American internment, and its lessons for the “War on Terror.” He is a co-author of Race, Rights, and Reparation: The Law and the Japanese American Internment (Aspen 2001). He joined UCLA in Fall 1995 and was elected Professor of the Year in 1998 and received the Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2007. At UCLA, he helped found the Concentration for Critical Race Studies, the first program of its kind in American legal education, and acted as its founding co-director for two years. Professor Kang has visited at both Georgetown Law Center and Harvard Law School.
M. Bob Kao (’08)
M. Bob Kao, a transnational subject from Taiwan, is a third-year law student at Boalt Hall. He is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Asian American Law Journal, Curriculum Chair of the HCSJ Student Advisory Board, and is involved in the Student Liaison Committee for Faculty Appointments and the Student Office Space Task Force. Before law school, he taught basic computer skills to Chinese speakers, received a M.A. in psychology with a focus on social class privilege in a college setting, made several short films, and fought and lost many battles for ethnic studies, free speech, and student-of-color rights against the Wesleyan University administration. Bob—increasingly interested in restorative justice and prison abolition—wants to be a public defender.
Pamela S. Karlan
Pamela S. Karlan is the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law at Stanford Law School. A productive scholar and award-winning teacher, Karlan is also the founding director of the school’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, where students litigate live cases before the Court. One of the nation’s leading experts on voting and the political process, she has served as a commissioner on the California Fair Political Practices Commission and an assistant counsel and cooperating attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Professor Karlan is the co-author of three leading casebooks on constitutional law and related subjects, as well as more than four dozen scholarly articles. She is a widely recognized commentator on legal issues and is frequently featured on programs such as the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Before joining the Stanford Law School faculty in 1998, she was a professor of law at the University of Virginia School of Law and served as a law clerk to Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge Abraham D. Sofaer of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Bill Kennedy is the Managing Attorney of Legal Services of Northern California in Sacramento. He has spent 32 years serving low-income families at California Rural Legal Assistance, Channel Counties Legal Assistance and LSNC. His has handled major litigation under Title VII, Section 1983 challenges to the police practices of the INS, Border Patrol and cases that examine the nexus between land use and civil rights. During the past 15 years, he has pursued the ideal of community-based practice that seeks to create institutions of change soundly in the control of his clients. He has served as counsel to ACORN, The Sacramento Valley Organizing Community (an IAF affiliate) The Mutual Assistance Network of Del Paso Heights, Asian Resources, and many other neighborhood organizations.
Goodwin Liu is an Assistant Professor of Law at U.C. Berkeley School of Law. Liu's primary areas of expertise are constitutional law, education policy, civil rights, and the Supreme Court. His latest work in progress, "Education, Equality, and National Citizenship," seeks to anchor a federal legislative duty to remedy educational inadequacy and inequality in the Fourteenth Amendment's Citizenship Clause. Liu is the author of "The Parted Paths of School Desegregation and School Finance Litigation," forthcoming in Law & Inequality (2005); "School Choice to Achieve Desegregation" in Fordham Law Review (2005) (with William L. Taylor); "Brown, Bollinger, and Beyond" in Howard Law Journal’s 2004 volume commemorating the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education; "Separation Anxiety: Congress, the Courts, and the Constitution" in Georgetown Law Journal (2003) (with Hillary Rodham Clinton); and "The Causation Fallacy: Bakke and the Basic Arithmetic of Selective Admissions" in Michigan Law Review (2002). With Christopher Edley, he is co-director of a multi-year, multi-disciplinary project called "Rethinking Rodriguez: Education as a Fundamental Right" in Boalt's Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity.
Timothy Patrick McCarthy
Timothy Patrick McCarthy is Lecturer on History and Literature (Faculty of Arts and Sciences), Adjunct Lecturer on Public Policy (Kennedy School of Government), Harvard University. His research focuses on slavery and abolition, media culture and political rhetoric, and the history of democratic social movements. He has published two books—The Radical Reader: A Documentary History of the American Radical Tradition (New Press, 2003) and Prophets of Protest: Reconsidering the History of American Abolitionism (New Press, 2006). During 2007-08, McCarthy is a Fellow at Harvard’s Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, where he is working on a new book about evolving conceptions of civic equality in the United States from the American Revolution to Reconstruction. An award-winning teacher and public servant, he has also taught at Columbia, and Barnard, and currently serves as Academic Director of the Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities, a multidisciplinary college course offered free of charge to low-income adults in Dorchester, MA. McCarthy lectures widely on topics ranging from history and literature to politics and civil rights.
Natalia Merluzzi (’08)
Natalia Merluzzi is a third-year law student at University of California, Berkeley, where she has focused her studies on race, inclusion, equity and justice. She has been active in several student journals and organizations. She currently serves as an Articles Editor for California Law Review and Social Activist Chair for Law Students of African Descent. She has been instrumental in starting a seminar class that provides legal research support to non-profit groups in New Orleans. Upon graduation, she plans to provide legal representation and advocacy to politically and economically marginalized communities.
Monique W. Morris
Monique W. Morris is the Henderson Center's Senior Research Fellow. Morris has over 15 years of professional and volunteer experience as an advocate in the areas of education, civil rights, juvenile justice, and social justice. Ms. Morris is the former director of the Discrimination Research Center, a nonprofit organization that combines research and public education to discuss the prevalence of discrimination in access to employment and public services. For several years, Morris led a number of research and strategic planning projects at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency to address racial and gender disparities in the criminal justice system. Her expertise on racial, gender, and cultural competencies has been documented in several local and national publications. Ms. Morris is the author of a novel, Too Beautiful for Words (Amistad Press) and a number of articles and book chapters on social justice and discrimination issues.
David B. Oppenheimer (’78)
David Benjamin Oppenheimer is Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty Development at Golden Gate University School of Law, in San Francisco. Professor Oppenheimer has presented scholarly papers on discrimination law at numerous universities, including Yale, Stanford, Columbia, Berkeley, Duke, Oxford and the University of Paris, and has published articles on discrimination law in the Pennsylvania Law Review, the Cornell Law Review, the Columbia Journal of Human Rights Law, the Berkeley Women’s Law Journal, the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Droit et Cultures, and many others. He is a co-author of the award-winning Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society (2003). In addition to his position at Golden Gate, he is an affiliated scholar with the Institute for the Study of Social Change at the University of California, Berkeley.
Martin Reynolds is the managing editor of the Oakland Tribune. Reynolds started at the Tribune as a Freedom Forum Chips Quinn Scholar in 1995. He was hired as a reporter after attending San Francisco State University. As a reporter, he covered everything from fires to homicides, education to economic development in Oakland and Alameda. He was promoted to assistant city editor in 2000, and in early 2005 was elevated to Special Projects Editor for ANG, which included at that time, The Daily Review in Hayward, The Argus in Fremont, Tri-Valley Herald in Pleasanton and San Mateo County Times. As associate editor, Reynolds spearheaded the company’s first multimedia training sessions and the development of a student news bureau program with the University of California-Berkeley and San Francisco State University. He also is working on an ongoing project with the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice to look at alternative sentencing options for juveniles, new ways to use databases and the Internet for solution-oriented reporting, as well as the creation of a media access center for citizen journalism.
Honorable Cruz Reynoso (’58)
Cruz Reynoso holds the Boochever and Bird Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality at the U.C. Davis School of Law. The son of Mexican immigrants, Reynoso rose to become the first Latino to serve on California’s highest court. He first gained national recognition as Director of California Rural Legal Assistance, where he fought for the rights of the rural poor from 1968-1972. He served as a jurist with the 3rd District Court of Appeal for California in Sacramento and as an associate justice of the California Supreme Court. Since 1993, he has been an active member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In 2000 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, for his lifelong devotion to public service.
Ms. Serrano is the Director of the Educational Development Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Ms. Serrano clerked for Associate Justices Robert G. Klein and Mario R. Ramil of the Hawai’i Supreme Court. From 2000-2001, she served as the Thurgood Marshall Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. Following her fellowship, Ms. Serrano became the founding Research Director (2001-2005) of the national Equal Justice Society and served as Special Projects Attorney (2006) at the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco. While in law school at the University of Hawai’I (’98), Ms. Serrano was the Articles Editor for the Law Review. She also worked at the Hawai`i Civil Rights Commission, authored a chapter in E Alu Like Mai I Ka Pono: Coming Together For Justice, and won the Trina Grillo Award for Best Student Paper in Critical Race Theory. Ms. Serrano has published on civil rights, critical race theory, Native Hawaiian rights, and human rights. She also has co-authored amicus briefs in cases such as Grutter v. Bollinger and Doe v. Kamehameha Schools.
Sarah Steinheimer (’09)
Before coming to the U.C. Berkeley Law School, Sarah Steinheimer worked as a housing organizer in the Central Valley of California and assisted low-income renters with mobilizing for affordable housing. Last summer, she worked as a law clerk at Legal Services of Northern California in Sacramento, and prior to that was the Program Manager for California Coalition for Rural Housing. A second-year law student, she is also employed as a Research Assistant in the Henderson Center’s work on dismantling the intent requirement.
Kimberly Thomas Rapp
Kimberly Thomas Rapp joined the Equal Justice Society as Director of Law and Public Policy in July 2005. She was previously a litigator at an Oakland, California law firm and a management consultant for corporations and institutions across the country. Thomas Rapp served as a law clerk with the Contra Costa County Public Defender's Office and the East Bay Community Law Center. In addition, she was a legal intern with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In her spare time, Thomas Rapp serves as an advisor to community organizations engaging in diverse outreach efforts to benefit senior citizens and other underserved members of our community. She also continues to be involved in developing programs to educate, motivate and prepare youth from various backgrounds to make meaningful contributions to our society. Thomas Rapp graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and received her law degree from Stanford Law School.
Appointed Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) President and General Counsel in November 2006, Mr. Trasviña began his career at MALDEF in Washington, DC as a legislative attorney in 1985. He later worked for U.S. Senator Paul Simon as General Counsel & Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. In 1997, President Clinton appointed Mr. Trasviña as Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices to lead the only federal government office devoted solely to immigrant workplace rights. He was the highest-ranking Latino attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice. After returning to California, he taught immigration law at Stanford Law School. A highly sought-after advocate, Mr. Trasviña testified in the last Congress before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in support of extension of the Voting Rights Act and before the U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee against English Only legislation.
Theodore Hsien Wang
Ted Wang serves as a public policy consultant to foundations regarding affirmative action, immigrants’ rights and language access. Previously, he was the Public Policy Director at Chinese for Affirmative Action and a staff attorney at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. Ted has published widely on topics related to equal access and creating equal opportunities for racial and language minorities. He is a graduate of Reed College and Yale Law School.
Malcolm Yeung is a staff attorney with the Asian Law Caucus. Since 2006, Malcolm has been the Caucus’s Housing and Community Development attorney, representing monolingual Asian immigrants in a variety of housing-related matters, including eviction defense, challenging substandard living conditions, fair housing discrimination violations, and community development transactions. Prior to law school, Malcolm was an Americorp volunteer, working with limited-English-proficient students as an English-as-Second-Language (ESL) instructor. In addition to his law degree, Malcolm has also completed a Masters in American History, specializing in immigrant labor in the Rocky Mountain West. Malcolm is currently on the board of the San Francisco Peoples’ Organizations, representing the community based organizations caucus. He sits on the board of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area.