Wednesday, October 18th
The Impact of "Religious Exemption" and Conscience Laws on Marginalized Communities
A Lunchtime Talk in Law, Rights, & Religion, with:
Gurjot "Jo" Kaur, Agency Attorney at NYC Commission on Human Rights
Ashe McGovern, Columbia Law School
12:10 pm - 1:10 pm
Jerome Greene Hall Room 502
Come hear Gurjot "Jo" Kaur, Agency Attorney at the Law Enforcement Bureau of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and former Senior Staff Attorney with the Sikh Coalition, speak with Ashe McGovern, Legislative and Policy Director of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project at Columbia Law, about the benefits and potential consequences of so-called "religious exemption" and conscience laws. Jo will discuss her cutting-edge work litigating high impact religious rights cases on behalf of Sikhs, Muslims and South Asians, as well as her current work at the Commission. Both panelists will highlight the impact these laws have on LGBTQ communities, communities of color, and religious minorities, as well as potential opportunities for local government intervention to ensure the rights of all impacted communities are properly balanced and enforced.
This event is free and open to the public, and is co-supported by the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law, the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project, and the Institute for Research on Women, Gender & Sexuality. A non-pizza lunch will be served. If you have require any accessibility accommodations to attend or participate in this program, please contact Liz Boylan, Associate Director for the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212.854.0167.
Gurjot "Jo" Kaur is an Agency Attorney at the Law Enforcement Bureau of the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Before joining the Commission, she worked as a Senior Staff Attorney at the Sikh Coalition, litigating a docket of high impact religious rights cases. Jo represented a Sikh applicant in a novel failure-to-hire case against a Lexus car dealership, led the legal team that desegregated a Sikh mail carrier at Walt Disney World, and obtained religious accommodations for dozens of Sikh employees across the country. She spearheaded efforts to hold the TSA accountable for unlawful profiling of religious minorities, and has regularly appeared on panels and in the press to discuss post-9/11 backlash and discrimination faced by Sikhs, Muslims, and South Asians. Jo worked closely with the victims and survivors of the Oak Creek mass shooting and represented the first Sikh American to testify before the U.S. Senate. Jo was also part of the legal team that obtained historic accommodations for four Sikh soldiers to serve in the U.S. Army with their articles of faith intact. Jo started her legal career at the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County where she represented children in dependency and delinquency proceedings. Jo is admitted to the bars of New York, New Jersey, and Florida.
Ashe McGovern is the Legislative and Policy Director of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School. Before joining Columbia, Ashe was a Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress (CAP) in Washington, DC, where they engaged in state and federal public policy research, analysis, and advocacy, with a particular focus on LGBTQ poverty and the criminalization of LGBTQ communities. Prior to CAP, Ashe worked as an Equal Justice Works Fellow at New York Legal Assistance Group, where they launched the LGBTQ Health and Economic Justice Initiative to provide direct legal services and advocacy to low-income LGBTQ communities in New York. Ashe’s work has been published in The Nation, NPR, Slate, Rewire, the Huffington Post, the Advocate, and ThinkProgress, among other sites, and prior to law school, Ashe worked as an adult education teacher in Brooklyn.
This event is free and open to the public. No RSVP is required.