December 15, 2017
Union Theological Seminary - Room 207
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Dignity Denied: Religious Exemptions and LGBT Elder Services
Report Launch and Panel Discussion
The Public Rights/Private Conscience Project, SAGE, and the Movement Advancement Project hosted a launch of a new report detailing the increased risk of discrimination LGBT older adults face as a result of recent efforts to expand religious exemption laws and policies.
Many older Americans rely on a network of service providers as they age. A majority are offered by religiously affiliated organizations. As a result of administrative, legislative, and legal efforts to create a license to discriminate, more and more service providers are allowed to exempt themselves from state and federal law and to discriminate against LGBT elders. This report provides an overview of the most concerning of these religious exemption laws and policies and how they impact LGBT older adults.
December 5, 2017
Webinar: Hosted by SoulForce
Religious Exemptions 101: It Ain’t About the Cake
Kira Shepherd and Katherine Franke joined SoulForce for a crash course in “Religious Exemptions 101” discussing the racial justice implications of religious exemption decisions
November 16, 2017
Jerome Greene Hall - Room 546
12:10 pm - 1:20 pm
Black Muslims: The Struggle for Racial Equality & Religious Freedom
The U.S. Government has instated discriminatory policies against Black Muslims for decades - in recent months, the Trump administration has continued this pattern. On Wednesday, November 15th, Carl Lipscombe, Deputy Director for the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) will join Kira Shepherd, Racial Justice Director for the Public Rights/Private Consicence Project (PRPCP) to discuss how these policies infringe upon Black Muslims' religious liberty rights, as well as their fundamental rights to equality and justice.
November 8, 2017
Presentation to the Proteus Foundation’s Rights, Faith & Democracy Collaborative
Kira Shepherd offered a presentation on the balance of Religious Liberties and access to reproductive health care for women of color to the Proteus Foundation’s Rights, Faith & Democracy Collaborative’s November meeting.
November 13, 2017
Jerome Greene Hall 107
Free CeCe: Documentary Screening & Panel Discussion
November 6, 2017
Jerome Greene Hall 107
The Poverty of Privacy Rights: Book Launch and Panel Discussion
October 31, 2017
SONY Music Entertainment
Columbia Law School Alumni Breakfast - CLE Program
9:00 am - 10:00 am
Supreme Court Roundup: LGBTQ Rights and Religious Liberty in the 2017 Term
Professor Katherine Franke presented a CLE-Credit program to Columbia Law School Alumni, Activists, and Community members on the ways in which Religious Exemptions have been weaponized against minority groups, particularly LGBTQ individuals, minority religious communities, and communities of color.
October 31, 2017
Washington, DC - The Center for American Progress
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Religious Liberty in the Trump Era: Panel Discussion with the Center for American Progress
Kira Shepherd, Director of the Racial Justice Program for the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project spoke on a panel with the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, on issues related to equal rights for minorities, particularly for communities of color, as the Trump Administration seeks to expand “religious exemptions” and “religious liberty” legislation in ways that undermine equality.
October 20, 2017
Conference - All Day
SisterReach Conference – Reproductive Justice Summit
Kira Shepherd traveled to Memphis Tennessee in October to participate in SisterReach’s 2017 Reproductive Justice Summit to discuss the work of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project’s Racial Justice Program on Religious Liberties and Exemptions, and the ways in which these impact the experiences of communities of color.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Columbia Law School - Room 602
12:10 pm - 1:20 pm
The Impact of “Religious Exemption” and Conscience Laws on Marginalized Communities
Gurjot “Jo” Kaur is an Agency Attorney with the Law Enforcement Bureau of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and former Senior Staff Attorney with the Sikh Coalition; Kaur spoke with Ashe McGovern on her cutting-edge work litigating high impact religious rights cases on behalf of Sikhs, Muslims and South Asians, as well as her work with the Commission. In moderated discussion, McGovern and Kaur discussed the impacts 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.
Thursday, October 5 - Sunday, October 8, 2017
New Orleans, Louisiana
Conference - All Day
Let’s Talk About Sex Conference – Hosted by SisterSong
Kira Shepherd presented on the ways in which Religious Exemptions disproportionately impact people of color in the United States, and particularly in how these exemptions may prevent women of color from obtaining appropriate reproductive and sexual health care.
Friday, September 22, 2017
Conference - All Day - Hosted by the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project
The New School
Queering Immigration Conference
Elizabeth Reiner Platt presented a session on Sanctuary cases of the 1980s in the United States, and the ways in which new policies and precedents regarding religious liberty in the U.S. may be used to allow faith leaders and communities to provide sanctuary to immigrants, refugees, and undocumented U.S. residents.
Elizabeth Boylan co-presented a session with Alexis Merrit Akagawa on the ways in which educational institutions can support the needs of LGBTQIA students of non-U.S. origin on campuses, as well as through policy and advocacy work.
September 6th, 2017
Jerome Greene Hall - Room 546
12:10 pm - 1:15 pm
Engendering Note Topics - Lunchtime Talk
Professor Katherine Franke hosted a lunchtime talk for students from Columbia Law School on how to approach developing their writing projects, particularly in the arenas of civil rights, gender equity, racial justice, and social justice.
August 24th, 2017
Jerome Greene Hall Drapkin Lounge
The Center for Gender & Sexuality Law hosted their first event of the 2017-2018 Academic year: Thrilled to welcome incoming students to Columbia Law School, this luncheon featured remarks from Faculty, Student Leaders, and team members from the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law, the Human Rights Institute, and Social Justice Initiatives
Friday, June 2, 2017
1:00 - 3:00 pm
Butler Library, Room 523
* Marcellus Blount, English & Comparative Literature
* George Chauncey, History
* Jack Halberstam, English & Comparative Literature
* Frances Negrón-Muntaner, English & Comparative Literature
The panel was moderated by Professor David Eisenbach, of the Department of History. The panel was followed by a guided tour of "Pride of Lions," by Sarah Witte, Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Librarian; "Pride of Lions" is an exhibition devoted to exploring the history of LGBTQ activism at Columbia University; the exhibition is now on view in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
This event was sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Humanities, Arts & Sciences; the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion; the Columbia University Libraries; and the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law.
Wednesday, June 7th
7:00 - 8:30 pm
BookCulture - Columbus Ave. Location
450 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10027
LGBTQ Book Talk: "Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America" by Nathaniel Frank
The right of same-sex couples to marry provoked decades of intense conflict before it was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015. Yet some of the most divisive contests shaping the quest for marriage equality occurred not on the culture-war front lines but within the ranks of LGBTQ advocates. Nathaniel Frank tells the dramatic story of how an idea that once seemed unfathomable—and for many gays and lesbians undesirable—became a legal and moral right in just half a century.
Nathaniel Frank is Director of the What We Know Project at Columbia Law School.
This event was held at Book Culture on Columbus
450 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10024
Wednesday, April 26th, 2017
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Faculty House | 64 Morningside Drive, New York NY 10027
The Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS) presented a panel discussion on the exhibition “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85” [on view at the Brooklyn Museum April 21- September 17, 2017] which focuses on black women artists, examining the political, social, cultural and aesthetic priorities of women of color during the emergence of second-wave feminism.
Co-curated by Rujeko Hockley (CC’05) and Catherine Morris, the exhibition, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 focuses on black women artists, examining the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic priorities of women of color during the emergence of second-wave feminism. The exhibition presents a diverse group of artists and activists who lived and worked at the intersections of avant-garde art worlds, radical political movements, and profound social change
Contemporary artists Simone Leigh and Jordan Casteel joined the exhibition curators for a conversation on feminism, political action, art production, and art history moderated by Kellie Jones, Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology and Faculty Fellow, IRAAS.
Saturday, April 22nd
New York Public Library
12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Beyond Marriage, Beyond Equality
Event URL (Eventbrite): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/beyond-marriage-beyond-equality-tickets-33436650923?aff=eac2
Given the notable gains of LGBT civil rights struggles in recent years, as well the theoretical and practical tensions within these movements, the present moment provides an important opportunity to reassess the goals and strategies of LGBT politics.
Please join us on Saturday, April 22nd, in the Celeste Auditorium of the New York Public Library, as an array of scholars and activists assess the current political landscape and consider the future of LGBT activism. This program is co-supported by Columbia Law School's Center for Gender and Sexuality Law.
Organized and Introduced by Martin Duberman
"Beyond Marriage" 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm
"Beyond Equality" 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm
Thursday, April 20th
Columbia University School of Social Work - 1255 Amsterdam Avenue - Room C03
12:15 pm - 1:45 pm
The Center for Gender & Sexuality Law and the Columbia University School of Social Work hosted a panel discussion on LGBTQ Youth in the Criminal Justice System. LGBTQ Youth are hyper-targeted and are over-represented in the criminal justice system compared to non-LGBTQ persons in the general population of the United States. This panel will discussed some of the causes that lead to disproportionately large numbers of LGBTQ Youth having experiences within the Criminal Justice System, and what the impacts and consequences of this harmful pattern are.
Jamila Hammami - Founding Executive Director of Queer Detainee Empowerment Project and a leader of the NYC Chapter of the Black and Pink.
Izzy Sederbaum - Research Associate at the Center on Youth Justice at Vera Institute of Justice
JuanLuis Rodriguez – Associate at the Center for HIV Law and Policy
Dominic Cathey - MSW’17 (Social Enterprise Administration) worked with the New York State Office of Children Family Services (NYS OCFS), currently in the Division of Juvenile Justice and Opportunities for Youth Enhancement Program Fund (DJJOY EPF)
Princeton Hynes - Columbia Law School '17, Domestic Violence Bureau Extern at the Queens District Attorney's Office
Tuesday, April 18th
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 324
GAY-XIT: Is there a Divorce Between LG and BTQ After Marriage Equality?
This program focused on a discussion regarding shifts in LGBTQ movements following marriage equality, and discussions about the nature of assimilative and disruptive activism and advocacy. Questions considered include: Did the LGBTQ rights movement lose momentum after marriage equality? Are LGBTQ organizations struggling to fundraise now that many feel like victory has been achieved? Are transgender rights becoming an independent movement?
Boris Dittrich, Director of Advocacy (LGBT Program) at Human Rights Watch
Devorne Hormeku, Operations Associate at All Out
This program was co-supported by the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, SIPA Spectrum, and the Gender Policy Working Group at SIPA.
Wednesday, April 12th
12:10 pm - 1:10 pm
Jerome Greene Annex - Columbia Law School
Sexual Respect and Practice: NYS Courts on Domestic Violence
New York State's Coordinating Judge for Family Violence Cases, the Honorable Deborah Kaplan, and chief counsel for her office, Audrey Stone, Esq. led a discussion of how New York Courts handle domestic violence, stalking and dating violence. Judge Kaplan provides oversight to New York's 81 domestic violence courts and spoke on the innovative solutions these courts are developing so as to protect victims of domestic violence, and to work with local communities and state governments to address issues of safety, accountability and recidivism using evidence based practices.
Tuesday, April 11th
4:20 pm - 6:10 pm
Jerome Greene Hall, Room 701
Racial Justice Litigation Workshop: Environmental Justice as Racial Justice
Christine Appah-Gyamfi, Senior Staff Attorney in the Environmental Justice Program, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, "Environmental Justice as Racial Justice"
Litigation plays a critical role in movements for racial justice. Across a range of cutting edge issues legal advocates work closely with movement leaders to mobilize litigation as one of the tactics deployed to combat structural racism. This Workshop was one of a series on cutting edge issues in racial justice such as: voting rights, police violence, privatization of parole, criminal justice debt, access to clean water, ending mass incarceration, and decriminalization of sex work.
Monday, April 10th
12:10 - 1:20 pm
Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107
Fetal Personhood and the Regulation of Abortion
Professor Carol Sanger hosted Kate Greasley, Lecturer in Law at University College London as part of the Barbara Aronstein Black Lecture Series at Columbia Law School. Greasley is the author of “Arguments About Abortion.” In this thoughtful talk, Greasley outlined the distinctions and intersections of multiple moral and legal arguments for and against abortion, particularly in regard to the concept of “personhood” as it is defined in legal paradigms.
Tuesday, March 28th, 2017
Barnard College – Barnard Hall
James Room- 4th Floor
3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027
Joanne N. Smith, founder and Executive Director, moves Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) closer to its mission through strategic advocacy, development, and leadership cultivation. Ms. Smith is a Haitian-American social worker born in NY. A staunch human rights advocate, Smith is co-chair of the nation's first Young Women's Initiative for girls of color in NYC, co-chair of the Expert Advisory Council to Ending Girls’ Incarceration. She serves as a steering committee member of Black Girl Movement and a Movement Maker with Move to End Violence -a 10-year initiative designed to strengthen the collective capacity to end gender based violence in the United States. Smith is featured on the summer 2016 Gender Justice issue of YES! Magazine sharing her experience of intersectional feminism. Joanne is an alumna of Hunter Graduate School of Social Work and Columbia Institute for Nonprofit Management. She has co-authored Hey Shorty: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Public Schools and on the Streets. Girls for Gender Equity's work to combat sexual harassment in schools is featured in the 2014 documentary Anita: Speak Truth to Power. Smith resides in Brooklyn, NY. More information about Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) may be found at ggenyc.org.
Monday, March 27th, 2017
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Jerome Greene Hall, Room 106
About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in Twenty-First-Century America
Book Launch and Cocktail Reception in honor of Professor Carol Sanger, Columbia Law School
A celebration and analysis of Professor Sanger's eye-opening book which explores the legal, social, and political contours of abortion in American life. In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, About Abortion arrived at a critical time for public examination of the dense interplay between law, culture, and abortion. Legal scholars, writers, and advocates reflected on the book's importance in insisting on abortion as a fundamental right and on normalizing the experience.
* Emily Bazelon, Staff Writer, New York Times Magazine (Moderator)
* Khiara Bridges, Professor of Law and Anthropology, Boston University School of Law
* Diane Horvath-Cosper, M.D., M.P.H., Reproductive Health Advocacy Fellow, Physicians for Reproductive Health
* David Pozen, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
* Stephanie Toti, Senior Counsel, Center for Reproductive Rights & Lead Counsel, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt
Monday, March 27th, 2017
12:10 pm - 1:20 pm
Jerome Greene Hall, Room 646
In prisons throughout the United States, punitive incarceration and religious revitalization are occurring simultaneously. Faith-based prison ministries operate under the logic that religious conversion and redemption will transform prisoners into new human beings. Cash-strapped and overcrowded state and federal prisons increasingly relying on ministries to provide educational and mental health services and to help maintain order. These religious organizations are overwhelmingly run by nondenominational Protestant Christians who see prisoners as captive audiences. How do people in prison practice religion in a space of coercion and discipline? What are the legal implications of the state's promotion of Christianity over other religious traditions in some prisons? What role do faith-based groups play in the bipartisan movement for criminal justice reform, and how can faith-based ministries more effectively work on policies to end mass incarceration?
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
12:10 pm - 1:15 pm
Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
In a political environment wherein Reproductive Rights are under increasing assault by the theocratic right, while "religious liberty" is simultaneously being redefined to include ever broader exemptions and privileges for religious organizations, The Satanic Temple (TST) is litigating in defense of unrestricted abortion access in the name of their deeply-held beliefs regarding bodily autonomy. TST spokesperson, Lucien Greaves, explains the history of, and arguments behind, their current litigation efforts.
Lucien Greaves is spokesperson for, and co-founder of, The Satanic Temple (TST). Advocating for acceptance of non-theistic religious exemption and privilege, TST has proven to be one of the nation’s most effective counter-balances against theocratic encroachments. The organization is best known for its ongoing efforts to place a Satanic monument next to a 10 Commandments monuments on public grounds and establishing science-centered "After School Satan Clubs" to counter Evangelical indoctrination in public schools.
Tuesday, March 21st
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Jerome Greene Hall, Room 104
We were delighted to co-host a screening of "Young Lakota", and a conversation with Professor Barbara Gurr about reproductive justice in Native communities. “Young Lakota” is a documentary that follows a number of Native American women, including Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first female president of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and their efforts to oppose extremely restrictive abortion policies in South Dakota.
This film highlights many critical issues including the fraught relationship between Native American tribes and state governments; the many barriers to reproductive health access that affect women of color; and the role young people can take on in mobilizing their communities for positive change.
Brought to you by Native American Law Student Alliance, Columbia If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, EWOC at Columbia Law,Columbia Law School Student Services, the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law and the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality.
Thursday, March 9th, 2017
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
This program was one of a series of teach-ins coordinated by students in the department of Middle Eastern South Asian and African Studies (MESAAS) at Columbia University in the City of New York. The Center for Gender & Sexuality Law was pleased to co-support this program, which served as an open informal forum that aimed to discuss strategies of protest and resistance with a diverse set of speakers.
This event featured speakers Eli Nadeau, Sonam Singh, and Dmitri Holtzam.
Eli Nadeau is a graduate student in Politics from the New School, with a research focus on critical race theory and decolonization. She is also a union organizer for SENS-UAW.
Sonam Singh is an Adjunct English lecturer and a union organizer for Barnard contingent faculty.
Dmitri Holtzam, Executive Director of the Equal Education Law Centre (EELC), has worked on legal and human-rights training for community based activists, as well as been involved in the movement for the right to basic education in South Africa.
Friday, March 3rd, 2017
All Day Convening
Columbia Law School
On March 3, 2017 the Racial Justice Project of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project held a convening at Columbia Law School, to bring together scholars and advocates of racial justice and religious liberty to consider the relation these two domains of scholarly and advocacy work have to one another.
The incoming presidential administration—and quite possibly the federal judges that it plans to appoint—is committed to broadening the right to religious accommodations/exemptions while limiting other civil rights and liberties. In the face of this agenda, the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project wants to give extra care to the strategies we pursue in addressing these efforts to use religious liberty as a vehicle to deny or limit other fundamental rights to equality and liberty. As our analyses of these efforts keeps apace with their expansion, we want to make sure to avoid inadvertently using legal arguments or rhetoric that may harm our allies who are fighting for racial justice and other fundamental rights. This convening addressed three tensions between the law and policy of religion and race. In doing so, we aim to provide support to academics and advocates in the fields of religious liberty and racial justice as they work together towards a common goal of full and equal citizenship.
Wednesday, March 1st, 2017
Jerome Greene Hall - Room 105
The Center for Gender & Sexuality Law and the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project hosted Chase Strangio for a lunchtime talk on recent religion-based backlash against LGBTQ rights, including the First Amendment Defense Act, and other pending legislation. This lunchtime talk is part of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project's series of lunchtime talks on Law, Rights and Religion.
Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) is a Staff Attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & AIDS Project. Chase’s work includes impact litigation, as well as legislative and administrative advocacy, on behalf of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV across the United States. Chase has particular expertise on the treatment of transgender and gender non-conforming people in police custody, jails, prisons and other forms of detention.
Prior to joining the ACLU, Chase was an Equal Justice Works fellow and the Director of Prisoner Justice Initiatives at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, where he represented transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in confinement settings. In 2012, Chase founded the Lorena Borjas Community Fund, an organization that provides direct bail/bond assistance to LGBTQ immigrants in criminal and immigration cases. Chase is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and Grinnell College.
Tuesday, February 28th, 2017
Jerome Greene Hall - Room 102 B
The international human rights system emerged to address fundamental questions of peoples lives and the corresponding obligations of states, and as such, has always been a site of contention. When activists bring their struggles to those transnational and dynamic sites of human rights discourse and decision-making, they seize the opportunity to reshape its boundaries and its protections. Yet, to do so, they must navigate and resist deeply rooted gendered colonial structures and imperialist power relations that continue to define our international institutions.
Yifat Susskind is the Executive Director of MADRE, an international women's human rights organization. MADRE partners with grassroots women's groups worldwide who confront war and disaster to meet urgent needs and to create lasting change, including through international human rights advocacy. Susskind presented on and hosted discussion about how MADRE traces policies generating crisis for women and families worldwide, the strategies she and MADRE partners use to resist those impacts, and methodologies to avoid reproducing neocolonial relationships in transnational feminist partnerships and human rights advocacy.
We are pleased to co-sponsor this program with Empowering Women of Color and the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute.
Monday, January 30th, 2017
1:20 pm - 2:40 pm
Jerome Greene Hall | Room 105
Guest speaker Mr. Yadh Ben Achour, Professor of Carthage University, former President of the High Authority of the Tunisian Revolution and a member of the U.N. Human Rights Committee is a lead author of the new Tunisian Constitution. Professor Katherine Franke, Columbia Law School, introduced Professor Ben Achour and guided the discussion.
This guest lecture was presented as a part of Professor Franke's Spring 2017 course in Gender Justice; this session of the course was open for all students to attend.
Monday, January 30th, 2017
Jerome Greene Hall | Room 103
Abortion: Stories Women Tell
Film Screening and Discussion, co-supported with If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice
Free and Open to the Public
Abortion: Stories Women Tell is an HBO documentary released in 2016 showing the lives of women living under restrictive abortion laws in Missouri. Women share their experiences, the factors that influenced their decision, and offer their stories of strength and ability to overcome and persevere through complicated and unexpected circumstances. This film presents a candid dialogue about one of the timeliest issues facing America today. Watch the trailer here.
Our screening of the film was followed by a discussion with policy researchers from the National Institute for Reproductive Health. This event was presented as a part of Student Organizations' January theme: Agenda Setting Post-Election.
The focus of the program was to provide attendees with information about restrictive abortion laws, and how organizations such as National Institute for Reproductive Health are setting their agendas to resist further restrictions and support laws that keep women safe, and allow them to make their own decisions.
Tuesday, December 6th, 2016
5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Jerome Greene Hall | Room 101