Daily Inspo The Power of Mentors
Eric Casher is Board President at ChangeLawyers and Principal at Meyers Nave
More of This The Black, Queer lawyer fighting for equality
Alphonso David made history when he became president of the Human Rights Campaign in 2019. He’s the first person of color and first civil rights lawyer to head the HRC, the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ equality organization, in its 40-year history.
David is also the son of Liberian immigrants — he was born in the United States before moving back to Liberia as a child, where he was raised — and with all these factors in his background, he displays a keen awareness of the importance of intersectionality.
LGBTQ+ rights organizations, he says, need to “think about racial justice not as ancillary to our mission, but really core and central to our respective mission.” HRC’s mission is politics and advocacy, and for it to make racial justice “core and central” means looking at this work through “an intentional, inclusive, intersectional lens,” David says.
Toward that end, the group has established a transgender justice initiative, with the awareness that discrimination and violence against trans people disproportionately affect women of color. It also is addressing the HIV crisis among Black men — it’s estimated that half of African-American men who have sex with men will contract the virus during their lifetime, at a time when many people think HIV is old news. And some Black men may not have the same access to health care and preventive drugs that white men have.
One of HRC’s top priorities, David adds, is making sure people vote. “As a Black man, as a gay man, as an immigrant, I have to make sure that we all know how important it is to fight for this democracy that we claim to care for,” he says.
Read the story on The Advocate
More of This A trans woman’s lawsuit led to systemic change
A New York county has agreed to sweeping reforms regarding the housing of transgender people in prisons after the settling of a lawsuit filed by a former inmate.
Steuben County, which is located along the Finger Lakes in upstate New York, will begin housing trans inmates in accordance with their gender identity after plaintiff Jena Faith was thrown into a men’s prison during her 2018 incarceration. Faith, a 43-year-old military veteran, told them. that she was originally housed in a women’s facility at Steuben County Jail, but was abruptly transferred after a female inmate claimed that Faith was “watching her shower.”
That version of events would have been “impossible,” according to Faith. “Everyone showered in individual shower stalls with doors that prevented seeing the person showering inside,” she explained. “No one was able to give me an answer as to why I would be transferred to the men’s unit.”
Faith said things continued to spiral out of control during the three weeks she spent housed with male prisoners. In addition to being repeatedly misgendered and sexually harassed, she was denied access to hormone therapy. Without her weekly medication, she experienced “hot flashes, cold flashes, nausea, and stomach pain” and “stressed and worried that missing those doses would permanently affect” her transition.
“For trans people, in Steuben County and across the country, this experience is all too common, it is dangerous, and it is illegal,” she said.
Read the story on Them
Less of This Trump lawyer refuses to apologize for misgendering trans doctor
The senior legal adviser to Donald Trump's reelection campaign misgendered Pennsylvania's secretary of health.
Jenna Ellis wrote Monday on Twitter, "This guy is making decisions about your health," about Dr. Rachel Levine. The remark was especially cruel since it referenced an article about how a reporter had used the wrong pronouns multiple times in a conversation with Levine.
Levine is one of the leaders in the Keystone State's response to the health crisis — who also just happens to be a transgender woman. LGBTQ+ leaders were quick to denounce Ellis for her bigotry.
"Jenna Ellis is a bigot and Dr. Levine is a patriot — plain and simple," Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said in a statement. "Dr. Levine illustrates character and patriotism while Ellis cannot even define those terms.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Levine has steered Pennsylvania through this crisis leading efforts to reduce the spread of the virus and keep Pennsylvanians safe and healthy," David added. "Our nation has and should continue to laud the frontline workers and public servants confronting this pandemic, not attack them simply for living their truth.”
Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims tweeted back at Ellis, "This woman is a world-class public health expert who has been saving countless thousands of lives. I realize you may not know what that looks like. She’s also a hero to LGBTQ+ people like me and doesn’t deserve your scorn or mockery."
Read the story on The Advocate
Watch This New documentary “The Fight” profiles social justice lawyers at work
Within days of his inauguration, President Trump issued an executive order that suspended immigration rights for Syrian refugees and prohibited citizens from seven mostly Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States.
What became known as the “Muslim ban” would be one of the most defining and notorious watersheds of the Trump administration. And its rollback is rivetingly portrayed in “The Fight,” an artfully crafted and improbably entertaining documentary about the American Civil Liberties Union. Viewers expecting a plodding and self-righteous tutorial on American jurisprudence are instead invited to witness, firsthand, the litigation of four hallmark cases in which ACLU attorneys attempt to preserve immigration rights, reproductive freedom, the ability of transgender individuals to serve in the military and voting rights — in one case, all the way to a young lawyer’s first appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Although the Muslim ban episode kicks off “The Fight” and skillfully establishes context and highly pitched emotional stakes, it is not the film’s primary focus. Instead, the filmmakers proceed to follow ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt, a rumpled veteran who is battling Trump’s family separation policy, which for the despondent woman he’s representing means she hasn’t seen her young daughter in months. Brigitte Amiri, deputy director at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, has taken on the case of a teenager from Central America who has been barred from receiving an abortion in Texas. Chase Strangio and Joshua Block are challenging Trump’s attempt to ban trans people from serving in the military. And Dale Ho is trying to remove the citizenship question on the upcoming U.S. census.
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