The Disability Rights Bar Association's Biennial West Coast Civil Rights Conference 2018

Please join the Disability Rights Bar Association for its Biennial West Coast Civil Rights Conference: Defending Civil Rights in Turbulent Times.The West Coast Civil Rights Conference will feature expert panelists discussing emerging issues in civil rights law, and will take place on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California at the California Endowment, 1000 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

Registration fees: Cost is $25. Registration fees are waived for speakers

Date of Event: October 24, 2018
Time: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Location: California Endowment, 1000 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

The California Endowment lists the following nearby hotels as offering promotional rates. 
Millennium Biltmore Hotel
506 South Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
1.5 miles away
Call 1.866.866.8086 and request The California Endowment rate

Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles Downtown
120 South Los Angeles St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
0.7 miles away
Call 1.800.HILTONS and request The California Endowment rate

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[8:00 - 8:30] Continental Breakfast & Check-In

[8:30 - 8:45] Welcome / Introductions

[8:45 - 10:15] Plenary Panel Education: Dealing with OCR’s diminished civil rights enforcement

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is shutting down civil rights investigations and dismissing hundreds of complaints. Her efforts, couched in a pre-text of efficiency, reflect a greater effort by the current administration to dismantle civil rights enforcement designed to protect students. These rollbacks are particularly problematic when talking about the harassment and discipline of students of color and students with disabilities, and systemic discrimination of all forms.


  • Sylvia Torres-Guillen - Director of Education Equity of ACLU Southern Californiaa
  • Daniel J. Losen - Director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies, an initiative at the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles (CRP) at UCLA

Facilitator: Alexis Alvarez - Legal Aid at Work

[10:30 - 12:00] Workshop A: School to Prison Pipeline

This workshop will focus on innovative and intersectional approaches to ending the school to prison pipeline where children, who are disproportionately students of color with disabilities, are denied access to services and instead pushed into the juvenile justice system. The panelists will examine how disability, gender, class, and race intersect in the classroom and ways advocates can work to address this multi-faceted issue, including the roles of restorative justice, community supports, and litigation.


  • Daniel J. Losen - Director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies, an initiative at the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles (CRP) at UCLA
  • Candis Watson Bowles - Managing Attorney – Youth Practice Group, Disability Rights California

Facilitator:  Kara Janssen - Attorney at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP

[10:30 - 12:00] Workshop A: Navigating the Tension between Free Speech, Free Exercise of Religion and Civil Rights

This workshop will focus on the conflict between the First Amendment, including the freedom of speech and free exercise of religion, and civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in public accommodations. The panelists will discuss the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and its impact on the enforcement of civil rights laws going forward, including disability non-discrimination laws.


  • Amanda Goad - Audrey Irmas Director of the LGBTQ, Gender & Reproductive Justice Project, ACLU of Southern California
  • Michael Nunez - Attorney at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, LLP
  • Jennifer Pizer- Law and Policy Director, Lambda Legal

Facilitator: TBA

[12:00 - 1:15] LUNCH PRESENTATION: ABA/BBI National Study of Lawyers with Disabilities and Who Identify as LGBT+

In 2017, the American Bar Association (ABA) launched a first-of-its kind nationwide longitudinal study, conducted by the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI), to identify biases encountered by disabled and LGBT+ lawyers in the legal profession, and to help develop and implement strategies to ameliorate such biases. To date, diversity and inclusion programs typically have focused on gender and race. Often, the LGBT+ communities and/or those who have disabilities are not adequately included in these efforts to expand career and professional diversity in the legal profession. This talk presents findings from this national study, based on responses from 2,700+ lawyers (including lawyers at all stages in their careers in private and public firms of all sizes, in government, in NGOs, as in-house counsel, and as federal and state judges) from all states in the United States. The findings suggest the need for continuing efforts to examine and promote the full and equal participation of all diverse persons, including lawyers with disabilities and who are LGBT+, in the legal profession.

Speaker: Peter Blanck - University Professor and Chairman, Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University
Introduction: Michelle Uzeta - Law Office of Michelle Uzeta

[1:15 - 2:45] Workshop B: Controlling the Narrative: Disability and Cultural Identity in the Media

This panel will discuss the underrepresentation and active misrepresentation of people with disabilities, racial, ethnic and religion minorities, members of the the LGBTQI community, and those who live at the intersection of those communities in the media. The panelists will explore the importance of controlling the narrative in a civil rights movement and will provide tips and tools for both building positive media relationships and pushing back against harmful media narratives.


  • Lawrence Carter-Long - Director of Communications for the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
  • Jeralyn Cave - Senior Communications Associate at the Advancement Project
  • Ian Watlington - Disability Advocacy Specialist, National Disability Rights Network

Facilitator: TBA

[1:15 - 2:45] Workshop B: Diversifying your Law Practice / Rights Movement

This panel will explore and discuss: (1) the lack of diversity in the legal profession and siloing of rights movements; (2) the importance of diversity and inclusion in law practices and rights movements; (3) strategies for fostering diversity and inclusion within law practices and rights movements.


  • Peter Blanck - University Professor and Chairman, Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University
  • Joan Bullock JD, MBA, CPA
  • Robin Pearson - Pearson & Schachter, Professional Law Corporation

Facilitator: Michelle Uzeta - Law Office of Michelle Uzeta

[3:00 - 4:30] Closing Panel: Housing: Resisting the Assault on Desegregation under the Fair Housing Act

Earlier this year HUD suspended implementation of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, a 2015 regulation that required any community receiving HUD development block-grant funding to routinely identify instances of segregation discrimination, and disinvestment and provide solutions to counter them. By suspending implementation of the Rule, local municipalities will receive government funds with no accountability for noncompliance with the full requirements of the Fair Housing Act.

To ensure that people can find and maintain safe, decent, accessible and affordable housing in communities of their choosing, advocates are fighting back. This panel will discuss the litigation efforts currently underway and other strategies advocates can implement to resist the current administration’s assault on desegregation under the Fair Housing Act.


Facilitator: Michelle Uzeta - Law Office of Michelle Uzeta


Co-sponsored by the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center and Derby, McGuiness & Goldsmith, LLP