As Martin Luther King Jr. Day approaches on January 16, 2012, the Washington State Bar Association Civil Rights Law Section honors the legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and encourages us all to remember his work as a civil rights advocate and nonviolent activist, including his famous “I Have a Dream...” speech in which he articulated his dream of a society where equality, liberty, peace, and opportunity would flourish, a dream of “the beloved community.” In 1964, Dr. King had the honor of being the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He worked tirelessly to achieve civil rights until his assassination in 1968. His vision continues today.

The Section is inspired by the ideals of Dr. King. The mission of the Civil Rights Law Section is to educate and advocate for civil liberties and equal rights in the context of the legal issues of Washington state residents. The Section focuses on issues involving the civil rights of racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual orientation minorities; immigrants; those with mental or physical disabilities; those who are impoverished or homeless; and freedom of speech, freedom from state promulgated religion, and privacy rights. Lawyers who practice in any of these areas of law or are interested in these topics are encouraged to join the Civil Rights Law Section. Becoming a member of the Section is an excellent way to enhance a practice in any area of law that involves civil rights issues. For more information about the Section, see
www.wsba.org/Legal-Community/Sections/Civil-Rights-Law-Section

Section Annual Event, Awards, and CLE: On July 29, 2011, the Section held its annual event in Seattle. After officer elections and presentation of the Civil Rights Awards, a CLE program was provided on the following topics:

  • Police Accountability and Civil Rights 
  • The Governor’s Proposal on Office of Civil Rights
  • Initiative 1122 and Public and Private Enforcement of Immigration Laws
  • Ethics: Representing Clients with a Disability

2011 Awards: The Civil Rights Law Section’s Civil Rights awards were presented at the Section’s annual event. The Distinguished Service Award was presented to John F. Waldo. The Civic Leader Award was presented to the Race and Criminal Justice Task Force (Co-chairs: Robert S. Chang, Hon. Steven González, and Nicole A. Gaines).

CLE: The Section, in conjunction with Seattle University School of Law, hosted a free CLE on pursuing a career in civil rights and also provided a civil rights update. This CLE was held in October 2011 at Seattle University.

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