CLSJ Celebrates 20th Anniversary by lifemate


									SPRING 2007                                                                                    20th ANNIVERSAY ISSUE

   CLSJ Celebrates 20th Anniversary

                                                       From left to right: Assoc. Commissioner of Education, Sheila Evans-Trannum;
                                                       Council Member, Robert Jackson; Exec. Director of CLSJ, Esmeralda Simmons;
                                                       and Regent, Adelaide Sanford

CLSJ Advocates for NYC Public Schools on Task Force 2009
The Center for Law and Social Justice is continuing its long    must resolve several major NYC education policy issues in
history of advocating for educational equity in the NYC         the 2007 legislative session, e.g. implementation of the CFE
public schools. CLSJ Executive Director, Esmeralda Sim-         decision, and a new school funding formula. NYC Mayor
mons has been an active member of TASK FORCE 2009               Bloomberg has recently initiated an aggressive campaign to
since its launching in spring 2006. TASK FORCE 2009 is          prolong and strengthen mayoral control by encouraging enact-
the “blue ribbon” think tank of the Independent Commission      ment of school governance legislation in the 2007 legislative
on Public Education — a citywide grassroots advocacy            session, thereby attempting to pre-empt the 2009 sunset.
campaign for learning-based education and meaningful par-             Task Force 2009 anticipates unveiling its proposal in
ent/community involvement in the public schools.                April 2007. In addition to Esmeralda Simmons, Esq., the
      The Task Force is so named because, in 2009, the cur-     members of the Task Force include: Luis Acosta; Cathy Al-
rent state law that gives the NYC mayor total control of its    bisa, Esq.; Sam Anderson, PhD.; Jean Anyon; Luis Barrios,
public schools and school board, is set to expire. The state    PhD.; John Beam, PhD.; Norman Fruchter, PhD.; Diane Low-
legislature can either amend the Education Law to adopt an      man, PhD.; Prakash Nair; Pedro Noguera, PhD.; Luis Reyes,
alternative governance system, or maintain, weaken, or          PhD.; and Thomas Sobol, PhD.. The Task Force is supported
strengthen mayoral control. The Task Force has been work-       by the Independent Commission on Public Education and is
ing on a governance system proposal that requires mayoral       staffed by the National Center for Schools and Communities
control in favor of local control. This year, the legislature   at Fordham University.
Esmeralda Simmons, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the
Center for Law and Social Justice

                                                              CLSJ Wins Major Court Battle
                                                              United States District Court Judge Kevin T. Dufy
                                                              has approved the settlement in People United for
                                                               Children vs. City of New York. The PUC case
                                                                challenged the city’s child welfare policies and
                                                               practices on the grounds that they discriminated
                                                              against African American parents, resulting in the
                                                               disproportionate placement of African American
                                                                            children in foster care.

                                                                Look for the next issue for more information.
The Center For Law and Social Justice

                                         Calling All Immigrants!
       Medgar Evers College
 1150 Carroll Street (P-2/19-C207)
        Brooklyn, NY 11225
     Tel: (718) 270-6293-6297
        Fax: (718) 270-6190                  Atencion! Immigrantes
           Lateefah Carter
                                         Appel a Tous les Imigres!
           Layout & Design
             Natalie Pryor

            Proof Reader                          Medgar Evers College
          Lesley Jean-Jacques                     Immigration Center
               CLSJ Staff
       Esmeralda Simmons, Esq.              Opened New Office
      Gwendolyn Riddick, MSILR
            Joan Gibbs, Esq.                          at the
       Gerald White-Davis, Esq.            EAST NEW YORK CAMPUS
        Allison Rosenberg, Esq.
         Bara Diokhane, Esq.            George Gershwin Junior High School
        L. Patricia Janvier, Esq.               800 Van Siclen Ave.
          Alexus Sham, Esq.
             Lateefah Carter                      Brooklyn, NY
             Oseye Mchawi
           Arturo Perez Saad
              Olevia Senior                  FOR APPOINTMENT OR
              Interns                             WORKSHOP
         Denver Jean Baptiste                     Call—(718) 270-6397
          Lynden Phil Bert

                                                 FREE CONSULTATION
                                                Legalization Process (Green Card)
                                                           Student Visa

                                        EDUCATIONAL TRAINING WORKSHOPS
                                                   Public Education System
                                                   Criminal Justice System
                                              Child Welfare System (Foster Care)
                                                      Worker’s Rights

                                        Bara Diokhan—Attorney
                                        L. Patricia Janvier—Attorney
                                        Olevia Senior—Outreach Specialist

                                        FILING FEES NOT INCLUDED

CLSJ in Action
Medgar Evers College Immigration Center                          The services of the Center are offered both on and off
2005 to 2006 was a very positive, productive and excit-           Community Outreach Specialist, Arturo Perez-Saad
ing year for the Medgar Evers College Immigration                commented, “My task as an outreach coordinator is to
Center. The Center continued to meet and surpass its             promote the services that the center offers. This requires
targeted goals, and develop its reputation as a welcom-          making new contacts, fostering new relationships, main-
ing organization where immigrants can get knowledge-             taining existing relationships and building bridges of mu-
able advice and expert assistance, and know that their           tual cooperation. This is executed via the telephone,
confidentiality and privacy are maintained. During the           written communication and literature distribution.
course of the year, the Immigration Center registered                 Whether I’m talking to clergy, representatives of
three thousand five hundred and eight telephone calls;           community groups or workers, there is a unanimous ac-
conducted thirty-five workshops and immigration fo-              ceptance of no-cost services. We are thanked profusely
rums that were attended by over five thousands immi-             and most of the time we are asked to come back and do a
grants, and provided one-one-one legal services to one           workshop, whether it be on immigration, worker’s rights,
thousand five hundred and thirty four individuals.               police brutality, etc.
    This past year the Immigration Center expanded its                While there are many organizations that offer legal
outreach services and collaboration with community               consultations to immigrants we offer them at no-cost to
organizations to increase access to its services for the         the immigrants in five languages, including Creole,
more than 931,769 immigrants throughout the Borough              Wolof, Spanish, French and English. The consultations
of Brooklyn. Services at the Center include free legal           are with immigration lawyers not paralegals, which our
consultation; citizenship training and a series of infor-        clients prefer.
mative workshops that ranging from: know your rights                  The only criterion is that you are eager to make a
and obligations, to, how to effectively navigate the             change for yourself or somebody else.”
education, criminal justice and child welfare systems.

Creating Justice Project                                             have distributed over 1500 “Know Your Rights” bro-
                                                                     chures and conducted a workshop. Requests to lead
Established in 2004, the Creating Justice Project works to           more workshops continued to come in. Recently, our
educate formerly incarcerated persons about their right to           director, Esmeralda Simmons, was interviewed by
vote. Every year, over 130,000 people who were formerly              Andrea Banks of ARC (Applied Research Center)
incarnated return to the streets, the majority to Central            concerning her views around this case:
Brooklyn. CLSJ, along with other advocacy groups, has
been educating this sector of our community about the im-              "The significance of the Sean Bell case is that
portance of voting. Since its founding , the Project has satu-         it’s just the latest incident in a long series of
rated Brooklyn and the other four boroughs with palm                   NYPD abuses. We can go back 4 years to Al-
cards, flyers and posters. The literature advices former in-           berta Spruill, 8 years to Amadou Diallo, 10
carcerated persons that, once they have completed parole,              years to Abner Luima, 15 years to Anthony
they have the right to register to vote simply by filling out          Baez, 20 years to Michael Griffith, 25 years to
and submitting a voter registration card. Literature has been          Eleanor Bumpers and keep going. But every
distributed at forums, workshops, on street corners, and this          day, "on duty" police officers in New York City
year for the first time, at the Martin Luther King Summer              routinely violate and disrespect people of
                                                                       color,” offered Ms. Simmons. “The continuum of
Concert Series at Wingate Park where Project Associate
                                                                       police brutality indicates that there is actually
Lateefah and our summer interns distributed fans, our vot-
                                                                       an issue in our larger society that supports po-
ing brochure and the palm cards.                                       lice violence against people of color. The issue
     The killing of Sean Bell and the wounding of his                  is racism and its product is often racial vio-
friends in November 2006 has redirected the focus of the               lence.”
Creating Justice Project. During the past three months we
                                                                                          CLSJ JOURNAL OF JUSTICE *** 3

Justice Dabiri, left, with “Ruthie” Award recipient Esmeralda Simmons, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Jus-
tice at Medgar Evers College, Ms. Simmons’ husband Lesly Jean-Jaques, Lateefah Carter, Joan Gibbs, and Gerald White-Davis.

“I       t is a story of courage, struggle and determination, with mixed-successes and lingering questions.
         In recognition of Women’s History Month, the fifth annual Ruth E. Moskowitz Awards celebrate
         generations of men and women moving herstory forward,” stated Elizabeth Stull in the Wednes-
day, April 4, 2007 issue of the Daily Bulletin. Our director, Esmeralda Simmons, was one of five recipients
of the “Ruthie” Award, which was presented by the Gender Fairness Committee of Brooklyn Supreme
Court. Justice Ruth E. Moskowitz, the first woman elected to the Supreme Court from Brooklyn in 1976 and
for whom the award is named, dedicated her life to civil rights, judicial independence, and family. “The vi-
sion I had was to be an advocate against racial discrimination, Ms. Simmons stated when accepting the
award, “I am very, very humbled to be honored for doing what I was put on this planet to do.”

The CULTURAL RIGHTS PROJECT advo-                                 Dance Africa’s founder Dr. Chuck Davis, a scholar-
cates for the protection of the cultural rights of Af-            ship fund, local youth activities, and charitable work
ricans in America (people of African ancestry),                   in Africa and Haiti. In 1972, Davis, a famed dancer/
and raises the banner of human rights protection in               choreographer, established Dance Africa at the
the US. We primarily work with cultural organiza-                 Brooklyn Academy of Music. It is the oldest Afri-
tions that are focused on the retention and preser-               can and African Diaspora dance festival in the US.
vation of African culture.                                        It is also credited with revitalizing the teaching and
                                                                  performance of authentic African dance in the US.
The Cultural Rights Project activities during 2005
and 2006 include:                                                 CLSJ’s Esmeralda Simmons is an elected member
                                                                  of the Council. At the Council’s request, she,
Council of Elders of Dance Africa New York                        through CLSJ, is leading the formal reorganization
                                                                  of the group into a tax-exempt nonprofit corpora-
The Council conducts a variety of activities that                 tion.
support Dance Africa dance concert

                                                     The Lawyers: (first row, lft to rt) Florence Morgan,
                                                     Justice Gloria Dabiri, Allison Rosenberg, Esmeralda
                                                     Simmons, Joan Gibbs, and Justice Sheila Addu-
                                                     Salaam; (back row, lft to rt) Reginald Boddie, with
                                                     friends of the Center, Londell McMillian, Conrad
                                                     Johnson, Prof. Victor Goode, and Paul Wooten

                                                     Frank Lewis and Councilman Al Vann

Dorothy Burham and Miriam Frances

                                       Reginald Boddie, Conrad Johnson, Justice Shiela Addu-Salaam,
                                       and Prof. Victor Goode

Peter Williams and Esmeralda Simmons         Gwen Riddick and Claudine K. Brown
                                                                                      CLSJ JOURNAL OF JUSTICE *** 5

                                                                   Assemblywoman Yvette Montgomery with friend
                                                                   of the Center, and Esmeralda Simmons
Esmeralda Simmons, Dr. Divine Pryor and Eddie Ellis

                                                   Regent Adelaide Sanford and
                                                   Attorney Londell McMillian
Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, Celeste
Morris, and Justice Yvonne Lewis

                                                                                      Vincent McGee and Fran Barrett

                                                                                      Attorneys Reginald Boddie and
Staff and Alumni: (first row, lft to rt) Clara Perez-Joseph, Esmeralda Simmons,       Juan Cartagena
Reginald Boddie, (second row) Charlene Samuel, Lateefah Carter, Oseye Mchawi, Joan
Gibbs, Allison Rosenberg, Gerald White-Davis, and Dottie Conway (third row) Harvey
Lawrence, Sam Anderson, Marian Gayle, Peter Williams, Divine Pryor, Eddie Ellis and
Londell McMillian

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