ACLU Announces First Ira Glasser Racial Justice Fellows

March 25, 2004 12:00 am

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NEW YORK–The American Civil Liberties Union today announced the six inaugural recipients of the Ira Glasser Racial Justice Fellowship. Designed to address enduring racial inequalities, including social and economic inequalities caused by historical and current discrimination, the Fellows Program provides support for individuals whose work will advance the ACLU’s longstanding commitment to racial justice.

“While traditional forms of discrimination continue to plague our society, new forms of government discrimination, often unrecognized, have also developed,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “The profiling of Arab-Americans post-9/11 provides the latest example, and our criminal justice system remains rife with blatant racial disparities, effectively functioning as a successor to Jim Crow injustice.”

The Fellows are named for longtime ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser, who headed the organization for 23 years, retiring in 2001. Actively implementing the principles of affirmative action and racial integration internally, while advocating vigorously for racial justice on every front externally, Glasser transformed the ACLU into the truly diverse organization and public champion of equality it is today.

“The quest for racial justice has entered an entirely new, yet equally important stage,” said Glasser. “While formal, legal equality has been established for decades, in principle if not always in fact, we have yet to develop effective means for addressing the stubbornly persistent social and economic inequalities created and maintained by centuries of legalized subjugation. The Glasser Fellows will address this new challenge head-on, conceiving novel approaches and, we hope, inventing new solutions for a new stage in the struggle to establish racial justice in America.”

Glasser also participated in the selection process for fellowship candidates and will be involved with their work on an ongoing basis, according to Romero.

The six Fellows, Robert T. Carter, Kimberle Crenshaw, Daniel Levitas, Rain Archambeau Marshall, Morris Taylor, and Ray Ybarra, comprise a diverse group whose work will combat a wide array of racial injustices:

  • Robert T. Carter currently serves as a professor at Columbia University and has published numerous journal articles, book chapters, and books on the psychology of race. The project proposed by Carter, Integrating Psychological Models and Research on Race and Trauma with Legal Policy and Litigation would further develop, strengthen and increase the ACLU’s programmatic work on racial justice and more broadly advance the cause of racial justice in America.
  • Kimberle Crenshaw has served as a distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California Los Angeles and Columbia University for over a decade. She has written and lectured extensively on racial justice. Crenshaw will work to refute the widely held notion that legal remedies for racial injustice have run their course. She will seek to expose the judicial system’s recent laissez-faire attitude toward cases of racial justice and, in turn, develop materials and methods to challenge this erroneous judicial philosophy.
  • Daniel Levitas has worked in the field of racial, social and economic justice since 1982. His book, The Terrorist Next Door. The Militia Movement and the Radical Right (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2002), was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. Levitas will aim to utilize public education, coalition building and strategic use of media to capitalize on the upcoming 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act in order to advance a progressive voting rights agenda.
  • Rain Archambeau Marshall has an extensive academic and professional background in Native American law and civil rights. Developing a curriculum of civil rights education, Marshall will work out of the ACLU of the Dakotas, conducting seminars on several reservations and in urban centers with large Native American communities. The seminars will train volunteers to recognize and record civil rights violations by state and local entities.
  • Morris Taylor has widespread experience in the fields of social justice and public policy. Taylor will launch a Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Eastern Missouri. Initially, the Project will work with local organizations to address three issues identified by area leaders as most critical: police/community relations, voting rights, and housing insurance redlining.
  • Ray Ybarra has proven himself a committed civil rights advocate and scholar. Based out of the ACLU of Arizona, Ybarra will work to expose the racial injustice inherent in U.S. immigration policy. He will focus primarily on activities around the Arizona-Mexico border.

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