EJS 20th Anniversary – Reflecting on 2016: President Obama’s Final Year and the Presidential Election

EJS’s Chris Bridges participated in a Bay Area roundtable in July 2016 sharing reactions to President Barack Obama’s town hall about race, policing, and bridging the divide.

EJS 20th Anniversary – Reflecting on 2016: President Obama’s Final Year and the Presidential Election

2020 is the 20th anniversary of the Equal Justice Society. Our celebration this year on September 17 will be virtual and we’re working on an exciting and engaging program including an oratorio by Marcus Shelby inspired by the courage of Harriet Tubman and by the two decades of EJS. Every week leading up to the celebration, we will highlight one year in our history.


This week we remember 2016, the final year of President Barack Obama, and the presidential election that saw the horrific rise of hate speech and vitriolic politics.

EJS Releases Report on Implicit Bias, Mind Science, Anti-Immigrant Racism and Xenophobia – In December, EJS released a report on how implicit bias, racial anxiety, and misuse of stereotypes factor into anti-immigrant racism and xenophobia. Authored by Sara Campos and Katherine Spencer, the report details how implicit biases, stereotyping, and racial anxiety contribute to anti-immigrant racism and xenophobia. The report was funded by the Minami Tamaki Yamauchi Kwok & Lee (MTYKL) Foundation.

EJS Among Civil Rights Groups Opposing Nomination of Sessions as Attorney General – In December, EJS joined nearly 150 national civil rights and progressive groups in a joint announcement today opposing the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions to lead the Justice Department. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which spearheaded the letter, and members of the coalition, delivered letters to every member of the Senate today and hosted a press conference outside of the Supreme Court to outline their lengthy list of concerns about Senator Sessions’ record of hostility toward civil rights.

EJS Launches Guide on How to Talk with Kids about Hate Speech – In November, EJS today launched TalkToKids.net – a web guide to helping adults and parents talk with children about the hate speech. Earlier in 2016, EJS asked a group of academics, pollsters, psychologists, lawyers, and activists to help put together a guide for adults on how to talk to children about the hate brewing during the presidential election. We were concerned about the impact the hateful language during and after the election has had on our children. Rather than just get upset, we created a guide for parents and adults on how to deal with this.

EJS ‘Breaking the Chains’ Report Provides Insight into How Implicit Bias and Racial Trauma Fuel the School-to-Prison Pipeline – In November, EJS released a report describing how implicit bias and racial trauma enable the school-to-prison pipeline that betrays thousands of children in our country by criminalizing them instead of providing them with supportive and inclusive school environments. This report was made possible by a grant from The California Endowment and produced by a team of contributors, including: Zabrina Aleguire, Anna Basallaje, Christopher Bridges, Kyle Kate Dudley, Allison Elgart, Eva Paterson, Jasleen Singh, Ali Stack, Breanna Williams, and Itir Yakar.

Eva Paterson Debates Ward Connerly at State Bar Annual Meeting – EJS President Eva Paterson debated Ward Connerly on the use of race as a factor in higher education admissions on Sept. 30 at this week’s State Bar Annual Meeting in San Diego. Former State Bar President Jeffrey Bleich moderated the debate. Eva and Ward Connerly last debated each other on this issue almost ten years ago in a forum broadcast on KPCC.

EJS’s Chris Bridges, Bay Area Leaders Discuss President Obama’s Town Hall on ABC7 – Chris Bridges participated in a local reaction group discussing a historic town hall in July moderated by “World News Tonight” Anchor David Muir. President Obama addressed the national conversation about race, policing, and how we bridge the divide. Chris was part of special gathering organized by ABC7 Bay Area of local leaders and community members continuing the conversation.

EJS Joins 80+ Organizations in Condemning Unprecedented Obstruction on SCOTUS Vacancy – EJS joined a broad coalition of 82 civil rights, voting rights, public interest, environmental, labor, religious, and education groups in sending a letter in February to Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley and the 10 other Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, condemning their recent announcement that they will refuse to hold a hearing on—or even meet with—any potential Supreme Court nominee. In March, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by the death of Antonin Scalia. The Senate refused to hold a hearing or vote on this nomination, with the Republican majority insisting that the next elected President should fill the vacancy. Garland’s nomination lasted 293 days and expired on January 3, 2017, at the end of the 114th Congress. The seat Garland was nominated for was eventually filled by Neil Gorsuch, appointed by Donald Trump.

We welcome sponsorships to our 20th anniversary virtual celebration on September 17, 2020. The evening will include an oratorio by Marcus inspired by the courage of Harriet Tubman and by the two decades of EJS. Please contact Ginger Johnson at gjohnson@equaljusticesociety.org for more information. Thank you!

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