General Civil Rights Speakers

  • Elise C. Boddie

    Director of the Office of City Legislative Affairs

  • Juan Cartagena

    Community Service Society

  • Robert Garcia

    Director, the City Project, Center for Law in the Public Interest

    Robert García is an attorney with extensive experience in public policy and legal advocacy, mediation, and litigation involving complex social justice, human health, environmental and criminal justice matters. He has influenced the investment of over $18 billion in underserved communities, working at the intersection of social justice, sustainable regional planning, and smart growth. He graduated from Stanford University and Stanford Law School, where he served on the Board of Editors of the Stanford Law Review.

    He is a nationally recognized leader in the urban park movement, bringing the simple joys of playing in the park to children in park starved communities. He helped build and lead diverse alliances to create the state parks in the Chinatown Cornfield in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, in Taylor Yard as part of the greening of the Los Angeles River, and in the Baldwin Hills in the heart of African American Los Angeles. The Cornfield is “a heroic monument” and “a symbol of hope,” according to the Los Angeles Times. The Baldwin Hills park will be the largest urban park designed in the United States in over a century. He leads the campaign to diversify access to and support for national forests. He served on the Executive Committee of the Yes on Prop 40 Campaign to help pass California’s $2.6 billion park, water and air bond in 2002, the largest in United States history, with unprecedented support among communities of color and low-income communities. He served as Chairman of the Citizens’ School Bond Oversight Committee, overseeing the investment of $14 billion to build green public schools as centers of their communities in Los Angeles from 2000 to 2005. He has lectured on the vision for parks, schools, health, and transit at the conference celebrating the 150th anniversary of Central Park in New York City and at conferences at Stanford, Harvard, UCLA, USC, the Getty Center, the national Olmsted Conference in Seattle, and the Olmsted Conference in Portland, Oregon. Cardinal Roger Mahony appointed him to the Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He is a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research.

    He previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York under John Martin and Rudolph W. Giuliani, prosecuting organized crime, public corruption and international narcotics trafficking cases. He helped release the former Black Panther leader Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt from prison after 27 years for a crime he did not commit, working with Johnnie Cochran, Stuart Hanlon, and others. He has taught at Stanford and UCLA law schools. He defended people on Death Row in Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi, and practiced international litigation at a large New York law firm. He has published and lectured widely on law and society. He has received a number of awards, including the Robert García Environmental Justice Award from the Planning and Conservation League named in his honor for improving the environment in California, the President’s Award from the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and the Rigoberta Menchú Tum Award.

  • Marianne Engelman Lado

    New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Inc.

    Marianne is General Counsel to New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), where she oversees the litigation and advocacy program, including impact litigation, administrative advocacy, direct representation, community organizing and outreach, and intake. The docket encompasses cases and advocacy on issues of disability rights, environmental justice, and access to health care.

    Marianne has also played a role in the development of the National Campaign to Restore Civil Rights, a nationwide effort to address the rollback of civil rights by the courts.

    Marianne was previously a staff attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), where she worked on litigation and advocacy within LDF’s Poverty & Justice Program, representing clients attempting to break barriers of access to health care and quality education. In this capacity Marianne was responsible for developing a health care docket aimed at addressing the scarcity of health resources in medically underserved communities; discriminatory practices by the health care industry, including nursing homes, and also managed care organizations; lack of access to reproductive health services; and related issues of environmental justice. She also organized the legal effort in the late 1990s to save the public hospitals in New York City. The education docket included case development, trial, and appellate work at the state and federal level to guarantee equal educational opportunity across racial and class lines.

    Marianne has taught graduate and undergraduate level courses in public administration, health policy, and education law at Baruch College. She holds a B.A. in government from Cornell University, a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, and an M.A. in Politics from Princeton University. Her publications include “Unfinished Agenda: The Need for Civil Rights Litigation to Address Continuing Patterns of Race Discrimination and Inequalities in Access to Health Care,” “Breaking the Barriers of Access to Health Care: A Discussion of the Role of Civil Rights Litigation and the Relationship Between Burdens of Proof and the Experience of Denial,” “Evaluating Systems for Delivering Legal Services to the Poor:  Conceptual and Methodological Considerations” (co-authored with Gregg G. Van Ryzin) and “A Question of Justice: African-American Legal Perspectives on the 1883 Civil Rights Cases.”

  • Alma Lowry

    Syracuse University, College of Law

  • Barbara Olshansky

    Center for Constitutional Rights

  • Jane Perkins

    National Health Law Program

  • Wendy R. Weiser

    Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law

  • Janette Wipper

    Associate at Sanford, Wittels & Heisler

  • Professor Rebecca E. Zietlow

    University of Toledo College of Law