Our Work for Racial Justice
At Legal Momentum, we recognize that the fight for gender equality is also a fight for racial justice. We understand that to tackle gender discrimination, we must also address the institutional racism faced by people of color in this country. We know that discrimination in any form puts marginalized groups at greater risk of economic hardship, exclusion, and violence.
And, we have seen how women of color struggle with the 'double burden' of gender and racial discrimination that restricts their opportunities despite their persistent activism as leaders in the civil rights movement. These are truths that have informed and continue to inform our work.
Throughout Legal Momentum's history, we have addressed the intersection of gender and racial discrimination through advocacy, education and impact litigation. In our work, we have fought to confront the social systems that are responsible for the systemic oppression of both women and people of color.
Below is a timeline that highlights our work
and stance on racial justice initiatives.
Legal Momentum's Racial Justice Timeline
[collapsed title="2016 - Present"]
- New York Governor Cuomo appoints Legal Momentum Legal Director Lynn Hecht Schafran to Domestic Violence Task Force that, in-part, seeks to address the needs of Black, indigenous and people of color survivors of gender-based violence.
- Legal Momentum acknowledges the role of Black women in the advancement of gender justice in the workplace, education, the courts and the legal profession.
- Legal Momentum comments on the murders of Black people by law enforcement, racial inequality and our support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
- Legal Momentum publishes comprehensive policy brief on gender equality agenda for lawmakers for the post-COVID-19 world that underscores longstanding gender, racial and socioeconomic disparities.
- Legal Momentum submits comments opposing Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's decision to stop collecting pay data by gender and race.
- Legal Momentum honors Mechelle Vinson, one of many Black women who have historically led many of the prominent sexual harassment challenges through American legal history. In 1986, Legal Momentum joined an important amicus brief with 18 women's and civil rights organizations on Vinson's behalf in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson to argue that sexual harassment creates an intolerable work environment and violates Title VII.
- Legal Momentum files amicus brief with historic coalition of women's and civil rights groups to stop COVID-19 order that intends to severely restrict and criminalize abortion, which would especially harm Black women, low-income women, minors, victims of domestic and sexual violence, and other marginalized groups seeking safe abortion care.
- Legal Momentum publishes A Legal Toolkit for Women's Economic Equality, a comprehensive guide to advance gender equality for all women in New York State, particularly immigrant women and women of color, in 13 core issue areas that impact women's economic security.
- Legal Momentum President and CEO, Carol Moody, guest posts on PowHerNY blog on recommendations for all women to achieve pay equity on Black Women's Equal Pay Day.
- Legal Momentum President and CEO, Carol Moody, serves on panel at National Urban League Know Your Rights Seminar to discuss equality in education and in the workplace for girls and, particularly, girls of color.
- Rights Now! Peer Educator discusses the importance of celebrating Black History Month.
- Legal Momentum launches its Women Valued Initiative to advocate for the rights of all women nationally and at all points along the socioeconomic spectrum. Women Valued takes a uniquely intersectional approach to women’s economic empowerment and workplace equality, prioritizing the unmet needs of the most underserved women, including women of color, women working in low-wage industries, and immigrant women.
- Legal Momentum President, Carol Robles-Román, guest lectures at Latinos in the Law Lecture event, Judges, Justice and Jurisprudence: How Latinos Can Make an Impact Today, at NYU School of Law Bickel & Brewer Latino Institute for Human Rights.
- Legal Momentum President, Carol Robles-Román, speaks on panel, Glass Ceilings and Sliding Glass: What Must Women and Minorities Do to Succeed in the Next Frontier of Equal Justice Under the Law.
- Legal Momentum launches its Rights Now! program, funded by the New York City Council Young Women's Initiative, dedicated to educate youth of color on gender and racial discrimination.
[collapsed title="2010 - 2015"]
- Legal Momentum authors amicus brief in support of respondent in Texas v. Inclusive Communities on two forms of housing discrimination: racial discrimination in subprime mortgage lending and sex discrimination against victims of domestic and sexual violence.
- Legal Momentum hosts luncheon seminar for two dozen high school, college and law student interns on how to succeed and maintain a strong commitment to fairness, justice and diversity.
- Legal Momentum publishes article on HuffPost on #SayHerName: Centering the Lives and Deaths of Black Women and Girls.
- Legal Momentum comments on the necessity to address the unmet needs of at-risk young women of color in the Brother's Keeper Initiative.
- Legal Momentum comments to the Senate on the Workforce Investment Act that the legislation should require that all performance date reporting be fully disaggregated and cross-tabulated by gender, race/ethnicity, and age in addition to the subpopulations that comprise "individuals with barriers to employment."
- Legal Momentum comments on various Supreme Court decisions, including Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar and Fisher v. University of Texas, that may make it more difficult for plaintiffs to prevail in employment discrimination cases based on race or gender under Title VII. Additionally, Legal Momentum commented on Supreme Court decision Shelby County v. Holder regarding protections for minorities from discrimination under the Voting Rights Act that may lead to a reduction in minority voting and minority office holding.
- Legal Momentum authors amicus brief on Township of Mt. Holly vs. Mt. Holly Gardens arguing that the Fair Housing Act authorizes "disparate impact" through policies that do not explicitly discriminate on the ground of race or sex, but which have an unjustified disproportionate racial or gender impact.
- Legal Momentum joins amicus brief in support of a class of African American applicants to Chicago's Fire Department who challenged the city's discriminatory testing and hiring practices by filing charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
- Legal Momentum comments on Supreme Court decision Ricci v. DeStefano, a decision that may undermine the critical role of the country's civil rights laws in the historic struggle of women and minorities to achieve equality in the workplace.
[collapsed title="The 1980s - 1990s"]
- Legal Momentum’s National Judicial Education Program publishes When Bias Compounds: Insuring Equal Justice for Women of Color in the Courts, a comprehensive judicial education curriculum that explores intersectionality and how the stereotyping of women of color creates injustices across the spectrum of civil, criminal, family and juvenile law.
- Legal Momentum's National Judicial Education Programs serves as catalyst for the National Conference on Public Trust and Confidence in the Justice System urging state and federal court systems to make implementing the recommendations of the task forces on gender, race and ethnic bias in the courts a priority.
- Legal Momentum joins amicus brief in support of an American citizen working in Saudia Arabia who filed suit against his employer under Title VII on the grounds of discrimination based on his race, religion and national origin.
- Legal Momentum authors amicus brief in support of an African American USPS employee who filed suit under Title VII claiming that the Postal Service refused to promote him on the account of his race. Legal Momentum's brief focuses on the full enforcement of Title VII to prevent employment discrimination for women and minorities.
- Legal Momentum joins amicus brief with 18 women's and civil rights organizations in support of Mechelle Vinson, a Black employer at Meritor Savings Bank, in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson that argues that sexual harassment creates an intolerable work environment and violates Title VII.