AUGUST 2016 | Washington Lawyers' Committee eNewsletter
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Dear *|MMERGE5|*,

Every day we hear more stories about the urgent need to address civil rights issues, inequality, and racial justice. The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs has been doing this important work for the last 48 years, and we are turning to meet the new and emerging challenges of the day.

Together, we are making a difference for people like those you'll read about below: people like Domingo and Doris who faced discrimination at their job; people like the men at DC Jail who are currently suffering from heat in a crumbling facility and a lack of housing when they return to their communities; people like Kevin Ziober who are illegally fired for serving our country and then denied the right to argue their case before a judge.

Thank you for making our community a more fair and just place for everyone to live, work, and raise a family. Please be in touch.

Jon Smith
Executive Director, Washington Lawyers' Committee

Wage Theft: Domingo's Story
Meet Domingo. In June, Domingo Zamora and ten of his fellow construction workers held in their hands the last check owed to them for unpaid overtime wages. For years, they had been underpaid for long, hard hours of work. Now, nearly two and a half years after the WLC filed a lawsuit on their behalf, they have finally been rightfully compensated.
 
Volunteer Spotlight: Ann Weber
Ten days into Ann Weber’s externship at the WLC, DC Prisoners’ Project Director Deb Golden got some unexpectedly early news. She called Ann into her office, threw down a stack of files, and said, “I’m having a baby today." Ann didn't panic.
Temperatures Rise in DC Jail
Imagine not being able to escape from DC’s latest oppressive heat wave. Instead, you are stuck in a giant brick building that “functions like an oven.” That’s life for the 1,200 men at the DC Jail. WLC’s Jon Smith and Deb Golden called for immediate action. And on the radio last week, Deb discussed how hot temperatures can be unconstitutional and the need to reform DC Jail.
Fair Housing at the DC Council
In July, we urged DC Councilmembers to strengthen and enact the Fair Criminal Record Screening in Housing Act of 2016, a bill that "recognizes the importance of creating civil rights protections to help formerly incarcerated persons participate fully in the life of the District.”
Fight Injustice & Inequality with WLC: Volunteer and Pro Bono Opportunities
More June & July News

Jon Smith and Kristen Clarke, the executive director of the National Lawyers’ Committee, talk about police reform in The Hill.

American Airlines Inc. will pay nearly $5 million to settle claims that it shortchanged the pension benefits of pilots who served in the military, in violation of USERRA.

WLC client Kevin Ziober testifies before the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs about USERRA and how he was fired before a deployment to Afghanistan and then told he had to arbitrate his claims.

Peter Romer-Friedman explains why forced arbitration under USERRA is illegal, speaking at Congress and in the Ninth Circuit.

American Council of the Blind Reaches Agreement with DC Taxi Companies to Enhance Accessibility of Street-Hail Service for Blind Individuals with Service Dogs
Gratitude

We are infinitely grateful for WLC’s former Executive Director Rod Boggs, who stepped down in June after 45 years of distinguished service.

Many thanks again to the sponsors of the 2016 Wiley A. Branton Luncheon, and to our outstanding law firm and corporate partners.

Thank you to the DC Bar Foundation, Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Hattie M. Strong Foundation, and Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia, for your recent grants that fuel our prisoners, education, and disability rights work.

Morrison Foerster Associate Trustees Rachel Osborn and Hanna Abrams, and Board Member Brian Busey, held an auction and raffle on July 26 that raised nearly $4,000 for the WLC. Thank you so much for your leadership and generosity!


 
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