2016–2017: Equality Before the Law | Webster University

2016–2017: Equality Before the Law

Conference Summary

Equality Before the LawThe universal human right to equality before the Law protects all people from discrimination in matters related to laws and justice. Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law." Thus, everyone must be treated equally under the law regardless of characteristics such as race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or disability.

Read more about the Equality Before the Law conference on the Journal of Webster University here





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Conference Schedule

  • Dates: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 and Thursday, September 29, 2016
  • Venue: East Academic Building room 253/262 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Time Event Details
11:15-11:30 AM Welcome and conference framework  Chris Parr, Professor of Religious Studies and Institute for Human Rights & Humanitarian Studies Fellow, Webster University – Saint Louis
11:30-12:45 PM Plenary #1 – Kimberly Norwood, Professor of Law, Washington University Law “Colorblindness, Equality and other Fairytales.” Book signing of Ferguson’s Fault Lines: The Race Quake that Rocked a Nation to follow
12:45-2:00 PM BREAK
2:00-3:15 PM Plenary #2 – Michael-John Voss, Co-Founder, Arch City Defenders “How Municipal Courts Violate Constitutional Rights and Erode Trust to Raise Revenue: What is Happening and What Can Be Done about It” 
3:30-4:45 PM Plenary #3 – Tricia Bushnell, Legal Director, Midwest Innocence Project “Finality over Fairness: The Role of Innocence in the U.S. Criminal Justice System”


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Time Event Details
9:30-9:45 AM Welcome and recap  Chris Parr, Professor of Religious Studies and Institute for Human Rights & Humanitarian Studies Fellow, Webster University – Saint Louis
10:00-11:15 AM Plenary #4 – Amy Lorenz-Moser, Carpenter Moser LLC “Legal Advocacy on Behalf of Rape and Abuse Victims”
11:15-12:00 PM BREAK
12:00-1:15 PM Plenary #5 – Jaimie Hileman, Board President, Metro Trans Umbrella Group  “Challenges and Opportunities Facing the Trans Community Today”
1:30-2:45 PM Plenary #6 – Vivek Srinivasan, Researcher, Stanford University “Building Technology for Human Rights at the Grassroots Level” 
3:00-4:15 PM Panel Discussion: Webster Faculty “Challenging Boundaries: An Informal Discussion on Immigration” will feature Webster Faculty who will discuss immigration and the rights of immigrants and refugees. Each panelist will serve as an informal representative of their country of origin and/or as an engaged world citizen who is invested in this topic. Moderated by Julie Setele, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Institute for Human Rights & Humanitarian Studies Fellow, Webster University – Saint LouisFaculty and their countries of origin include: Pinar Alakoc (Turkey) History, Politics & International Relations; Lionel Cuille (France) International Languages and Cultures; Jubin Goodarzi (Iran) History, Politics & International Relations; Gad Guterman (Colombia) Conservatory of Theatre Arts; and Muthoni Musangali (Kenya) Professional Counseling.
5:30-7:00 PM Keynote Speaker - Justin Hansford, Associate Professor of Law, Saint Louis University "Ferguson to Geneva: A Human Rights Framework for the Movement"
  RECEPTION Please join us for refreshments in the Centene Atrium


 Plenary Speakers:

Tricia BushnellTricia Bushnell is the Legal Director of the Midwest Innocence Project. Prior to joining MIP in 2013, she was an Assistant Clinical Professor with the Wisconsin Innocence Project. Bushnell was previously a fellow with the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama, where she represented indigent clients sentenced to death, juveniles sentenced to life without parole, and sexual offenders challenging the collateral consequences of their convictions. She earned her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Fellow, and her B.A. from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.

Jaimie HilemanJaimie Hileman is the Co-Executive Director of Metro Trans Umbrella Group Saint Louis (MTUG). She routinely facilitates the MTUG Trans 101-103 and advocates through intersectional Trans activism for equality, as well as speaks at conferences in plenaries, panel discussions, and workshops about the intersection of Trans identities, lived experiences, and human rights. Past presentations include the 2015 Transgender Spectrum Conference (UMSL), the 2015 White House and Health and Human Services Regional LGBT Civil Rights Conference (Washington University Saint Louis), and the 2016 LGBT National Gay and Lesbian Task Force LGBTQIA Leadership “Creating Change” conference in Chicago. Prior to joining MTUG, Hileman had 24 years of experience in the business world. She served as MTUG Board President (2015-2016) after serving on the board since 2013.

Amy Lorenz-Moser Amy Lorenz-Moser has 16 years of experience in civil litigation and owns the law practice Carpenter Moser LLC. She has a longstanding pro bono practice advocating on behalf of women and girls who have been victims of rape and abuse. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her pro bono work, including Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly’s highest honor, Lawyer of the Year, as well as the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award. Prior to starting Carpenter Moser, Lorenz-Moser was in private practice at three of the Saint Louis area’s largest law firms: Thompson Coburn LLP, Bryan Cave LLP, and Armstrong Teasdale LLP. She earned her J.D. from the University of Missouri – Columbia School of Law and is an alumna of Webster University.

Kimberly NorwoodKimberly Norwood is the Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law at Washington University School of Law. She graduated from law school at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she was the first Black person in the school’s history to become a member of the prestigious Missouri Law Review. She clerked for Federal District Court Judge and practiced with Bryan Cave, LLP, before joining the faculty in 1990. Six years later, she became the first Black female to receive tenure in Washington University’s history. She made history again by becoming the first Black female in Washington University’s history to receive the Distinguished Faculty award in 2015. Her research interests involve Black identity issues, colorism, the public education challenges facing poor children and Black and Latino/a children, and implicit bias work. Her first book, Color Matters:  Skin Tone Bias & the Myth of a Post-Racial America, was published in 2014 and her second book, Ferguson’s Fault Lines: The Race Quake that Rocked a Nation, was published this year.

Vivek SrinivasanVivek Srinivasan is a social scientist based at Stanford University who specializes in the use of technology to promote transparency and accountability. His work at Stanford builds on 15 years of academic and activist work on ensuring basic public services to combat hunger, illiteracy, and ill-health in India. Prior to Stanford, he worked with large socio-economic movements in India including India's Right to Food Campaign. Srinivasan graduated with a Ph.D. in Social Science from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Read more at http://viveks.info/me.


Michael-John VossMichael-John Voss is a Co-Founder and Director of Operations and Finance at the ArchCity Defenders. ArchCity Defenders (ACD) is a non-profit civil rights law firm providing holistic legal advocacy to the poor and homeless in the Saint Louis region and beyond. Voss is a co-author of ACD’s 2014 White Paper on Saint Louis County’s municipal court system, which sparked a national conversation about the way police and local courts worked in concert to criminalize communities of color and generate revenue, as well as how they violated the clear mandates of the U.S. Constitution. Voss’ work on these issues has been widely featured in the national media and recognized by awards including: the National Legal Aid and Defender Association’s 2014 New Leaders in Advocacy Defender Award, the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ 2013 Atticus Finch Award, the Saint Louis Bar Foundation’s 2012 Spirit of Justice Award, and Saint Louis University School of Law’s 2011 Excellence in Pro Bono Award. Voss graduated from Saint Louis University School of Law in 2009 and has a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois. 

Keynote Speaker:

Justin HansfordJustin Hansford is an Associate Professor at Saint Louis University School of Law. His research incorporates legal history, legal ethics, critical race theory, human rights, and the Global Justice Movement in a broader attempt to interrogate injustice in society. He has a B.A. from Howard University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a founder of The Georgetown Journal of Law and Modern Critical Race Perspectives. He joined the law faculty after clerking for Judge Damon Keith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and he has received a prestigious Fulbright Scholar award to study the legal career of Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

Living just 10 minutes from Ferguson, Hansford has been at the forefront of legal organizing and advocacy in the aftermath of the murder of Mike Brown. He co-authored the Ferguson to Geneva human rights shadow report and accompanied the Ferguson Protesters and Mike Brown’s family to Geneva, Switzerland, to testify at the United Nations. He has served as a policy advisor for proposed post-Ferguson reforms at the local, state, and federal level, testifying before the Ferguson Commission, the Missouri Advisory Committee to the United States Civil Rights Commission, and the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

As a result of his work in Ferguson, Hansford has been featured in USA Today, The Washington Post, Time Magazine, Ebony, and the Globe and Mail, and he has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, PBS, National Public Radio, and other national and local news outlets. He was honored by the National Bar Association as one of the Top 40 Lawyers Under 40, selected as an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar by the Aspen Institute, and recently was named by Revolt TV as one of the 25 New Leaders of Social Justice.

Webster University’s 2016 Annual Human Rights Conference will explore this important human rights theme and consider how equality before the law is violated around the world, including in Saint Louis and throughout the United States. Hosted by the Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies, this on-campus event is free and open to the public.

To learn more about equality before the Law, please visit http://www.claiminghumanrights.org/equality_before_law_definition.html


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