Podcasts

CUNY School of Law

Rhonda Copelon: Champion for Human Rights

October 13, 2009 | CUNY School of Law, Newsmakers

Since graduating from Yale Law School, Rhonda Copelon has dedicated her life to the struggle for human rights, first at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, where she litigated civil rights and international human rights cases for 12 years, and then at CUNY Law School where she co-founded the International Women’s Rights Law Clinic in 1992. Under her direction, IWHR has earned wide acclaim and enabled CUNY Law students to participate in groundbreaking human rights advocacy in the U.S. and abroad. Prof. Copelon discusses the clinic’s evolution as well as its current role. “Almost any issue you touch has a gender dimension — it’s often hidden — so what we’re trying to do…is give students an understanding of how to work towards a broader concept of justice that is inclusive.”
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Life Lessons from Judge Sotomayor

July 10, 2009 | CUNY School of Law, Newsmakers

As a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, Jenny Rivera learned firsthand the importance of fairness. “It is important that, rather than jump to conclusions about the individual nominee, we look at the record,” said Rivera, now a professor at CUNY School of Law and founding director of its Center of Latino and Latina Rights and Equality. Prof. Rivera, who worked under Sotomayor when she was a Manhattan federal court judge in 1993, said that she has applied the vigilance learned as Judge Sotomayor’s clerk, to her own professional life. “I always think about what impact my actions have on my students and clients,” she said. Now committed to public interest law at the school and the Center, she hopes to “resolve some of the adverse impact and discriminatory conditions that Latinos face in the New York and in the United States.”
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Human Trafficking: Tool of Oppression

June 15, 2009 | CUNY Lecture Series, CUNY School of Law

Human trafficking is a hugely profitable, global enterprise that, says Suzanne Tomatore, director of the Immigrant Women & Children Project of the New York City Bar Association, often involves trusted friends or family members who are used to entrap victims. “The U.S. State Department estimates that 14,500 to 17,000 people are trafficked to the U.S. each year,” says Tomatore, a CUNY Law School alumna. “Often our traffickers, on the cases I’ve been involved with, tend to be family members — boyfriends, husbands or someone from the same town or village.” Tomatore was joined by Ivy Suriyopas, staff attorney for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, at the CUNY Law School discussion, “Human Trafficking, Interpersonal Violence, and the Power of Gender Violence as a Tool of Oppression.”
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Juan Gonzalez: Defend Those Most in Need

June 23, 2008 | CUNY Lecture Series, CUNY School of Law

Addressing the 2008 CUNY Law School graduates at Queens College, veteran Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez joked that he and they had one thing in common: “My profession — journalism — is even more unpopular these days than yours.” Gonzalez said his platform had enabled him to right wrongs, and encouraged the class to do the same in their careers. Gonzalez, who also co-hosts the WBAI radio show “Democracy Now!” asked the law graduates “to defend the rights of those most in need” and to consider working for the city’s betterment, particularly on urban land use policy and to eliminate the practice of eminent domain. “What a city does with its most limited and valuable resource — streets, parks, the land under its commercial spaces and homes — is central to the creation of a just and equitable society.”
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