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William Adam Schooley, California Fellow, Elected Chair of ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice

March 8, 2019, Fellows in the news

William Adam Schooley, California Fellow, elected Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice. The Civil Rights Section has a hallowed history: It was formed in response to a 1963 meeting in which JFK assembled 244 lawyers in Washington DC to discuss civil rights and ask why lawyers were not doing more. Founding members included Judges William Gray, William Hastie, and Abner Mikva, Deans Erwin Griswold and Eugene Rostow, Attorney General Nicholas Katzenach, Justices William Brennan, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Cruz Reynoso, and Congressman Robert Drinan. 

Mr. Schooley’s focus as Section Chair is on the overwhelming, enduring, cumulative, daily effects of centuries of generational racism, oppression, terrorism and trauma on Black America. His commitment is that a Section forged in the Civil Rights movement must be in the thick of the conversation about this shameful side of the American Dream, and part of creating a counter-narrative to our collective American silence on the history and continuing effects of slavery and racism. He ignited that conversation by staging his Fall Meeting in the triangle of cities that was first the cradle of the confederacy and then the crucible of the 1960s civil rights struggle:  Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma, Alabama on October 10-14, working with Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative, among others. To further that conversation, he has set his Spring meeting this April in Baltimore, a city with a rich racial history that has long been a center of Black culture and at the forefront of civil rights issues and is—along with Birmingham and Montgomery—one of a handful of Black majority cities in America. 

In addition, Mr. Schooley was appointed to the ABA Journal Board of Editors for a three year term (a distinction he also shares with Justice Ginsberg, a former member of the Journal’s Board of Editors).  Mr. Schooley’s other current ABA roles include serving in the ABA House of Delegates as the San Diego County Bar Association’s Delegate, as a member of the Small Firm and General Practice Division Book Board, and a board member of the YLD Fellows. 

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