Good Law | Bad Law #149 - Fighting Back Against Hate Crimes . . . in Court. A Conversation w/ Kristen Clarke
How can the law be used to hold perpetrators of racial violence and hate crimes accountable?
Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast, Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, to address the recent rise in hate crimes, discrimination and the intensifying activities of white-supremacist and other hate groups responsible. In today’s episode, Aaron and Kristen also talk about the ground-breaking case Kristen won recently in which she took on a neo-Nazi group for violently targeting a college student in Washington, D.C.
After being elected American University’s first African American female student body president, Taylor Dumpson was met with extreme racism, specifically from a neo-Nazi group and its website, the Daily Stormer. Students were encouraged and incited to target and harass Taylor. She was sent threatening and racist messages online and she was harassed on campus. For example, led on by the neo-Nazi group, students hung bananas with racist messages from nooses around the campus.
Taylor suffered PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) but persevered, graduated and now attends law school. She also fought back, bringing in Kristen and the Lawyers’ Committee to file suit in D.C. against the neo-Nazi group and two students who were found to have committed hate crimes. The Lawyers’ Committee and Kristen recently won a precedent-setting victory in court, along with an award of $725,000. Kristen explains the novel way in which she used the law to argue on Taylor’s behalf and the impact that Taylor’s win has had and likely will continue to have as other, similar cases are brought in other jurisdictions.
A nonpartisan, nonprofit national civil rights organization, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law pursues equal justice for all through the rule of law, targeting in particular the inequities confronting African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities. Formed at the request of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, the Committee seeks to promote fair housing and community development, economic justice, voting rights, equal educational opportunity, criminal justice, judicial diversity and more. Formerly serving as the head of the Civil Rights Bureau for the New York State Attorney General’s Office, as well as a leader at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., Ms. Clarke’s career has focused on work that seeks to strengthen democracy by combating discrimination faced by African Americans and others.
Check out this incredibly important and interesting conversation, as Aaron and Kristen talk about racism, inequality, white-supremacy and the role of law, as well as an empowering story of triumph over hate. Be sure to listen to the entire episode as this week we have a fascinating P.S. from Aaron and Kristen.
To learn more about Kristen, please visit the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law website here.
Mentioned throughout the episode are other campaigns sponsored by the Lawyers’ Committee, including the No Hate Project. You can find more information on that here. You can also find a full list of other issues and campaigns on the Committee’s homepage by clicking here.
Host: Aaron Freiwald
Guest: Kristen Clarke