Session Type(s): Panel
Starts: Friday, Jul. 12 1:30 PM (Eastern)
Ends: Friday, Jul. 12 2:30 PM (Eastern)
Whose Courts? How Progressives Can Transform the Courts (and Win in 2020)
Posted by Netroots Nation on Friday, July 12, 2019
Kavanaugh’s confirmation fight and the response of progressive voters in 2018 shattered the notion that the courts are a losing issue for our side. With the Senate and White House up for grabs, 2020 is a pivotal year for the future of our judiciary. It’s no overstatement that our rights and our very democracy are at stake as the courts weigh in on the Muslim Ban, abortion access, the Russia investigation, environmental protections, civil rights, LGBTQ equality and more. Progressive candidates must share their vision for the courts—and progressive voters must raise the issue at every turn. Join us to discuss strategies to leverage the momentum of recent confirmation fights to make the courts a central and winning issue in 2020.
Keith Thirion is an experienced campaigner, advocate, and organizer. As the VP of Strategy at Alliance for Justice, he oversees the Justice, Bolder Advocacy, and Outreach & Membership teams, shaping organizational strategy and working with the program teams to maximize AFJ’s impact. He also directs organizational strategies and leads coalitions in campaigns to increase visibility of the courts and judicial nominations, focusing on the importance of the courts in protecting civil rights and constitutional protections. He previously served as Director of Advocacy & Programs and then Acting Director of Equality Maryland, where he played a lead role in passing the state transgender anti-discrimination law and directed the campaign to deny opponents signatures for a repeal referendum. He also directed EQMD’s public education and advocacy programs. He also worked for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network directing Virginia field campaigns to advance clean energy policies and counter the power of the commonwealth’s biggest polluters. Keith began organizing on multiple ballot initiative campaigns, including Proposition 8 in Los Angeles, and as an Organizing Fellow with the National LGBTQ Task Force.
Diallo Brooks, People For’s senior director of outreach and partner engagement, brings 20 years of experience as a leader in the fight for social justice and civil rights while working with national and state leaders to advance progressive policies that support and enhance everyone’s ability to live the American dream. In his current position, Brooks serves as a national spokesperson on issues including civil rights, voting rights, and civic engagement. He works to engage progressive partners and allies around People For’s social justice mission and works with the People For Foundation programs to ensure civic engagement leads to a broader and more inclusive democracy. Brooks also coordinates People For’s fight against the corporate-right agenda of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), including work to protect public education, protect voting right and expose right-wing attempts to criminalize communities of color.
Brooks previously served as People For’s field director, where he was responsible for activating People For’s networks around campaigns and strategic initiatives to advance progressive goals. Prior to joining People For, Brooks was the director of legislator relations for the Center for Policy Alternatives where he worked to train and provide policy support to progressive state legislators around the country. Brooks is a member of the board of directors for the Network For Public Education Action and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. Brooks has provided trainings for numerous nonprofits, local, state and federal elected officials and other institutions to uplift progressive values through leadership and policy enhancement.
Reggie is an internationally recognized yoga and meditation teacher and the founder/chief serving officer of Active Peace Yoga. His yoga and meditation practice have served as a sanctuary of peace and perspective while navigating the stresses of being a black man in the world and serving in pressure filled jobs at the height of politics. He began his contemplative practices under extreme emotional distress at work and now works with all walks of life in service to helping people navigate this thing called life with more truth, grace, peace and ease.
Through Active Peace Yoga, he offers guidance, teaching and tools/techniques to help others nurture peace of mind, creativity, equanimity in spirit and physical health – helping people commit to well-being as foundational, rather than an afterthought. Reggie has taught Members of Congress, Congressional Staff, major labor unions, educational institutions, leading progressive organizations and individuals from all walks of life – simple tools for managing stress and bringing peace to mind, body and spirit.
Reggie has held many senior strategic and logistical roles across a variety of fields, ranging from global marketing, digital and community organizing, government relations, international education to Presidential campaigning (Kerry/Edwards 2004, 2008 Dem Convention, Bernie Sanders 2016). He recently served as the Congressional Liaison and senior political strategist for MoveOn, managing their relationships, impact and communications with Capitol Hill from 2017 to 2021. While at MoveOn, he played significant roles in the impeachment process as well as bridging the gap between political strategy and connecting grassroots leaders with elected officials. He has spent most of the last two decades at the forefront of social change at the grassroots level and now advises grassroots organizations on how to effectively campaign and take care of themselves in the process.
In addition to his political work and deep study of yoga and meditation, Reggie has authored a thesis entitled, “Yoga and Spiritual Activism: Serving Humanity from a Sense of Devotion and Love.” as part of his studies, which articulates much of his teaching philosophy.
Reggie’s life work sits at the intersection of bringing more peace and balance to activists; guiding the wellness community toward being more engaged, concerned citizens; and, enhancing the well-being of all walks of life. Achieving this balance is how we catalyze transformative change in our society, which we are desperately in need of at this moment.
Reggie received a B.A. in philosophy from Yale University and an MBA in international strategy from the Vlerick Business School in Belgium.
Kadida Kenner is the CEO of the New Pennsylvania Project and the New PA Project Education Fund, both are voting rights organizations modeled after the successful New Georgia Project. The New Pennsylvania Project’s primary focus is to civically engage, register, mobilize and empower often-ignored constituents, especially the youth, and communities of color in rural, urban, and suburban Pennsylvania to transform and expand the electorate in the Commonwealth.
Kadida is a tireless advocate for social and economic justice issues and is motivated to empower and excite the electorate to enthusiastically vote in every election — all the way down the entire ballot. In addition to working on voting rights, Kadida also serves as co-chair of Why Courts Matter – Pennsylvania, an advocacy campaign seeking to protect the independence of our state and federal courts, and educate the electorate about their importance. The Temple University graduate resides in the Philly suburbs and counts civil rights organizing icon, and Pennsylvania native Bayard Rustin as her hero.
Anisha Singh is the Director of Judicial Nominations at Planned Parenthood Federation of America where she develops the organization’s democracy and courts strategy through coordinated campaigns to protect reproductive rights and health in our courts.
Prior to joining Planned Parenthood, Anisha was the senior organizing director for Generation Progress, the youth-engagement arm of the Center for American Progress. In this capacity, Anisha developed national organizing strategies and training programs to bring the experiences of 18- to 35-year-olds to on-the-ground actions in target states. Prior to joining Generation Progress, Anisha served as the campaign manager for Legal Progress at American Progress. There, she shaped the conversation around the nation’s judicial process by managing unprecedented grassroots organization efforts across the country to educate Americans on the need to fill judicial vacancies with diverse, progressive judges.
She previously served as a policy attorney and program manager for United Sikhs, where she focused on human and civil rights advocacy on behalf of minority communities internationally, with an emphasis on post-9/11 discrimination concerns. There she founded United Sikhs’ national Anti-Bullying Campaign to proactively assist victims of bullying in partnership with the White House Anti-Bullying Initiative and the U.S. Department of Education, and as co-counsel, Anisha won a historic anti-discrimination case against the U.S. Army.
Anisha brings with her more than a decade of experience in public interest and social justice work, with a strong grassroots organizing and legal background. Anisha’s background includes immigration, gun violence prevention, AAPI engagement, race and ethnicity, religion, employment discrimination, labor, civil rights, international criminal justice, and trial advocacy. Anisha received her B.A. with summa cum laude honors in political science and communication studies from Florida State University and received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. She is barred in Washington, DC and Maryland and was named one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30″ for law and policy in 2016.