Bay Area Groups Demand Trump Administration Reunite Families and Respect the Rule of Law

Bay Area Professional, Religious and Community Organizations Demand Trump Administration Reunite Families and Respect the Rule of Law

Diverse group calls upon the Administration to adhere to Court order during rally at San Francisco Federal Building

A diverse group of Bay Area organizations will gather on July 26 to demand the Trump Administration immediately and fully comply with federal court orders to reunite families torn apart by the inhumane “zero tolerance” policy and to provide ongoing trauma treatment for affected children.

Representatives from professional, religious and community groups will join together at 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 26, 2018, at the San Francisco Federal Building (90 7th Street) to demand the United States government live up to the inalienable right to human dignity enshrined in our Constitution and to highlight the ongoing medical, legal, and moral emergency created by the government’s unconscionable conduct.

“The recent injunction to end family separation was a promise made in our names to reunite children and parents who have been separated the cruel policies of our government. As the Trump Administration continues to flaunt the rule of law, extending its manufactured crisis, we must remain vigilant to ensure every child is back in their parents’ arms without further delay,” said Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, a leading children’s rights advocacy and research group based in Oakland.

Today marks San Diego federal judge Dana Sabraw’s final deadline: families with children from five to seventeen years old must be reunited. Judge Sabraw recently admonished the government for its noncompliance with duly authorized orders from the court, focusing on the damage caused to these children by forcible separation from their parents. Child trauma experts have repeatedly warned that these actions may have lifelong medical and psychological impacts on affected children.

“Children’s health and well-being are adversely affected by these separations and the resulting institutional care. Harmful effects from the related toxic stress and trauma can last a lifetime.

Every attempt should be made to keep families together and out of detention as they await hearings,” said Kris Calvin, CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics, California.

“Detention inflicts irreparable trauma on children,” said Jesse Hahnel, executive director of the National Center for Youth Law. “While the separation of children from their parents has justifiably sparked outrage, there are an additional ten thousand immigrant children sitting in federal detention facilities today, some of whom have been there for years. These children also need to be released to their families now.”

The court also called upon the government to allow for nonprofits to receive notice of the reunifications as “common courtesy,” in order to help facilitate reunification. Religious groups play a central role in this process, providing support to those in need at the border and during reunifications. Bay Area religious leaders continue to pressure the government to act righteously in the face of the crisis it created.

“Our teachings hold that we must love our neighbor, welcome the stranger and protect the vulnerable – and there’s no-one more vulnerable than these children. We must solve this crisis and do so now for all our children’s sake,” said Executive Pastor and Canon for Social Justice Ellen Clark-King of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

“We are taught that we must welcome the stranger living in our lands because we were once strangers in a strange land, to speak truth to power and to demand that justice roll down like a mighty stream. The Jewish people have seen this before and we will not be quiet in the face of something that goes against what we are taught,” said Rabbi Sydney Mintz of Congregation Emmanu-El in San Francisco and Bend the Arc Bay Area board member.

More than a dozen organizations representing thousands of Bay Area residents support today’s event. By including religious, legal, and medical leaders and national advocacy groups, today’s event presents a united front against this callous practice and in support of the institutions critical to the defense of our republic.

“Child separation and the ensuing abuses are a crime against humanity and a serious blow to due process and democratic governance. This policy has created an unprecedented Constitutional crises that must be addressed, but worse it has fostered an incredibly cruel and unhealthy environment for these families,” said Mary Kelly Persyn, child advocate, attorney, co-lead for Lawyer Moms of America – California and event organizer.

The speakers at the press conference will include, in alphabetical order:

  • Ellen Clark-King, Executive Pastor and Canon for Social Justice, Grace Cathedral
  • Dr. Lucy Crain, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Emerita, UCSF
  • Dr. Raul Gutierrez, Co-Lead, Pediatric Clinic San Francisco General Hospital
  • Jesse Hahnel, Executive Director, The National Center for Youth Law
  • Matt Haney, Commissioner, San Francisco Board of Education
  • Mary Kelly Persyn, Lawyer Moms of America
  • Brittney Rezaei, Immigrants Rights Attorney, CAIR – California

A partial list of supporting organizations includes: American Academy of Pediatrics — California, American Constitution Society — Bay Area Chapter, Bend the Arc, CAIR — California, California Campaign to Counter Childhood Adversity, Centro Legal de la Raza, Children Now, Congregation Emanu-El, Equal Justice Society, Grace Cathedral, HIAS, Lawyer Moms of America, Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, Mount Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, National Center for Youth Law, San Francisco La Raza Lawyers’ Association, The Justice & Diversity Center of The Bar Association of San Francisco, The Kitchen, and University of San Francisco Law School Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic.

Media Contact:
Donald C. Cutler
Media Notes: Speakers will use a microphone; no mult box.

‘Birthright: A War’ Documentary Presents Real-life ‘Handmaid’s Tale’

Birthright: A War Story screens April 26 in Piedmont and April 28 in Oakland

Birthright: A War Story examines what has happened to women’s reproductive rights in America since the historic Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 legalized abortion. Director Civia Tamarkin traces the strategy the anti-abortion movement has used to make reproductive choice unavailable, even if it is still legal: For over 40 years it has played the long game, working state by state to pass laws that chip away at women’s reproductive healthcare options. The war story that Birthright traces is a war of attrition.

Tamarkin presents haunting, personal stories of women trapped in the confines of these new laws interwoven with expert voices of activists and historians. We learn how women are being jailed, physically violated and even put at risk of dying as a radical movement tightens its grip across America. One couple, Robb and Danielle Deaver, share the horrors they endured as a direct result of Nebraska’s law banning abortions after 20 weeks, predicated on questionable science and similar to laws in 25 other states.

In California, where access to reproductive care is relatively secure, many may not realize how successful the anti-abortion forces have been in rewriting state law, and using courts and religious doctrine, to govern women’s reproductive rights.

Birthright: A War Story also highlights that for women with financial means, abortion is likely to remain accessible and safe.  But for low-income women of all ethnicities, especially those on Medicaid and in a growing number of states, access to abortion and contraception has already become scarce and dangerous; they are caught up in a draconian web of laws and corporate policies surrounding reproductive medical care of all kinds.

These developments are now a public health crisis which is increasing maternal mortality, turning pregnant women into criminals, and challenging the constitutional protections of every woman in America. This is the real-life “Handmaid’s Tale”.

Free screenings of Birthright: A War Story

Thursday, April 26, 2018
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse
325 Highland Ave
Piedmont, Calif.
6:30  Reception
7:00  Film
8:45  Discussion

Saturday, April 28, 2018**
The New Parkway Theater
474 24th St., Oakland, Calif.
Food for purchase
3:00  Film and Discussion

** Check at — Warriors playoff schedule may force a change of date or time.

Further information at:, and at the film’s website:  Questions?  Email

Estela Lopez Gilliam Selected as Coalitions Manger for Good Ally Collaborative, CCRC

The Equal Justice Society is delighted to announce that Estela Lopez Gilliam will serve as Coalitions Manager for the Good Ally Collaborative and the California Civil Rights Coalition.

As Coalitions Manager, Ms. Lopez Gilliam will be responsible for facilitating the 600-member Good Ally Collaborative and developing the Collaborative’s leadership and coalition planning. The position will also assist EJS in realigning and reactivating the California Civil Rights Coalition.

The Good Ally Collaborative is a network of attorneys and activists that grew out of the January 2017 “How to Be a Good Ally Strategic Engagement Conference” organized by Kelly Dermody, Yolanda Jackson, and others in San Francisco. The conference brought together more than 1,000 participants in response to the climate of rising hate, intimidation, and discrimination.

Founded in 1985, the California Civil Rights Coalition is a statewide community of civil rights organizations, activists, educators, lawyers, and advocates representing a wide range of issues and working as one to create a just and healthy society.

Estela has worked with civil rights organizations serving low-income communities, immigrants and refugees and marginalized communities for over twenty years. Most recently she has been working as a Staff Attorney with the Unified Family Court at the San Francisco Superior Court.

She has also served as the Associate Director of California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, as a Staff Attorney with the San Francisco Superior Court Family Law Self-Help Center, where she assisted self-represented individuals access the court and supervised the Self-Help Center’s volunteer program and with the Public Defenders’ Office in Santa Clara County.

Estela received double degrees in Chicano Studies and Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley and her law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law. After graduating from law school, Estela was named the Earl Johnson Community Lawyer Fellow, an honor given to one graduating law student in the state of California pursuing a career in public law. During her fellowship, she worked at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area representing immigrant clients impacted by the 1996 Welfare Reform Law.

EJS expresses our deep appreciation to the Rosenberg Foundation ( for providing us with a grant to support the coalition management of the Good Ally Collaborative.

We would also like to thank the following Good Ally Collaborative members for serving on an ad hoc advisory committee that provided feedback on the consultant selection: Angelica Jongco, Jody Nunez, Kelly Dermody, and Leslie Cunningham.

For more information on the Good Ally Collaborative, visit

Rosenberg Foundation Provides Grant for Grand Alliance Efforts

UPDATE: We now have the position announcement listed.

The Rosenberg Foundation ( has awarded the Equal Justice Society with a discretionary grant of $15,000 to support EJS’s “Grand Alliance” efforts, specifically the coalition management of the Good Ally Collaborative.

The Good Ally Collaborative ( is a network of attorneys and activists that grew out of the “How to Be a Good Ally Strategic Engagement Conference” held on January 6, 2017, in San Francisco.

The conference brought together more than 1,000 participants in response to the post-election climate of rising hate, intimidation, and discrimination. The conference was organized by a team led by Kelly Dermody and Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, and Yolanda Jackson and the Bar Association of San Francisco.

The team at EJS is serving as coordinators of the Good Ally Collaborative, transitioning the Good Ally conference attendees into a 600-member coalition designed to connect skills and resources with needs, intersect with existing movements, and develop solutions to unmet challenges.

EJS’s work with the Good Ally Collaborative is part of its “Grand Alliance” approach, which reflects the organization’s vision of justice that explicitly acknowledges the interconnectedness between various issues, struggles and constituencies.

Since EJS’s founding in 2000, the organization has developed a proud tradition of reaching out to marginalized communities and advocating on behalf of social justice issues that have not always fallen under the racial justice umbrella.

The California Civil Rights Coalition ( is also a Grand Alliance effort co-chaired by EJS President Eva Paterson and MALDEF President Thomas A. Saenz. CCRC was founded in 1985 to as a statewide community of civil rights organizations, activists, educators, lawyers, and advocates representing a wide range of issues, working together to create a just and healthy California.

EJS will use the Rosenberg Foundation grant to engage a part-time coalition management contractor. This person will serve as the primary Good Ally Collaborative coordinator, and also develop strategies on how to intersect the Collaborative and the California Civil Rights Coalition.

The Rosenberg Foundation grant is intended to provide short-term support. EJS is seeking matching contributions from institutional or individual donors interested in supporting long-term efforts to sustain and grow the Good Ally Collaborative. Interested donors can contact EJS Director of Development Anna Basallaje at or 415-288-8700.

Visit to learn more about the Good Ally Collaborative, or contact Keith Kamisugi at