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BALIF YEAR-END REVIEW JUNE – DECEMBER 2020


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L E T T E R F RO M THE CO-CHAIRS BALIF is the nation’s oldest and largest association of LGBTQI persons in the field of law. Its mission is to lead our LGBTQI+ legal community through advocacy, justice, community empowerment, and professional development. We are so proud this year of all we have accomplished this year despite being in the midst of a global pandemic. Our last in-person gathering was our 40th Anniversary Gala in March, and we were able to raise a record $200,000. The gala provides the majority of BALIF’s funding, so we appreciate those T h a n k yo u of you were able to attend and sponsor. p a r t o f o u r

Since then, we welcomed a new board in May, and provided a robust offering of CLE programing, pro bono training, social and networking events, community fundraising, and timely statements on the social justice movement and 2020 Election from our first Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer. Some highlights this year include CLEs on trans issues in the workplace and an HIV COVID forum; virtual legal clinics and trainings in partnership with the Oakland LGBT Center, Berkeley Law School, Transgender Gender-variant and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), and National Lawyers Guild (NLG); a mentorship program with over 100 participants; advocacy and education on issues that will increase diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, such as Proposition 16, letters to Governor Newsom calling for a LGBTQI+

addition to the California Supreme Court, changes to the California bar exam cut score, and updates to the 2021 State Bar survey; and events to bring our community together, including the first Lavender Graduation for the class of 2020, social justice summer events, and a Halloween fundraiser. On top of this, BALIF has donated to racial justice causes, law student stipends to attend conferences, and to local nonprofits serving the community through the awards given at the Gala.

This year has afforded us the time to revisit projects with f o r b e i n g a long-term strategic impact like updating c o m m u n i t y our By-Laws and redesigning our website in order to better serve our community. In the year ahead, we will continue to offer the events and programs to support our LGBTQI+ legal community, whether in person or virtually. Thank you for being a part of our community, and for supporting us with your membership.

AMANDA HAMILTON & JEFF KOSBIE

2020-2021 CO-CHAIRS

You can reach the Co-Chairs at chair@balif.org


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COMMUNICATIONS & TECHNOLOGY Communications has continued to expand BALIF’s social media presence on Twitter and Instagram, and has also secured a contract to redo and revamp our website. Look forward to our new website launch in 2021!

CO-CHAIRS: MANDY CHAN & PRERNA LAL

This year, we revived the newsletter feature “BALIF Buzz” in order to highlight exciting and fund developments in our work and in the lives or our members. Have something to announce? Want to be part of our BALIF Buzz newsletter feature? Email communications@balif.org

DID YOU KNOW?

AMICUS & JUDICIARY

The amicus and judiciary committee seeks to harness the power and collective voice of the LGBTQI community by weighing in on legal cases of critical importance to our communities, and actively advocating for the appointment of LGBTQI judges to the judiciary. Over the past year, we have weighed in as amici in at least a dozen consolidated cases to support, defend, and advance LGBTQI rights and liberties. As a commitee, we’ve proudly supported and stood behind LGBTQ attorneys running for office such as Judge Elena Condes and Mark Fickes in Alameda County, and celebrated the appointment of Martin Jenkins, the first openly gay and Black judge, to the California Supreme Court. To learn more, you can reach us at amicus@balif.org.

The Communications & Technology Co-Chairs are both drag performers. Look out for Juicy Liu (Michael Nguyen) and Pop Roxxx (Ari Jones), they often host or perform at BALIF events!

FOLLOW BALIF!

@BALIF_Bar

GET IN TOUCH WITH BALIF Have questions about your membership? Want to post to our job board? Email balif@balif.org


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T H E BA L I F B OA R D 2020-2021 EXECUTIVE TEAM

Amanda Hamilton Co-Chair Social Co-Chair

Jeff Kosbie Co-Chair

Daniel H. Galindo DE&I Chair CCBA Co-Chair

Mandy Chan Secretary Amicus & Judiciary Co-Chair

Christine Capuyan Treasurer Membership Co-Chair New Lawyers & Law Students Co-Chair

LAW STUDENT REPRESENTATIVES

Allen Willams Law Student Representative

Chris Vu Law Student Representative

Serena Lau Law Student Representative


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COMMITTEE CHAIRS

Angela Lim Community Ambassador Co-Chair

Ari Jones Programs Co-Chair Communications & Technology Co-Chair

Kel O’Hara Community Ambassador Co-Chair Gala Co-Chair

Mark Fickes Gala Co-Chair

Rafael LangerOsuna Community Activism Co-Chair Programs Co-Chair

Stephan Ferris New Lawyers & Law Students Co-Chair

Basil Williams Community Ambassador Co-Chair CCBA Co-Chair

Jane Migachyov Community Activism Co-Chair CCBA Co-Chair

Michael Nguyen Membership Co-Chair Social Co-Chair Communications & Technology Co-Chair

Prerna Lal Amicus & Judiciary Co-Chair


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COMMUNITY ACTIVISM

$8,231

Total raised for the Transgender, Gendervariant and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP) at this year’s Halloween Fundraiser. Thank you to our incredible sponsors!

The Community Activism committee worked with Programs and DE&I to hold a training on supporting Black Lives Matter protesters. (See DE&I section) The Community Activism committee worked hard to put on the Halloween Fundraiser benefiting TGI Justice Project. The event featured three San Francisco drag queens and a costume contest. At the end of the event, BALIF had raised $8,231 for the TGI Justice Project and people had a great time! The Committee plans to hold a community legal clinic in the new year. To learn more, get in touch with us at activism@balif.org.

CO-CHAIRS: JANE MIGACHYOV & RAFAEL LANGER-OSUNA


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COMMUNITY AMBASSADOR

CO-CHAIRS: BASIL WILLIAMS, DANIEL H. GALINDO, & JANE MIGACHYOV

Since the beginning of August, the Community Ambassador Committee has facilitated BALIF co-sponsoring 10 events. The committee has attended 12 intersectional events and spoken at 10 events! There are three of us on the committee and we all come from different practice areas from the public sector, nonprofit, and in-house areas. Some highlights included attending and speaking at: National LGBT Bar 01 The Lavender Law Conference 16 panel discussion on Dis02 Prop. mantling Institutional Bias and Racism with Cal-APABA

with U.C. Berkeley 03 Alawdiscussion students about pursuing a

legal career supporting survivors of gender violence, particularly LGBTQ survivors, outside of the criminal legal system.

CO-CHAIRS: ANGELA LIM, BASIL WILLIAMS, & KEL O’HARA

CONFERENCE of CALIFORNIA BAR ASSOCIATIONS The BALIF delegation returned from CCBA with a significant win for LGBTQI+ Californians. More than twothirds of participating bar associations’ delegates voted to approve our resolution to strike section 647 from the penal code. This statute criminalizes loitering in a public restroom for the purpose in engaging in lewd, lascivious, and/or unlawful acts. Not only is this a thought crime, it discriminates against primarily LGBTQI+ individuals. Having been approved, CCBA will now work to secure a legislative sponsor to introduce the resolution as a bill in the 2020-2021 legislative cycle.

We are happy to report Governor Newsom signed into law SB 132, which will afford more dignity, respect, and safety for transgender individuals under incarceration. BALIF lobbied in favor of this bill during the 2020 CCBA Legislative Day and previously championed it as a resolution. Special thanks to Jennifer Orthwein, former BALIF board member and former CCBA Chair for their work on this. Our resolution to establish a Homeless Bill of Rights was disapproved once again, but we remain undeterred that we will eventually succeed. Special thanks to member Michael Wolchansky for his commitment to obtain approval of this resolution. To get involved, contact the CCBA committee at ccba@balif.org.


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DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION This year, BALIF institutionalized a governance structure and mandate for the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. The Committee has spearheaded and collaborated on several initiatives to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the LGBTQI community, in the broader legal profession, and in our society as a whole. The following is a sampling of BALIF’s work over the last six months: • Donated $1,800 to the Black Lives Matter Global Network, Flying Over Walls: Black and Pink, and the Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex (TGI) Justice Project • Presented a training for attorneys wishing to represent protesters in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement. Recording available here

• Called on the Governor to appoint an LGBTQI+ and/or person of color to replace retiring Justice Chin on the Supreme Court of California • Collaborated with the California Bar to implement improvements to survey data analysis and questions to adequately represent the overlooked diversity of intersectional identities and transgender attorneys in the annual Diversity Report • Hosted Social Justice Summer events to fundraise with and promote Black and Transcentered advocacy organizations (see Social Committee) • Increased the number of Board members representing the Black/African-American community

CHAIR: DANIEL H. GALINDO

To reach the DE&I Committee, email diversity@balif.org.

Second Annual QTPOC Brunch


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TOP: DRAG LEGEND JUANITA MORE PERFORMS at LAST YEAR’S GALA LEFT: GALA 2020 KEYNOTE SPEAKER ARIA SA’ID, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR at THE TRANSGENDER DISTRICT

GALA The Gala Committee has begun work on BALIF’s 41st Annual Gala which will take place on March 5, 2021. This year’s theme is Still Growing Strong. In recognition of the global pandemic, this year’s gala will be an entirely virtual event. We have reached out to this year’s awardees and have secured Honey Mahogany as our keynote speaker! This year’s awardees are: • Community Service Award: El/La Para Trans Latinas • Legal Service Award: The Impact Fund, Impact LGBTQ Project • Trailblazer Award: The Transgender District, San Francisco You can learn more about this year’s gala and sponsorship opportunities here or email gala@balif.org. Want to see more photos from galas past? Head to www.balif.org/photos.

CO-CHAIRS: KEL O’HARA & MARK FICKES


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A ZOOM SCREENSHOT FROM BALIF’S FIRST ANNUAL LAVENDER LAW GRADUATION

LAW STU ALLEN W


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LAW STUDENTS The Law Student Committee hosted a summer social event including a discussion with nonprofit, government, and BigLaw practicing attorneys about how law students could maximize their work experiences while in school followed by a trivia night! In collaboration with the Social Committee, BALIF also celebrated the Class of 2020 with the first annual Lavender Graduation featuring a virtual procession and guest speakers: San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, San Francisco Director of Police Accountability Paul Henderson, Alameda County Judges Tara Flanagan and Vicky Kolakowski. To learn more, get in touch with us at lawstudentrep@balif.org.

UDENT REPRESENTATIVES: WILLIAMS, CHRIS VU, & SERENA LAU

STAY CONNECTED with

BALIF

Learn about BALIF events! Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook:

Did you know? We also have a private Facebook group just for LGBTQI legal professionals & law students: https://www.facebook.com/groups/balif Are you on LinkedIn? So is BALIF!

Check out the BALIF group! Check out BALIF’s video content on YouTube!


12 || BALIF YEAR-END REVIEW 2020

MEMBERSHIP This year, BALIF has executed a membership structural shift, a project that has been several years in the making, to align all BALIF memberships with our fiscal year instead of on a rolling basis. Now, all memberships will expire on June 30th each year. In recognition of the current financial crisis caused by COVID-19, BALIF has also automatically extended all existing BALIF memberships through the end of our 20202021 fiscal year (June 30, 2021) and is also offering free 20202021 memberships to all new members who are currently in law

school, have recently graduated law school (Class of 2020), and/ or are currently unemployed. We will also soon be launching quarterly membership outreach campaigns designed to increase engagement among existing members, add new members to the BALIF community, and solicit feedback for how BALIF can better support its members in the midst of the current economic, health, and social crisis. You can reach the Membership Committee at: membership@balif.org.

CO-CHAIRS: CHRISTINE CAPUYAN & MICHAEL NGUYEN

NEW LAWYERS

CO-CHAIRS: CHRISTINE CAPUYAN & STEPHAN FERRIS

The New Lawyers Committee has rolled with the 2020 COVID punches and have re-formatted the annual BALIF Mentorship Program into a pod based system. This year, Mentors and Mentees have been placed into Houses comprising a variety of practice areas and interests. This new structure is more conducive to social distancing and allows for post-bar graduates and junior attorneys to also receive mentorship from senior and partner attorneys within their House. This year, over 100 mentors and mentees have been connected through our program.

In November, BALIF hosted its first virtual Mentorship Happy Hour, providing space for each House to meet in guided break-out sessions. Our committee will be sending out a follow-up survey to assess and tailor future events to meet the needs of each House, with a focus on providing programming for resume review, speed networking, and mock interviews. Stay tuned to the BALIF newsletter for more updates! You can learn more and reach the Committee at: newlawyers@balif.org.


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CO-CHAIRS: ARI JONES & RAFAEL LANGER-OSUNA

PROGRAMS The Programs Committee has continued to hold continuing legal education (CLE) programs. We held two additional trainings in partnership with TGI Justice Project to continue recruiting volunteers for their probono representation program. Over 130 people attended our two trainings! We have also planned two more CLE presentations for January and February. Both will focus on anti-discrimination employment protections for LGBTQI staff. Programs has also continued working on our video series on the history of BALIF. Look out for our forthcoming two-part series on the BALIF’s activism over the years. You can reach the committee at programs@balif.org.

SOCIAL The Social Committee planned several happy hours and hosted the Social Justice Summer series in July and August, raising awareness, support, and funds for social justice causes in the Bay Area. Our partner organizations support LGBQI people who are incarcerated (TGIJP, Flying Over Walls, and ABO Comix) as well as empower and uplift BIPOC transgender women (TAJA’S Coalition, St. James Infirmary, Lyon-Martin, and the Transgender Cultural District). We also celebrated the Class of 2020 with our first annual Lavender Graduation featuring a virtual procession and guest speakers: Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, Judge Victoria Kolakowski, Judge Tara Flanagan, and Director Paul Henderson. We also held our annual holiday party on December 10th, where we featured BALIF’s own drag performers Juicy Liu and Pop Roxxx! During our holiday craft hour, we also heard from the Imperial Council of San Francisco’s reigning Empress, Mimi Osa, and raised money for Tenderloin Tessie’s Holiday Dinners. To learn more, get in touch with us at social@balif.org. CO-CHAIRS: AMANDA HAMILTON & MICHAEL NGUYEN

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BALIF 2020 Year-End Review  

Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) is the nation's oldest LGBTQI Bar Association for legal professionals. Our 2020 Year-End Rev...

BALIF 2020 Year-End Review  

Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) is the nation's oldest LGBTQI Bar Association for legal professionals. Our 2020 Year-End Rev...

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