April 25, 2019
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Rebrands, Raises $500K

October 22, 2018 — The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, a Boston-based nonprofit that fights discrimination on behalf of people of color and immigrants through legal action, education, and advocacy, recently announced that, in connection with its fiftieth anniversary, which raised $500,000, it changed its name to Lawyers for Civil Rights.

Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) noted that "just as discrimination changes over time, so too must our organization. Our approach must evolve if we are to remain at the forefront of the civil rights movement."

The rebranding effort, which involved dozens of stakeholders, was unveiled at a fiftieth anniversary celebration event, last week at the Moakley Courthouse in Boston, that attracted 550 attendees.

The funds will support LCR's ongoing work.

Honored at the celebration were Anita Hill, university professor of social policy, law, and women's studies at Brandeis University, and LCR founders Frank Michelman of Harvard Law School, Judge Frederick Brown (Ret.), Goodwin LLP, WilmerHale, Choate Hall & Stewart, Foley Hoag, and the Boston Bar Association.

Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of LCR, "Our impact and visibility has grown significantly in recent years. To harness this momentum, and in anticipation of our fiftieth anniversary celebration we undertook a comprehensive strategic planning, branding, and messaging process focused on strengthening our identity, more effectively articulating what we do, and better engaging our constituents.

"Dozens of stakeholders contributed to this effort, helping to shape a more striking and memorable vision of who we are and what we are achieving. As a result of this process, we modernized and streamlined our name to Lawyers for Civil Rights."

The rebranding effort began a year ago.

LCR was founded as Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of the Boston Bar Association in 1968 in the midst of riots in Northern cities, the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and the findings of the Kerner Commission report, which concluded that the nation was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal."

The Committee became the first of eight local affiliates of the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

In 1973, the Committee became the first pro bono project of the Boston Bar Association. It is the only Lawyers’ Committee in the nation affiliated with a major bar association, although it is a 501(c)(3) organization.

The Committee, among other cases, played a major role included filing suit in federal court in 1974which led to desegregation of Boston Public Schools, filing a Federal class action lawsuit in 1988 against the Boston Housing Authority for maintaining racially segregated public housing, and the filing of an intervention in 2015 to support Harvard University’s use of race-conscious admissions in a Title VI challenge to this practice, a case which went to trial last week and now underway in Boston.

Last year, the Committee filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Chelsea and Lawrence, challenging the constitutionality of President Trump’s Executive Order targeting sanctuary cities. The suit seeks to preserve federal funding and to protect local control over law enforcement priorities.

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