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Iscol lecturer takes on Trump immigration policies

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Rebecca Heller speaking

Rebecca Heller speaking

By Stephen D'Angelo for the Cornell Chronicle

Rebecca Heller, co-founder and director of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), urges advocating for the rights of refugees against the waves of right-wing populist xenophobia sweeping through the U.S. and Europe. She was on campus Oct. 18 to deliver the College of Human Ecology’s Iscol Family Program for Leadership Development in Public Service Lecture.

Heller said her interest in the legal challenges facing refugees began on a trip to Jordan the summer after her first year in law school when met with six refugee families from Iraq. Each of the families independently identified their primary problem as a legal one, due to both the United Nation’s and U.S.’s complex bureaucratic asylum process.

In 2008, while still in law school, she founded IRAP with several peers with a mission to organize law students and lawyers to develop and enforce a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons.

“When [President] Trump was elected, we realized that the fundamental nature of our work was about to really significantly shift, where we were going to go from arguing that the refugee process should be improved and working with the government to find technical ways to make things more efficient, to defending the very existence of a refugee system or admissions at all,” Heller said.

After launching IRAP chapters at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Columbia, Stanford and New York University law schools, Heller began to think how best to mobilize and deploy her “army of a couple thousand lawyers” who wanted to fight for the rights of refugees.

The Monday after the president’s inauguration, a version of the travel ban was leaked to Heller. She fired off messages to her vast network of law students and pro bono lawyers, urging them to call their clients who had travel documents and say, “Get on a plane, right now. The doors to the U.S. are closing.”

Shortly after, Heller had the realization that whenever the travel ban order was signed, there would be thousands of people in the sky who had legal permission to enter the U.S. when they took off but would land as undocumented aliens – and no one knew what would happen to them.

“The travel ban was signed at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 7. We had clients coming in that day, and we had lawyers waiting for them,” she said. After a client was detained upon landing, Heller worked with other organizations to file a civil action against the state agent who holds the defendant in custody.

“We stayed up all night and we drafted a nationwide class-action habeas petition … and we filed it at 5:30 in the morning because wanted to make sure it was on file with the court before any international flights could depart so that no one could be deported. We got a hearing for that night in Brooklyn at 7:30 p.m. … at 8:30 p.m. we won, and they released 2,100 people from airports all over the country.”

Rebecca Heller speaking with lecture attendees

Rebecca Heller speaking with lecture attendees

Heller and IRAP have taken legal action against all three travel bans. Their most recent filing, “International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump,” was won by IRAP. The 91-page decision was issued in the early hours of Oct. 18.

Heller, who lost family in the Holocaust, thinks often about the ship The St. Louis, which carried Jewish refugees from Europe to the United States. The ship traveled from U.S. port to U.S. port but was not allowed to dock. It eventually had to return to Europe.

“They’ve actually traced the fate of a lot of people from The St. Louis, and most of them ended up dying in concentration camps. … and I think – what if every single port The St. Louis docked at, there were 5,000 Americans standing there chanting, ‘Let them in.’ Maybe history would have been a little bit different.”

Quoting Dr. Seuss, Heller told the audience in conclusion: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.”

Iscol lecturer takes on Trump immigration policies - Cornell Chronicle

 

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2017 Iscol Lecture: Rebecca Heller, Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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Echoing Green 2010 Finalist

Get on a Plane! Fighting for Refugees in the Age of Trump
Rebecca Heller, International Refugee Assistance Project

Wednesday, October 18, 2017
7:30 PM
Call Auditorium, Kennedy Hall



Becca Heller, co-founder and director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, will discuss how advocates can fight for the rights of refugees against the waves of right-wing populist xenophobia sweeping through the U.S. and Europe.

  • What obstacles do Syrian and other refugees face in attempting to seek safe passage?
  • How has the politicization of refugees conflated mass migration with terrorist infiltration?
  • And how are a group of lawyers and law students fighting back?

Rebecca M. Heller is a Visiting Clinical Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School. She graduated from Yale Law School in 2010 and received her B.A. from Dartmouth College. She founded and directs the International Refugee Assistance Project (formerly the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project) at Yale Law School, an organization that assists refugees in applying for resettlement from abroad and adjusting to life in the United States.

 

Kennedy Hall is at 215 Garden Ave, Ithaca, NY. Call Auditorium is on the first floor.
Parking is available in the garage at 165 Hoy Road.
Admission is free and open to the public.

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Iscol lecturer: U.S. justice has always oppressed minorities

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By Shashank Vura for the Cornell Chronicle

glenn e martin

Glenn E. Martin

When Glenn E. Martin went to the White House last year along with 40 other experts in the field of criminal justice, his colleagues were all accorded green passes. Martin, a former prison inmate, was given a pink pass reading “needs escort.”

Despite the 21 years that had elapsed since his conviction, Martin said he was held back at one point by a Secret Service agent and prevented from going further.

“This moment speaks to barriers Americans face with turning their lives around,” he said, lamenting the “lack of second chances” in U.S. society. “Every sentence, even one day in jail, is a life sentence,” Martin said, noting the “stigma stays with you forever.”

Martin, founder and president of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), an organization dedicated to cutting the U.S. correctional population in half by 2030. JLUSA empowers people affected by incarceration to drive policy reform. Martin is a national leader and criminal justice reform advocate who spent six years in New York state prisons. He shared his experiences in the Iscol Family Program for Leadership Development in Public Service Lecture, “Mass Incarceration: An Experience Shared by 65 Million Americans,” Sept. 27 on campus. The lecture is hosted annually by the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research in the College of Human Ecology.

“Is mass incarceration an insurmountable problem?” Martin asked the audience. The U.S. has “five percent of the world’s population,” he said, but accounts for “25 percent of the world’s prison population.” More than 2 million Americans languish in prison, Martin said, and 40 percent of the prison population is composed of black people, who make up 14 percent of the U.S. population. Martin attributed this to a “justice system [which] is only the newest iteration of a system of oppression that has existed for hundreds of years” against racial minorities.

He shared the story of one of his current employees, Richard Simpson Bay. After a conviction for attempted murder of a police offer, the illiterate Bay appealed cases for 24 years before a federal court found him not guilty and that the “prosecutor broke rules” and “conjured up his own idea of what happened that night.” During his incarceration, Bay’s 19-year-old son was gunned down by a 14-year-old boy.

Bay became an advocate for his son’s murderer, making that case that he, too, was a “victim, not an offender.” The prosecutor capitulated and the culprit avoided adult prison. Martin said Bay showed “great compassion” and suggested society does not invest the resources necessary to help “high-crime, high incarceration communities high in victimization,” but punishes them instead.

“Everyone has chance to turn around and change their lives, but only if those in position of privilege create a space for that to happen and are willing to invest in people,” Martin said. Only then can we “get rid of a classist, homophobic, racist and xenophobic [criminal justice] system.”

Iscol lecturer: U.S. justice has always oppressed minorities - Cornell Chronicle

 

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2016 Iscol Lecture: Glenn Martin, Tuesday, September 27, 2016

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glennmartin

Mass Incarceration: An Experience Shared by 65 Million Americans
Glenn Martin, JustLeadershipUSA

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
7:30pm
G10 Biotech Building



 

Is mass incarceration an "insurmountable problem"?  Glenn E. Martin, the founder and president of JustLeadershipUSA, will address this question in the 2016 Iscol Lecture. Mr. Martin is at the forefront of the effort to bring the voices of those directly impacted by mass incarceration into the criminal justice reform conversation. Hear about his goals to cut the U.S. correctional population in half by 2030, his organization's campaign to close Rikers Island Correctional Center, and how you can work on criminal justice reform next summer.

Glenn E. Martin is the founder of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), an organization dedicated to cutting the US correctional population in half by 2030. JLUSA empowers people most affected by incarceration to drive policy reform. Glenn is a national leader and criminal justice reform advocate who spent six years in NYS prisons. Prior to founding JLUSA, Glenn served for seven years as VP of Public Affairs at The Fortune Society, and six years as Co-Director of the National HIRE Network at the Legal Action Center. Glenn is co-founder of the Education from the Inside Out Coalition, a 2014 Echoing Green Fellow, a 2012 America’s Leaders of Change National Urban Fellow, and a member of the governing boards of the College and Community Fellowship, Million Hoodies, and the California Partnership for Safe Communities. Glenn also serves on Governor Cuomo’s Reentry and Reintegration Council, the advisory board of the Vera Institute’s Public Health and Mass Incarceration Initiative, the National Network for Safe Communities, the Executive Session on Community Corrections at Harvard University, and the Global Advisory Council (GAC) of Cornerstone Capital Group.

Glenn was named on the 2015 Root 100 list of most influential African Americans. In 2015, Glenn wrote an open letter to President Obama, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal, after a visit as an invited guest to the White House when he was separated from his colleagues and given a special escort due to his criminal conviction. Glenn was later invited back to speak on a panel at the White House, getting the chance to meet with President Obama at an event focused on criminal justice reform. In 2016, Glenn was appointed to the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal  Justice and Incarceration Reform; at the invitation of New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman to look at the possibility of closing Rikers Island. Glenn regularly contributes his expertise to national news outlets such as MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, Al Jazeera, and CSPAN.

 

This talk is free and open to all.

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View videos from fall BCTR talks

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Videos from our fall events are now online, in case you missed them or want to revisit the events. Videos are embedded below (when possible) and all are permanently archived in our media library.

 

2015 Iscol Lecture:
Workforce of the Future

October 7, 2015
Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO, Girls Who Code

 

 

2015 Bronfenbrenner Lecture:
The Obama Evidence-Based Revolution: Will It Last?

September 16, 2015
Ron Haskins, Center on Children and Families; Budgeting for National Priorities; Economic Studies, Brookings Institution

 

View video

 

Talk at Twelve:
Helping Parents Help Their Teens: Lessons Learned about Parent Stress and Support from Research on Self-injury and Families

November 12, 2015
Janis Whitlock, BCTR, Cornell University

 

 

Talk at Twelve:
Trauma-informed Hospice and Palliative Care: Unique Vulnerabilities Call for Unique Strategies

September 10, 2015
Barbara Ganzel, BCTR, Cornell University

 

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2015 Iscol Lecture

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Workforce of the Future
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Reshma Saujani
Founder and CEO, Girls Who Code

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Girls Who Code CEO to deliver 2015 Iscol Lecture

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Reshma SaujaniReshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and prepare young women for jobs of the future, will deliver the 2015 Iscol Lecture on October 7. In her groundbreaking new book, Women Who Don't Wait in Line, Reshma advocates for a new model of female leadership focused on embracing risk and failure, promoting mentorship and sponsorship, and boldly charting one's own course — personally and professionally.

After years of working as an attorney and supporting the Democratic party as an activist and fundraiser, Reshma left her private sector career behind and surged onto the political scene as the first Indian American woman in the country to run for U.S. Congress.

Following the highly publicized race, Reshma stayed true to her passion for public service, becoming Deputy Public Advocate of New York City and, most recently, running a spirited campaign for Public Advocate on a platform of creating educational and economic opportunities for women and girls, immigrants, and those who have been sidelined in the political process.

A true political entrepreneur, Reshma has been fearless in her efforts to disrupt both politics and technology to create positive change.

Reshma is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Yale Law School. She was recently named a WSJ Magazine Innovator of the Year, one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in New York by the New York Daily News, CNBC's Next List, Forbes's Most Powerful Women Changing the World, Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People, Crain’s New York 40 Under 40, Ad Age's Creativity 50, Business Insider's 50 Women Who Are Changing the World, City & State's Rising Stars, and an AOL/PBS Next MAKER.

news-2015iscol-inpost2Girls Who Code programs work to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. In 1984, 37% of all computer science graduates were women, but today that number is just 18%. Twenty percent of AP computer science test-takers are female, and 0.4% of high school girls express interest in majoring in computer science, expressing a puzzling disconnect .  Girls Who Code believes to close the gender gap in technology, we have to inspire girls to pursue computer science by exposing them to real-life and on-screen role models. The organization engage engineers, developers, executives, and entrepreneurs to teach and motivate the next generation.

Their unique pairing of high quality instruction in programming fundamentals, web development and design, mobile development, and robotics with exposure to technology companies is unmatched by any other program. Their vision is to reach gender parity in computing fields, believing this to be essential to the economic prosperity of women, families, and communities across the globe. Girls Who Code aims to provide computer science education and exposure to 1 million young women by 2020.

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2015 Iscol Lecture: Reshma Saujani, Wednesday, October 7, 2015

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Reshma Saujani

Workforce of the Future
Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO, Girls Who Code

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
7:30pm
Alice Statler Auditorium



This talk is free and open to all.

We must bring young women, parents, policymakers, educators, NGOs, and tech companies to the table to finally close the gender gap in technology. If we inspire our girls with passion rather than fear of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), equip them with the skills to pursue computer science degrees, and build a sisterhood of mentors and sponsors to retain female engineers in the workforce, I have no doubt we will achieve parity in my lifetime.

- Reshma Saujani

Reshma Saujani is the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and prepare young women for jobs of the future. In her groundbreaking new book, Women Who Don't Wait in Line, Reshma advocates for a new model of female leadership focused on embracing risk and failure, promoting mentorship and sponsorship, and boldly charting one's own course — personally and professionally.

After years of working as an attorney and supporting the Democratic party as an activist and fundraiser, Reshma left her private sector career behind and surged onto the political scene as the first Indian American woman in the country to run for U.S. Congress. Following the highly publicized race, Reshma stayed true to her passion for public service, becoming Deputy Public Advocate of New York City and most recently running a spirited campaign for Public Advocate on a platform of creating educational and economic opportunities for women and girls, immigrants, and those who have been sidelined in the political process.

A true political entrepreneur, Reshma has been fearless in her efforts to disrupt both politics and technology to create positive change.

Reshma is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Yale Law School. She was recently named a WSJ Magazine Innovator of the Year, one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in New York by the New York Daily News, CNBC's Next List, Forbes's Most Powerful Women Changing the World, Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People, Crain’s New York 40 Under 40, Ad Age's Creativity 50, Business Insider's 50 Women Who Are Changing the World, City & State's Rising Stars, and an AOL/PBS Next MAKER.

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Center fall event videos now online

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Three videos from our major fall events are now online in case you missed them, or want to revisit the events. All are permanently archived in our media library and direct links to the videos can be found below.

 

Iscol Family Program for Leadership Development in Public Service (IFPLDPS) Lecture [BCTR]2014 Iscol Lecture: WAKAMI: A Value Chain that Connects and Transforms People and the Earth
Monday, October 6, 2014

Maria Pacheco, Founder and CEO, Wakami

 

 

 

Bronfenbrenner Lecture [BCTR]2014 Bronfenbrenner Lecture: "Making Human Beings Human:” Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Vision for Understanding and Enhancing Positive Human Development
September 23, 2014

Richard M. Lerner, Applied Developmental Science; Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University

 

 

2014_0824_041.jpgThe Legacy of Urie Bronfenbrenner
September 18, 2014

Welcome by John Eckenrode, director, BCTR
Panelists:
Stephen Ceci, Helen L. Carr Professor of Developmental Psychology
Gary Evans, Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor of Human Ecology
Robert Sternberg, Professor of Human Development
Elaine Wethington, Professor of Human Development; associate director, BCTR
Moderated by Stephen Hamilton, Professor of Human Development; associate director, BCTR

 

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2014 Iscol Lecture

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WAKAMI: A Value Chain that Connects and Transforms People and the Earth
Monday, October 6, 2014

Maria Pacheco
Founder and CEO, Wakami

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