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Roots of Racism: Part 1, Our Black Communities

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May 27, 2021 @ 6:00 pm 7:30 pm

Presented by the CLA Racial Justice Committee. Free event! No MCLE.

Systemic racism — sometimes called institutional or structural racism — can be defined as a form of racism woven into society through laws and institutions that treat people differently based on race, contributing to perpetual inequalities in power, wealth, education, medical care, housing, dignity, and opportunity. These inequalities endure, even after the laws have changed and often without conscious animus. In a multi-part series, we examine the historic causes and continuing effects of systemic racism from the perspective of our Black, Latinx, Asian, and Native American communities, followed by a final program discussing potential responses. It is our hope that by understanding the past, we can better evaluate the present, and more wisely build toward a future of racial justice.

In this Part 1 of our series, we consider the watershed laws and events underlying systemic racism for our Black communities, the impact of systemic racism on those communities today, and the personal experiences and revelations of our speakers. Topics include:

  • Slavery and the Beginning of Racial Narratives
  • The Homestead Act, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow Laws
  • Voting, Education, Property Rights, and Testimony in California
  • Post World War II and Resistance to the Civil Rights Movement
  • Reverberations in 2021


Moderator: Terrance Evans


  • Dr. Shirley N. Weber, California Secretary of State
  • Professor Shauna Marshall, UC Hastings
  • Dawn Schock, International Rule of Law Development Consultant; Certified Appellate Specialist; Past-president, California Women Lawyers.

This program is proudly co-sponsored by:

  • California Association of Black Lawyers
  • California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
  • Charles Houston Bar Association
  • CLA Litigation Section
  • Duane Morris LLP
  • National Bar Association, Region 9
  • Polsinelli
  • Queens Bench Bar Association
  • Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
  • Women Lawyers of Alameda County
This program is proudly co-sponsored by Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles.

This program is proudly co-sponsored by the Litigation Section.
This program is proudly co-sponsored by California Attorneys for Criminal Justice.
This program is proudly co-sponsored by Queens Bench Bar Association.
This program is proudly co-sponsored by Women Lawyers of Alameda County.

Meet the Speakers:

 Dr. Shirley N. Weber

California Secretary of State, Dr. Shirley N. Weber

Shirley Nash Weber, Ph.D. was nominated to serve as California Secretary of State by Governor Gavin Newsom on December 22, 2020 and sworn into office on January 29, 2021. She is California’s first Black Secretary of State and only the fifth African American to serve as a state constitutional officer in California’s 170-year history.

Weber was born to sharecroppers in Hope, Arkansas during the segregationist Jim Crow era. Her father, who left Arkansas after being threatened by a lynch mob, did not have the opportunity to vote until he was in his 30s. Her grandfather never voted as custom and law in the South, before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, systemically suppressed voting by Blacks. Although her family moved to California when Weber was three years old, it was her family’s experience in the Jim Crow South that has driven her activism and legislative work. She has fought to secure and expand civil rights for all Californians, including restoring voting rights for individuals who have completed their prison term.

Weber attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she received her BA, MA and PhD by the age of 26. Prior to receiving her doctorate, she became a professor at San Diego State University (SDSU) at the age of 23. She also taught at California State University at Los Angeles (CSULA) and Los Angeles City College before coming to SDSU. She retired from the Department of Africana Studies after 40 years as a faculty member and serving several terms as department chair.

Before her appointment, Secretary Weber served four terms as an Assembly Member representing California’s 79th Assembly District, which includes parts of the City of San Diego as well as several cities and communities in the San Diego region.  Weber also served as a member and chair of the San Diego Unified School District and has twice served as a California Elector, including chairing the California College of Presidential Electors on December 14, 2020.

During her tenure in the Assembly, Weber chaired the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee, Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Public Safety, and Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health. Weber was the first African American to serve as the chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. She also served as a member of the Standing Committees on Education, Higher Education, Elections, Budget, Banking and Finance.

In addition, Weber chaired the Select Committee on Campus Climate, which was created to examine and mitigate hate crimes on California‚Äôs college and university campuses. The committee also explored student hunger, sexual assaults, homelessness, and freedom of expression. She formerly created and chaired the Select Committee on Higher Education in San Diego County, which explored the need for an additional higher education facility in San Diego and ways to improve the quality, affordability and equal access of higher education in the region.  

From 2019 Р2020, she served as chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC), which consists of the state’s African American legislators and has the goal of promoting equal opportunity for California’s African American community. Weber broke records during her tenure by garnering extraordinary support for CLBC’s efforts and its projects.

Weber’s genuine passion and tireless quest for equality and fairness in all sectors of life have resulted in her pursuit of reforms in education and criminal justice. Her equity-oriented legislation includes: school finance and accountability, classroom safety, ethnic studies, early learners, attendance and dropout rates, quality instruction, law enforcements’ use-of-force and body camera practices, reparations, the CalGangs’ database, Affirmative Action, inclusive jury selection and instruction, predatory lending, resources for exonerees, restorative justice, racial profiling, among others. Weber has also pursued public policy changes related to health, senior citizens, veterans and military families.

Prof. Shauna Marshall, UC Hastings

Shauna Marshall

Shauna Marshall joined the Hastings faculty in 1994 as a Clinical Law Professor. Prior to joining the faculty, she spent 15 years working on behalf of the public interest. She began her career as a trial attorney for the US Department of Justice, Antitrust Division. Five years later, she joined Equal Rights Advocates as a staff attorney working on impact cases, policy initiatives and mobilizing campaigns on behalf of low income women and women of color. She then spent four years in the Stanford and East Palo Alto community, lecturing in the areas of civil rights and community law practice at Stanford Law School and directing the East Palo Alto Community Law Project. She served as Hastings Associate Academic Dean from 2000 ‚Äď 2002 and Academic Dean from 2005 ‚Äď 2013. She stepped down as Academic Dean in 2013 and joined the emeritus faculty in 2014. Professor Marshall writes in the area of community law practice and social justice. Professor Marshall‚Äôs greatest joy is mentoring future social justice advocates. In her new semi-retired role, she is able to meet former students for lunch, a drink or a cup of coffee and learn about the amazing work they do with their UC Hastings degree.

During her free time, Professor Marshall likes to travel with her family, read novels, take Zumba classes and spend weekends at her home in Clayton, California‚Äč.

Dawn Schock, International Rule of Law Development Consultant; Certified Appellate Specialist; Past-president, California Women Lawyers

Dawn Schock has over 30 years‚Äô experience as a California attorney and has been certified as a specialist in appellate law and procedure by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization since 1999. A past-president of California Women Lawyers, Ms. Schock has served on the boards of governors of four local, state, and national bar associations. She taught as an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School for six years. Since 2008, Ms. Schock has combined her law practice with work as a consultant to international rule of law development projects in Eastern Europe, the republics of the former Soviet Union and the Middle East and North Africa region. She has trained mediators and lawyers in Kosovo and Armenia, worked with law schools in Jordan to establish clinical skills classes, and supported women‚Äôs empowerment programs in Tunisia, Qatar, Turkey, Morocco and elsewhere. Most recently she developed and has been teaching a professional skills seminar to women law students in Saudi Arabia. Last year, she began studying themes of women‚Äôs empowerment in the context of decolonization as a visiting researcher at the University of California, Irvine‚Äôs Center for the Study of Democracy. She is the author of ‚ÄúThis Land. Your Land. My Land,‚ÄĚ which compares her family‚Äôs treatment as White immigrants in the late 1800‚Äôs, with the treatment of Native Americans and freed Black Americans.


Terrance J. Evans

Terrance J. Evans is a Partner in the San Francisco and Los Angeles offices of Duane Morris LLP, where he serves as the Co-Leader of the firm‚Äôs Banking and Financial Services Practice.  Terrance is also the Co-Chair of the Duane Morris San Francisco Diversity and Inclusion Committee. His practice is focused on representing the financial services industry, municipalities, and victims of elder abuse and domestic violence in federal and state trial and appellate courts across the United States including the United States Supreme Court.  He has both recovered and saved clients tens of millions of dollars.  

Additionally, Terrance is the Chair of the Litigation Section of the California Lawyers Association; Vice President of the Charles Houston Bar Association; Co-Chair of the American Bar Association ICLC Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Member of the Bar Association of San Francisco Judicial & Finance Committees; Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the CLA Racial Justice Committee; Deputy Director of Region 9 of the National Bar Association, and an Advisory Board Member of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) where he provides leadership on diversity and inclusion issues throughout the United States.

In 2016, Terrance was honored by the National Bar Association as one of the top African American attorneys in the USA under age 40.  In 2017, he was honored by the Charles Houston Bar Association for his work promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.  In 2018, Terrance was honored by the Minority Bar Coalition for his contributions to promoting diversity and inclusion throughout California.  In 2019, Terrance was honored by New Dawn Vallejo for his work promoting diversity and inclusion and pro bono legal services.  In 2020, Terrance was recognized by Chambers for his efforts to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the United States.

We are committed to accessibility! Virtual events are equipped with closed captioning. To request an in-person accommodation, send us a note at or contact us at 916-516-1760 for assistance.


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