Coalition on Racial & Ethnic Justice

The ABA Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice (COREJ) examines issues stemming from the intersection of race and ethnicity with the legal system. COREJ partners with both ABA and non-ABA entities to develop policies, programming, and other initiatives to address these issues. We consider ourselves the conscience of the ABA when social justice issues disproportionately affect people of color who are too often the most voiceless and vulnerable among us. 

Joint Sponsorship

The ABA Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice and the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2021 with this month-long webinar series.

Police in Schools: Racial Justice and True Student Safety?

June 22 | Webinar

The question of whether police belong in schools has been a long-debated topic in the United States. With the increased focus on policing generally, the debate has grown more intense. Proponents argue that police can more effectively address student-to-student conflict, such as bullying, and increase overall safety in an age of recurring school shootings. Those who oppose argue that police in schools contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline and result in disparities based on race and/or disability in discipline and arrests, as well as a climate of fear for students of color. Speakers on this program will present the data, discuss the impact of police in schools and examine this issue critically to confront the question of whether police in schools result in enhanced student safety.

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Intersection of Identities: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and the Asian American and Pacific Islander Experience

May 24, 2021 | Webinar

Being LGBTQ+ and Asian American and Pacific Islander has its own unique challenges. While there are an estimated 324,600 LGBTQ+ Asian American and Pacific Islander adults in the United States, it can be difficult for many to find other similarly situated individuals, especially in the legal community. Our panel of legal experts, justices, academics, and activists will examine this unique intersection of identities and offer their personal perspectives and journeys on issues such as: the historical contexts of attitudes toward AAPI LGBTQ+ individuals; the role of specific AAPI cultural values, norms or traditions in the development and expression of AAPI LGBTQ+ individuals identity; and the unique risks faced by AAPI LGBTQ+ individuals through the lens of multiple minority stress or stigma.

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Dignity Rights in Asia: Humanitarian Toll of Economic Sanctions

May 25, 2021 | Webinar

Dignity Rights emphasizes the foundational role of human dignity in actualizing a robust and just rule of law. A panel of legal experts, academics, and activists address the nexus of international human rights, social justice, and economic sanctions. In the past decade, companies in the Asia Pacific region have faced higher risk of primary and secondary sanctions. This shift has occurred due to the companies’ foray into Western markets, where primary sanctions jurisdiction is most likely to exist, and the disbalanced efforts by Western governments to investigate and prosecute activities alleged to threaten their security or foreign policy objectives. Compliance with foreign sanctions is often the only commercially reasonable choice for companies that desire continued access to Western markets. This panel will discuss the humanitarian impact of sanctions in the context of Iran, Yemen, and Palestine. Economic sanctions increase the poverty gap and fail to often achieve their aims. The damaging impact of sanctions on income inequality affects everyday people more than the leaders of sanctioned nations.

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Reversing the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Report & Recommendations

In 2014, COREJ turned its attention to the continuing failures in the education system where certain groups of students—for example, students of color (African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American) with disabilities, or LGBTQ— are disproportionately over-or incorrectly categorized in special education, are disciplined more harshly, including referral to law enforcement for minimal misbehavior, achieve at lower levels, and eventually drop or are pushed out of school, often into juvenile justice facilities and prisons—a pattern now commonly referred to as the School-to-Prison Pipeline. See what the ABA is doing to dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline...

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Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Webinar Series

In this engaging series, we will dive into the experiences of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities along with the social, political, and economic issues they have and continue to face. We will address topics including systemic discrimination, stereotypes, constitutional rights, identity and intersectionality, and more. The webinar series will culminate with an impactful teach-in, a call for action for the ABA community to stop hate and violence against Asian Americans. This month, we answer this call and bring action to our activism.

About - The Series

Past Events

Belly of the Beast

A virtual viewing and discussion of: BELLY OF THE BEAST. When an unlikely duo discovers a pattern of illegal sterilizations in women’s prisons, they wage a near impossible battle against the Department of Corrections. Filmed over seven years with extraordinary access and intimate accounts from currently and formerly incarcerated people, BELLY OF THE BEAST exposes modern-day eugenics and reproductive injustice in California prisons.

View Panel - HERE

History & the Law: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Context | May 7

The rise in violence against the AAPI community, largely ignited by racist and xenophobic rhetoric amid COVID-19 and punctuated by the Atlanta massacre, has placed the issue of anti-Asian violence at the forefront. But the issue of anti-Asian hate is not new. Since the first Asian immigrants arrived on American shores in the late eighteenth century, Asians in America have contributed to the fabric of America, while also surviving repeated oppositions to citizenship and legalized violence. This program explores the history of Asian progress in America, including the creation of “Asian” as a racial construct, the history of scapegoating Asian communities, and the legal approaches used to justify exclusion and violence.

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Make a Gift

Your gift to the Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice provides resources to educate lawyers, judges, bar associations and our communities. We design substantive programs focused on social justice issues and eliminating racial/ethnic bias in the justice system.

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About the Coalition

In 1992 a Presidential Task Force on Minorities in the Justice system was created in the aftermath of the Rodney King disturbances. Shortly thereafter, a report was issued with recommendations by the Task Force.

2020-2021 Members

The Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice

The Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice, American Bar Association 321 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60654 312-988-5736 Email: Website: