The Peggy Browning Fund 2020 Summer Newsletter
3 PBF Alumna Fights for Black Lives Protesters And PPE for Essential Workers 2011 PBF Alumna, Sonya Z. Mehta, is now a partner at a civil rights firm in Oakland, CA. Her Peggy Browning Summer Fellowship was with UNITE HERE Local 2 in San Francisco. Sonya credits her PBF Fellowship as having helped her to continue to work as an activist lawyer. Now, she and her firm continue to fight for justice and equality for all. Most recently, Sonya’s firm filed a lawsuit to protect the amazing protest actions and solidarity movement for Black lives in the streets of Oakland this past May and June. Over several days, the police indiscriminately tear gassed and shot projectiles into peaceful crowds. The lawsuit seeks to enjoin the Oakland Police Department and ‘mutual aid’ law enforcement from using these chemical weapons, ‘less-lethal’ bullets and projectiles, and other dangerous tactics against protestors. It also seeks damages for the many people injured by the police. They won a temporary restraining order limiting police use of these war ‘toys’ and now move forward towards a permanent injunction. Sonya’s firm has also been at the negotiating table for SEIU Local 87, the San Francisco janitors’ union, as they fight for personal protective equipment and other fair conditions in this age of COVID-19. She is making sure employers treat them like the ‘essential workers’ that they are. In addition to these historic fights, Sonya continues the legal work against employment discrimination, for whistleblowers, and against police brutality in their other cases. Black Lives Matter Protesters in Oakland, CA ©2020 Brooke Anderson Photographer “My thanks to PBF for their important work growing activist lawyers. I am honored to continue the struggle and share our story!” - Sonya Z. Mehta, PBF’11 . 2020 Conference Going Virtual: October 16 – 18 Facts About the Peggy Browning Fund * 1,137 Fellowships Awarded 1998 - 2020 92 Fellowships Awarded in 2020 (including 2020-2021 School-Year Fellowship) 157 Participating Law Schools 69 Mentor Organizations 3,027 Students attended PBF’s National Law Student’s Workers Rights Conferences 1999 – 2019 1,805 Students attended PBF’s Regional Workshops 2012 – 2019 70% Alumni working for workers’ rights or other public interest organizations (of PBF alumni who have graduated from law school) *As of press time We’ll miss the energy and excitement of gathering students at our annual National Law Students Workers’ Rights Conference this year, but the pandemic won’t stop us from hosting a virtual event. We’re hoping this will enable even more students than usual to attend, and we’re busy planning for ways to make it as impactful as ever. In addition to substantive workshops, we’re planning a number of small networking sessions, so students will still be able to connect with other students and labor law professionals in a more personal way. In the meantime, we’ll remember the energy and enthusiasm of last year’s conference, as seen in this photo from the closing session.
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