The African American Policy Forum Fellows are scholars, activists, and professionals who support the mission of the organization. Over the years, these individuals have participated in AAPF workshops, seminars and conferences, where they have discussed topics ranging from affirmative action to structural racism, collaborated on research and writing projects, and brainstormed solutions to problems faced by communities who suffer from intersecting forms of discrimination based on race, gender and/or class. Furthermore, these fellows have served AAPF in an advisory capacity, helping to develop key projects and initiatives from idea conception to project implementation. The Policy Forum’s efforts and accomplishments have truly been bolstered by their involvement with the organization.
Chandra Bhatnagar is a Staff Attorney with the Human Rights Program (HRP), where he leads HRP’s domestic and international advocacy around Hurricane Katrina, affirmative action, and juvenile justice issues, and is engaged in federal court litigation and litigation in international tribunals involving the rights of low-wage immigrant workers, undocumented workers, and guest-workers. Prior to joining the ACLU, Bhatnagar was a Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, where he directed the South Asian Workers’ Project for Human Rights, a community-based project providing legal services to low-wage workers from South Asia.
Bhatnagar has also worked internationally, partnering with a leading NGO in India in applying human rights standards to their anti-child labor/bonded labor campaigns, and domestically with the Center for Constitutional Rights, where he did immigrants’ rights and anti-police brutality organizing, and served as the interim director of the Ella Baker Summer Intern Program. He received a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and an LL.M. in international human rights from Columbia Law School.
Pauline E. Brooks, Ph.D. is an independent evaluator/researcher with particular interest in cross-cultural issues (bridging cultures) and the elimination of inequities, including racism. Dr. Brooks is former manager of evaluation for a large California-based health foundation, university professor, and independent evaluator for family foundations. She has participated on numerous evaluation teams working with and within African American, Latino and Asian American communities, and internationally in Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Burkina Faso and Surinam. Her initial evaluation training was at UCLA’s Center for the Study of Evaluation where she later worked as an evaluation project director. Dr. Brooks presents on issues of evaluation, culture, equity and racism at national and international conferences.
Professor Paul Butler teaches law at George Washington University Law School. He received his B.A. from Yale University, graduating cum laude; and his J.D. from Harvard Law School, also graduating cum laude. Professor Butler teaches in the areas of criminal law, race relations law, and jurisprudence. His scholarship has been published in many leading scholarly journals, including the Yale Law Journal, the Harvard Law Review, the Stanford Law Review and the UCLA Law Review. His work has been profiled on 60 Minutes, Nightline, and the ABC, CBS and NBC Evening News, among other places. He lectures regularly for the American Bar Association and the NAACP, and at colleges, law schools, and community organizations throughout the United States. Prof. Butler served as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, where his specialty was public corruption. Prof. Butler was awarded the Soros Justice Fellowship for 2006-7. He will write a book about the future of criminal justice.
Professor Devon Carbado serves as the Vice Dean of the Faculty and teaches law at UCLA School of Law. Professor Carbado writes in the areas of critical race theory, employment discrimination, criminal procedure, constitutional law, and identity. He is a former director of the Critical Race Studies Program at UCLA Law. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1994. At Harvard, he was the Editor-in-Chief of The Harvard Black Letter Law Journal, a member of the Board of Student Advisors, and winner of the Northeast Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition.
Professor Sumi Cho is a Professor of Law at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago. She employs a critical race feminist approach to her work on affirmative action, sexual harassment, legal history, and civil rights. She was the principal investigator for a Civil Liberties Public Education Fund grant on the first coordinated legal research on Japanese American interment, redress, and reparations. The AALS Minority Groups section honored her with the first Junior Faculty Award. Prof. Cho has served as a visiting professor at the University of Michigan and University of Iowa law schools. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for LatCrit. Professor Cho holds a J.D. and a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley.
Laura Flanders is the host of GRITtv as well, as “RadioNation” heard on Air America Radio and the author most recently of Blue Grit: Making Impossible, Improbable and Inspirational Change in America (Penguin Books, 2008). Flanders was the founding director of the Women’s Desk at the media watch group, FAIR and the founding host of Your Call, heard on KALW in San Francisco. She’s a frequent contributor to the Nation magazine and regular panelist on CNN. Her 2004 book, BUSHWOMEN; Tales of a Cynical Species was a New York Times best-seller.
Professor Cheryl I. Harris teaches Constitutional Law, Civil Rights, Employment Discrimination and Critical Race Theory at UCLA School of Law. As the National Co-Chair for the National Conference of Black Lawyers for several years, she developed expertise in international human rights, particularly concerning South Africa. Professor Harris was a key organizer of several major conferences both in South Africa and in the United States that helped establish a dialogue between U.S. legal scholars and South African lawyers during the development of South Africa’s first democratic constitution in 1994.
She is the author of leading works in Critical Race Theory including the highly influential Whiteness as Property (Harv. L. Rev.). Her work has also taken up the relationship among race, gender and property and most recently has focused on race, equality and the Constitution through the re-examination of Plessy v. Ferguson and Grutter v. Bollinger.
George Lipsitz is Professor of Black Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of eight books including THE POSSESSIVE INVESTMENT IN WHITENESS and A LIFE IN THE STRUGGLE. Lipsitz serves on the Board of Directors of the National Fair Housing Alliance.
Camila Morsch originally hails from Brazil, where she attended Law School (1999-2004) and graduated with an excellent academic record. Camila formerly served as Associate Director for the African American Policy Forum for three years. Camila recently stepped down from the position at AAPF to start her PhD studies in New Zealand at the University of Canterbury. In addition, Camila holds a Masters degree in International Politics (Marshall University 2006) and an L.L.M. in International Law and Comparative Studies (UCLA School of Law 2007). She started her career as an intern coordinator at the State Public Ministry in Brazil, where she worked for 2 years.
Uma Narayan is a Andrew M. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and Chair of Philosophy at Vassar College. She received her B.A. in Philosophy from Bombay University and her M.A. in Philosophy from Poona University, India. She received her Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1990. She is the author ofDislocating Cultures: Identities, Traditions and Third World Feminism. She has coedited Reconstructing Political Theory: Feminist Perspectives with Prof. Mary L. Shanley, Having and Raising Children with Prof. Julia Bartkowiak and Decentering the Center: Postcolonial and Feminist Challenges to Philosophy with Prof. Sandra Harding. She regularly offers courses on Contemporary Moral Issues, Social and Political Philosophy and Feminist Theory in the philosophy department. She frequently teaches courses for the Women’s Studies program, such as Introduction to Women’s Studies and Global Feminism.
Furaha Norton is an editor at the New Press, where she acquires works in African American Studies, history, politics/current affairs, psychology and sociology. Furaha received her PhD from Cornell University in 2002, where she studied African American literature; postcolonial theory; Toni Morrison; George Eliot; and feminism and postcoloniality in Ireland. She began her editorial career in 2001 as assistant to the editorial director of the trade division of Oxford University Press; and she has also worked as a paperback editor at Vintage/Anchor. While at Oxford Furaha acquired and edited several books including Scott Nelson’s Steel Drivin’ Man: John Henry and the Birth of an American Legend, which won the 2006 Merle Curti Prize, the 2006 Anisfield-Wolf Prize, and the 2007 National Arts Council Writing Award. She also acquired Paul Collier’s The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What We Can Do About It, which was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, and also received the 2007 Lionel Gelber Prize for Best Book in International Affairs.
Sunita Patel is a Staff Attorney and Soros Justice Fellow at The Legal Aid Society, Immigration Law Unit in New York working to implement systems of immigration detention transparency and community accountability and representing detained non-citizens in removal proceedings due to criminal convictions. Prior to her fellowship, Sunita clerked for the Hon. Judge Ivan L. R. Lemelle, Eastern District of Louisiana.
She obtained her BA at Tulane University and her JD from American University Washington College of Law, where she founded the Immigrant Rights Coalition. As a law student, she was a student attorney in the Human Rights Law Clinic and interned with Senator Ted Kennedy’s office of the Judiciary Committee. She has also clerked with civil rights and immigrant rights organizations such as the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Legal Aid Society of Manhattan, and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Sunita has volunteered internationally for the Self Employed Women’s Association in Gujarat,India and development organizations in Durban, South Africa.
Professor Russell Robinson is a Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. Robinson graduated with honors from Harvard Law School (1998), after receiving his B.A. summa cum laude from Hampton University (1995). Robinson clerked for Judge Dorothy Nelson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (1998-99) and for Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court (2000-01). He has also worked for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel (1999-2000).
Robinson’s current scholarly and teaching interests include antidiscrimination law, law and psychology, race and sexuality, and media and entertainment law. His publications include: Casting and Caste-ing: Reconciling Artistic Freedom and Antidiscrimination Norms, 95 Cal L. Rev. 1 (2007); Uncovering Covering, 101 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1809 (2007); Perceptual Segregation, 108 Colum. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming summer 2008); Structural Dimensions of Romantic Preferences, 76 Fordham L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2008). He is also working on an article entitled Masculinity as Prison.
Saul Sarabia will teach Critical Race Theory in the Spring 2009 Semester. He has previously taught at UCLA and Loyola Law School.
Sarabia currently serves as the Director of the Law School’s Critical Race Studies Concentration. Previously he served as a Program Director at the UCLA Center for the Study of Urban Poverty, working with transnational social change activists. He has served as a Program Director at the Community Coalition in South Central Los Angeles and as an Advocate at the Central American Human Rights Commission in San Jose, Costa Rica. His community-based social justice advocacy has ranged from documenting human rights violations in Central American countries to community organizing with poor people on welfare and in the foster care system in Los Angeles.
He has written numerous articles which have been published worldwide on a host of issues affecting Latinos living in the United States and in Latin American countries.
Sandra Susan Smith is an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Smith received a B.A. in History-Sociology from Columbia University in 1992 and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1998. From 1998 to 2000, she was a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan’s Poverty Research and Training Center. After her postdoc at Michigan, Smith accepted a tenure-track position in the Department of Sociology at New York University where she remained until her move to the Bay area. Smith’s research interests include urban poverty, joblessness, race and ethnicity, social networks and social capital, and intra-group processes. In her new book, /Lone Pursuit: Distrust and Defensive Individualism among the Black Poor/ (Russell Sage Foundation), Smith advances current and enduring debates about black joblessness, highlighting the role of interpersonal distrust dynamics between low-income black jobholders and their jobseeking relations that make cooperation during the process of finding work a problematic affair. In her current project, tentatively titled /Why Blacks Help Less/, Smith further interrogates the process of finding work by examining racial and ethnic differences in trust dynamics and exploring the social psychological, cultural, and structural factors that generate these differences. In addition to Lone Pursuit, Smith has published a number of articles in such journals as the /American Journal of Sociology/, /Racial and Ethnic Studies/, /Social Science Research/, and /The Sociological Quarterly/. In 2007, Smith was a recipient of the Hellman Family Faculty Fund, which supports the research of promising assistant professors who show capacity for great distinction in their fields. In 2002-2003, Smith was a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York City, and Smith is currently a Fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences (CASBS).
Alvin Starks is the Strategic Initiatives Director for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He previously served as the Associate Director of Racial Justice Initiative and Fellowship Programs at the Open Society Institute (OSI), an international foundation that seeks to promote justice and democracy around the world. There, Alvin directed the foundation’s New York City Community Fellowship and Initiative Programs and developed the foundation’s Racial Justice Initiative in U.S. Programs. Before working at OSI, Alvin served as a Program Officer at the Echoing Green Foundati on and as an educator and organizer at the Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship in Harlem.
Barbara Tomlinson is Associate Professor of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she serves as director of the undergraduate honors program and the graduate doctoral emphasis program. Her research focuses on the rhetoric of inquiry, the deployment of affect in feminist and anti-feminist arguments, and the ways in which feminism becomes constituted at the scene of argument. Tomlinson has published articles in Signs, Cultural Critique, Configurations, and the Medical Anthropology Quarterly and her book book Authors on Writing: Metaphors and Intellectual Labor was published by Palgrave in 2005. In 2009 Tomlinson received the UCSB Academic Senate’s Distinguished Teaching award.
Kimberly West-Faulcon is a constitutional law professor at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. Prior to becoming a full-time academic, Professor West-Faulcon served as the Western Regional Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF). Her research interests in constitutional law and the legal implications of intelligence theory and the psychometric properties of standardized tests stem from her extensive experience as a civil rights litigator.
Professor West-Faulcon received her law degree from Yale Law School where she was a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal after graduating from Duke University, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. After law school, Professor West-Faulcon clerked on the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals with the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt and began her legal career as a Skadden Fellow, one of a small cadre of lawyers selected from across the nation by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP to work in the public interest legal organization of their choice.
While at LDF, Professor West-Faulcon was lead counsel for the African-American plaintiff class in a successful multi-million dollar employment discrimination lawsuit, Gonzalez v. Abercrombie & Fitch, filed against the clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch and lead African-American plaintiffs’ counsel in a post-Proposition 209 lawsuit, Rios/Castaneda v. Regents of California, challenging the admissions policies of the University of California at Berkeley. Professor West-Faulcon also litigated the mis-use of standardized tests at the elementary and secondary level in various parts of the country, including Johnston County, North Carolina and Boston, Massachusetts and represented African-American police officers subject to discriminatory promotion policies by the Los Angeles Police Department.