This is a dark time for civil liberties in America. As lawmakers attempt to shift key civil rights  decisions back to the states, it is imperative that we mobilize to ensure legal protections of civil rights do not regress. This workshop will focus on actions that we can take to protect and expand civil rights legislation and to lessen the divisiveness that often serves as the catalyst for civil rights disputes.

Location: Main 100

Moderator: Mercy Morganfield



Coty Montag, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense Fund

As Deputy Director of Litigation for LDF, Coty Montag assists the Director of Litigation in overseeing LDF’s legal staff in their litigation, policy, advocacy, organizing, public education, and media activities.  Coty supervises LDF’s economic justice and political participation litigation and participates in the strategic development of LDF’s organizational resources and administration.  Coty currently serves as lead counsel for LDF in MorningSide v. Sabree, a class action lawsuit challenging Wayne County, Michigan’s discriminatory tax foreclosures under the Fair Housing Act (FHA).  Coty is a frequent speaker at legal conferences nationwide, particularly regarding issues involving fair lending and housing, and has co-authored numerous amicus briefs that have been submitted in federal and state appellate courts.



Michelle Dibblee, Co-Founder, Showing Up for Racial Justice DC (SURJ-DC)

Michelle Dibblee co-founded the local chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), a national network organizing white people for racial justice as part of a multi-racial movement. In recent months, SURJ has reflected deeply on what they bring to their work to dismantle white supremacy and the ways in which they work together and in parallel with partners, and how they hold themselves and are held accountable to the leadership of people of color.


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Dr. Laura Durso, Vice President of LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress

Dr. Laura E. Durso is the Vice President of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress. sing public health and intersectional frameworks, she focuses on the health and well-being of LGBT communities, data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity, and improving the social and economic status of LGBT people through public policy. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Harvard University and master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.


Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, Executive Director, ACLU of DC

Monica Hopkins-Maxwell became the Executive Director of the ACLU of the District of Columbia in 2014. Previously, she served as the Executive Director of the ACLU of Idaho beginning in 2008. During her tenure there she oversaw sweeping statewide victories, particularly in the areas of criminal justice reform, LGBTQ equality, immigrants’ rights and upholding the First Amendment. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for Boise State University’s College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs and has been a recipient of numerous awards including the Idaho Business Review’s “Accomplished Under 40” and Women Making History Award. Ms. Hopkins-Maxwell holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Social Science from Boise State University.


Kendrick Holley, Community Engagement Manager, American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation's Capital (ACLU-DC)

Kendrick D. Holley received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of the District of Columbia and is a law student at the University of the District of Columbia - David A. Clarke School of Law. Prior to attending law school, Kendrick was a Field Organizer at Organizing for America in North Carolina, where he was tasked with educating, organizing, and turning out support for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. He is currently a Community Engagement Manager working to defend the rights of those in his community. Kendrick currently serves on the United States Commission on Civil Rights – State Advisory Committee of DC.