14th Annual Vermont Law Review Symposium: "Recognizing Injustice: From Social Movements to Legal Reform"

3 Oct 2014

14th Annual Vermont Law Review Symposium: "Recognizing Injustice: From Social Movements to Legal Reform"

5:00am - 1:30pm


The Vermont Law Review 14th Annual Symposium brings us back to the roots of why we chose to become advocates. We will discuss social movements and the law, focusing on issues we feel are not addressed enough in current discourse. We will explore the theoretical underpinnings of how social movements further legal change, move into discussions involving trans* rights and prison reform and criminal justice issues, and finally conclude with an activist workshop emphasizing skills to improve our advocacy in these pressing areas. Special attention will be given to multiple layers of identities, including issues affecting trans* people of color and the criminal justice system's disproportionate impact on minorities. Our panelists are diverse in their personal and professional backgrounds: a trans* youth artist-activist, a former senior correctional officer, and a variety of legal and academic scholars. Alisha Williams, Director of the Prisoner Rights Project at The Sylvia Rivera Law Project, will deliver the keynote address on issues affecting trans* inmates. Alisha will also help us break down the complexities of these issues during our activist workshop.​​

CLE Credits are available at this Symposium.

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List of Speakers


Opening Remarks:
  • Ann Kirby, Counsel for Leon Brown (2014)


  • Panel 1: Social Movements and the Law
  • Mary Burke, Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at the University of Vermont
  • Marc Dixon, Professor of Sociology at Dartmouth College
  • Jessica West, Professor of Law at Vermont Law School
  • Linus Owens, Professor of Sociology at Middlebury College


  • Panel 2: Transgender Rights
  • Jennifer Levi, Director of Transgender Rights Project at GLAD
  • M. Dru Levasseur, Transgender Rights Project Director at Lambda Legal
  • Kylar Broadus, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force & Founder of Trans People of Color Coalition
  • Sky Kergil, trans youth artist, activist, and musician


  • Keynote Speaker:
  • Alisha Williams, Sylvia Rivera Law Project


  • Panel 3: Criminal Justice and Prison Reform
  • Cathleen Price, Senior Cooperating Attorney at Equal Justice Initiative
  • Dr. Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Research Analyst at The Sentencing Project
  • Gabriel Arkles, Northeastern School of Law and Core Collective Member at Sylvia Rivera Law Project
  • John Gorcyzk, Former Vermont Commissioner of Corrections


  • Activist Workshop
  • Facilitated by Alisha Williams
  • Questions? Concerns? Contact Adam Schmelkin at adamschmelkin@vermontlaw.edu