The Pocket Part: UConn Law Library Blog

Celebrating Disability Pride: UConn Law Library Display

In honor of Disability Pride Month,  UConn Law Library wishes to celebrate the achievements, contributions and diversity within the disability community.  The UConn Law library features a Disability Pride Display adjacent to the circulation desk that features issues related to disabilities in the context of the law.

Image of bookshelf containing selected books related to disability law.
Disability Pride Display at UConn Law Library.

UConn Law Library’s  Accessibility, Neurodiversity and Ableism collection contains works that consider issues related to disabilities in the context of the law, education, and other institutions, including neurodiversity and accessibility.  This collection curates both online and print items, this print display also features resources that consider the multitude of issues related to disabilities and our society.

Image of low bookshelves with selected books related to disability law.
Disability Pride Display – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility and Justice (DEIAJ) book collection at UConn Law Library.

Disability Pride Month serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality and the need for continued advocacy.  The Disability Pride book display hopes to promote awareness while celebrating achievements, and advocating for policy change.  All display items are available for checkout to UConn Law students, faculty and staff.  Hope to see you all stop by!!


Disability Pride Month: Recognizing Progress and Advocacy

Disability Pride Month is celebrated in July, the month of passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in July, 1990, a comprehensive civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability.

The ADA stands as a cornerstone of legal protection for people with disabilities in the United States. It mandates equal opportunities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. Over the years, amendments and legal precedents have strengthened its provisions, ensuring greater accessibility and accommodation. Despite these advancements, challenges persist. Issues such as accessibility barriers, employment discrimination, and healthcare disparities continue to affect the disabled community. Disability Pride Month serves as a reminder of these ongoing struggles while highlighting the resilience and achievements of disabled individuals in overcoming them.

This month, the American Bar Association’s Commission on Disability Rights invites you to take part in the #BeCounted campaign. The #BeCounted campaign encourages lawyers with disabilities across the country to add themselves to the ABA’s U.S. map. Participation in this campaign is important because according to the Commission on Disability Rights:

Why? According to the 2021 ABA Model Diversity Survey, “[a]ttorneys with a disability are generally underreported and/or underrepresented at every level and are significantly more likely to work in the “Other Attorney” role compared to all other groups within law firms.” Also, “[f]or the most recent year, most law firms did not hire a single attorney [who] self-identified as . . . having a disability.” Furthermore, according to a 2023 report from the National Association of Law Placement (NALP), only 1.4% of law firm lawyers surveyed self-identified as having a disability. We (and NALP) believe there are more, given that one in four adults in the United States have a disability.

The American Bar Association Commission on Disability Rights contains a multitude of resources to promote the the ABA’s commitment to “justice and the rule of law for people with mental, physical and sensory disabilities, and to promote their full and equal participation in the legal profession.”

UConn Law Library features a Disability Pride book display adjacent to the circulation desk. Also, our Accessibility, Neurodiversity and Ableism collection contains works that consider issues related to disabilities in the context of the law, education, and other institutions, including neurodiversity and accessibility.

Disability Pride Month serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality and the need for continued advocacy. By promoting awareness, celebrating achievements, and advocating for policy change, we can build a more inclusive society where every individual is valued and respected. The goals of Disability Pride Month should be strived for not just in July but throughout the year, fostering a culture of acceptance, empowerment, and equality for all.


Independence Day- Happy 4th!

As we approach July 4th, a holiday synonymous with celebrating independence and the principles by which our nation was founded, we want to inform you that UConn Law Library will be closed on July 4th, 2024.

Although our physical doors our closed, many of our resources are available online 24/7.  Our digital library catalog, databases, and research guides are accessible remotely, allowing you to continue your legal research and study from anywhere.

As we take July 4th to honor the ideals of freedom and justice that define our nation, we hope you enjoy a safe and festive holiday.

Our regular hours will resume on July 5th and the library staff will be available to assist you with your research and information needs.


Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month: Law Library Resources

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.  In the realm of law, Alzheimer’s presents unique challenges, particularly concerning estate planning, guardianship, and healthcare directives. Attorneys play a crucial role in assisting families and individuals with Alzheimer’s to navigate legal complexities, ensuring that their wishes are honored and their rights protected throughout the progression of the disease.

Navigating legal issues and planning for the care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be difficult and overwhelming. UConn Law Library has resources which may provide valuable information and support to help you through this difficult time.

Book Cover Alzheimer's and the Law
Alzheimer’s and the Law : Counseling Clients with Dementia and Their Families 5th Floor ; KF3803.A56 P43 2013

UConn Law Library Resources

 

Open Access Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month is a time to unite in our efforts to support those affected by this disease, promote understanding, and work towards a future without Alzheimer’s. Representation with compassion and expertise is of tantamount importance. Let’s continue to shine a light on Alzheimer’s this June and beyond. Together, we can make a difference.


Voices of Heritage: Celebrating Caribbean American Law Students

As we commemorate Caribbean American Heritage Month, it’s a perfect opportunity to shine a spotlight on the vibrant contributions and unique perspectives of Caribbean American law students at UConn Law. This month is not only a celebration of culture and heritage but also a recognition of the invaluable impact that Caribbean American students bring to the legal profession. Toni-Ann Gayle and Farah Jean are both rising 3L’s who share their reflections and experiences, shedding light on what it means to balance their rich cultural heritage with the pursuit of legal excellence.

Photo of Toni-Ann Gayle, UConn Law Student of Jamaican Descent
Toni-Ann Gayle, UConn Law Student

Toni-Ann Gayle notes the rich tapestry of her Jamaican heritage and how this month serves as a reminder of her heritage and the legacies she carries forward:

As a Jamaican law student, who migrated to the U.S. in 2015, I am privileged to be equipped with both the resources to fight against adversity, and the lived experiences to remind me why there is so much work to be done.  In Connecticut in particular, the largest group of foreign-born immigrants are from Jamaica! As the Jamaican proverb goes “wi likkle, but wi tallawah.” (Roughly translated to “though we are small, we are mighty”) Our presence in the state is evidenced by the fact that our food, music, and culture are always in earshot and can be enjoyed by all. Of course, in the legal system, this also means that there is always more to be done on our part to ensure that there is fair, accessible representation for the Jamaicans who now call this wonderful state their home. I hope to use my law degree to continue being a resource not only for my community, but for every group for which there is not enough representation in the legal field. I am blessed to have experienced growing up in a culture where advocating for justice was the norm. I will keep that lesson steadfast in my legal career.

 

 

Farah Jean reflects on how her Haitian heritage has shaped her experience, perspectives, and aspirations at UConn Law:

Photo of Farah Jean, UConn Law Student.
Farah Jean, UConn Law Student

Being Haitian and living in a foreign country has made me acutely aware of how much of the world remains unknown. Throughout law school, I have always been proud to answer the question, ‘Where are you from?’ because I know that Haiti is a country I will always represent, despite its ups and downs. While there is still a long way to go, earning my JD is a significant step toward my goal of giving back to my country in the future. I am thrilled to see Caribbean heritage being celebrated, recognizing the many contributions of Caribbean people in the United States and beyond. People with Caribbean heritage have always been a powerful force, leading the way in making meaningful change.

 

This month, let us celebrate the rich tapestry of Caribbean cultures and the invaluable contributions of our law students to UConn Law, the legal profession and society at large.


Juneteenth: Recognizing Freedom and Equality

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. While the Emancipation Proclamation became effective on January 1, 1863, the news took time to make its way around the country. As such, it was not until June 19, 1865, when the Union army brought word of the proclamation to enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, making them among the last to be freed, thus Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed.

On February 25, 2021, H.R. 1320 and S. 475 were both introduced to establish Juneteenth as a federal holiday. S. 475 was signed into law on June 17, 2021 and Juneteenth National Independence Day became a Federal holiday. All 50 states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth as a holiday or observance, and many states have designated Juneteenth as a legal holiday.

Juneteenth became a legal state holiday in Connecticut through Public Act 22-128, which Governor Lamont signed into law in 2022. It requires every June 19 to be observed as Juneteenth Independence Day beginning in 2023. If June 19 falls on a Saturday, the legal state holiday will be on the prior Friday, and if it falls on a Sunday, the legal state holiday will be on the following Monday.

Governor Ned Lamont noted the significance of Juneteenth his press release of June 14, 2023:

For far too long, Juneteenth and the end of slavery have not been truly appreciated as a major part of United States history to the extent that they should…embracing this history is an important component of educating everyone about how our nation was built and the significance of what this day means. When we ignore the impact of slavery, we ignore who we are as Americans and the extraordinary injustice that it created. Making Juneteenth a legal state holiday does not erase the cruelty of slavery, however it makes it clear that Connecticut acknowledges this gross injustice in our collective history and recognizes its impact.

HeinOnline’s database Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture and Law is available through the UConn Law Library.  This database brings together all known legal materials on slavery in the United States and the English-speaking world. Read more about this database in the HeinOnline Blog.

Learn more about Juneteenth with the following sources:

Juneteenth stands as a testament to the resilience and determination of the African American community in the face of oppression and injustice. Its significance underscores the enduring struggle for freedom and equality in America. As we commemorate Juneteenth, let us not only celebrate how far we’ve come but also recommit ourselves to the ongoing pursuit of justice and equality for all.


The Legal Tapestry of Flag Day

First observed nationally in 1877 to coincide with the centennial commemoration of the flag, the origins of Flag Day can be traced back to June 14, 1777, (available through the Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 available through UConn Law catalog via HeinOnline) when the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States. Only Pennsylvania observes Flag day as a legal holiday, but there are many resources that discuss our Flag and this observance.

In June of 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation for the national observance of Flag Day.  This observance was made permanent with H.J. Res 170 of the 81st Congress, and signed into law in 1949 by President Harry Truman.  This made Flag Day a permanent observance, Govinfo.gov summarizes the history of Flag Day. 

HeinOnline contains multiple resources about Flag Law and is available at the law library through our onsite computers and remotely for staff and students. In particular, its Supreme Court Library  features a four-volume set titled, Flag and the Law: A documentary History of the Treatment of the American Flag by the Supreme Court and Congress, (also available in print in the library) features resources about the history of the flag and relevant law up to 1993.

More information about resources can be found on the HeinOnline Blog, The Flag, the National Anthem, and the First Amendment. Also check out Senate Document 109-18, Our Flag, which discusses the history of  the Flag and observances.

For those interested in a deeper dive about the law governing unofficial flags on town property and school property in Connecticut, check out the research report authored UConn Law Alumna Taylorann Vibert: Unofficial Flags on Town and School Property through the Office of Legislative Research in Connecticut.

 


Advocacy on All Fours – UConn Mascot Jonathon XV’s Testimony Before State Legislature

The Connecticut State Legislature recently passed Public Act No. 24-121 which among other things, designated the Siberian Husky as the state dog! Jonathon XV, the UConn mascot, shared his own “tail” of representing UConn as the school’s mascot, and why the Siberian Husky should be designated the state dog, when the bill came up before legislature.

After reading about this and the adoption of the lollipop as the state candy in news sources, I wondered, how do I find this canine advocate's "testimony"?  Well, the Connecticut General Assembly site should be your first step, and you are able to read most current testimony if you are armed with either the Bill number, Public Act number, or both!

Siberian Husky
Jonathan XV poses for a photo on March 29, 2024. (Sydney Herdle/UConn Photo)

I navigated to the Connecticut General Assembly site. Then I went to the top right hand corner for “Quick Bill Search” - since I had the Public Act Number – I used the drop down and entered it in.

Once I entered this in, I found the Bill number, as well as the history of the bill. Since I was looking for Jonathon’s testimony, I scrolled to the bottom, where I found “Public Hearing Testimony” 

From there, I saw all the written testimony, including that of Laura Centanni, Jonathon’s handler, who translated Jonathon’s "Siberian Husky language" of barks, wagging tails and wet noses into English.  Jonathon's testimony wasn't delivered in words, since his handler Laura spoke on his behalf, but UConn's canine mascot conveyed his message with his presence and certainly a tail wag or two!

Of course, public testimony is just one part of legislative history.

You can also check out this UConn Law Library Research Guide which discusses researching Connecticut’s legislative history. A great skill to have in your back pocket as a legal researcher in Connecticut, along with a dog treat or two for Jonathon!  Go Huskies!!


Celebrating Diversity: Pride Month 2024 at UConn Law Library

June is LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex) Pride Month! Originally celebrated as Gay Pride Day on the last Sunday in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City, Pride Month gradually became a month-long event.

The Stonewall site was declared a National Monument by Presidential Proclamation. The Stonewall uprising is regarded by many as the most important catalyst for the dramatic expansion of the movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against LGBTQI+ Americans.

A Proclamation on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Pride Month, 2024 was issued by President Biden to launch Pride month, proclaiming:

This month, we recommit to realizing the promise of America for all Americans, to celebrating courageous LGBTQI+ people, and to taking pride in the example they set for our Nation and the world.

Stonewall Inn Johannes Jordan/Wikimedia Commons

Today, LGBTQ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world and has grown to a month-long series of events such as parades, picnics, parties and concerts, including some great events to check out right here in Connecticut:  https://ctvisit.com/articles/pride-month-celebrations-2024

Many legal changes for the LGBTQI+ community have been made since the police raided the Stonewall Inn nearly fifty years ago. However, continuing LGBTQ+ civil and equality rights issues remain relevant today.  HeinOnline features a LGBTQ+ Rights database.  This collection charts the gay rights movement in America, showing the civil rights codified into law in the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the inequalities that still exist today.  To learn more about the newest database check out HeinOnline’s blog here and for additional research, check out UConn Law’s Research Guide, Sexuality, Gender Identity and the Law.


Public Laws & Proclamations – Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, celebrated throughout the month of May, originated in 1978 when Congress passed a joint resolution that became Pub. L. 95-419.  This law directed the President to issue a proclamation designating the week beginning on May 4, 1979 as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. Pub. L. 95-419 was amended in 1990 by Pub. L. 101-283  which expanded the observance of Asian/Pacific American Heritage week to the month of May in 1990.  Finally, in 1992, Congress passed Pub. L. 102-450 which permanently designated May of each year as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.”

Pursuant to Pub. L. 102-450, American Presidents have annually issued proclamations designating May as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.  On April 30, 2024, President Biden issued A Proclamation for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 2024.

Presidential Proclamations are policy statements issued by the president to the public. Although often ceremonial, they can have legal effect (examples are proclamations regarding national emergencies, foreign policy, and federal land management). An example of this would be President Biden’s Proclamation 10315 (revoked on December 28, 2021) which suspended entry of certain individuals in countries where the Omicron variant of COVID-19 had been detected.

This informative CRS Report Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month Speech Resources: Fact Sheet provides excellent summary of both Public Laws and Proclamations pertaining to Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.  Interested in Presidential Directives?  Also by CRS, the publication, Presidential Directives: An Introduction, discusses the differences between presidential directives.

The Law Library display features an assortment of academic and leisure reading books selected in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month for 2024.  Be sure to stop by and check one out for summer reading!  Have a great summer!

 

Image courtesy of the Smithsonian