Published: March 26, 2012

On Wednesday, April 11, 2012, the Black Law Students Association of the University of Colorado Law School will host Jacqueline A. Berrien, the chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the nation’s largest civil rights enforcement agency. The event will be held at 5:30 p.m. on the CU-Boulder campus in the Wittemyer Courtroom in the Wolf Law building.

President Barack Obama noted that Berrien “has spent her entire career fighting to give voice to underrepresented communities and protect our most basic rights.” Berrien will discuss her path to social justice and offer insight to students about the importance of staying committed to the field.

Before becoming the Chair of the EEOC, Berrien served as the Associate Director-Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. From 2001 to 2004, Berrien was a program officer in the Governance and Civil Society Unit of the Ford Foundation’s Peace and Social Justice Program, where she administered more than $13 million in grants to promote greater political participation by underrepresented groups and remove barriers to civic engagement. During her tenure with the Ford Foundation, Berrien also co-chaired the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation, a philanthropic affinity group affiliated with the Council on Foundations.

Before joining the Ford Foundation, Berrien practiced civil rights law for more than 15 years. Between 1994 and 2001, she was an assistant counsel with Legal Defense Fund (LDF), where she coordinated all of LDF’s work in the area of voting rights and political participation and represented voters in proceedings before the U.S. Supreme Court and federal and state appellate and trial courts. Between 1987 and 1994, Berrien worked as an attorney with the Voting Rights Project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in Washington, D.C., and with the National Legal Department and Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union in New York.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. It also is illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

The event will be followed by a reception in Boettcher Hall in which all attendees will have an opportunity to meet Berrien.

Free parking and no RSVP needed. Attorneys can receive CLE credit for attending.