For Immediate Release

Shari Ireton
University of Washington School of Law


UW Middle Eastern Law Students Host Discrimination Talk

The Middle Eastern Law Students Association of Washington will host a panel discussion on discrimination post 9/11 Monday, April 27 from 4-6 p.m. in William H. Gates Hall Room 133.

"Combating Discrimination in the Post-9/11 Era" features two panelists whose lives and work took a sudden turn following the events of September 11, 2001: Pramila Jayapal, Seattle author and activist who created OneAmerica (formerly known as Hate Free Zone) and Banafsheh Akhlaghi, a constitutional law professor who emerged as an advocate of human rights for the Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian community.

Jayapal has spent over 20 years working for social justice, both internationally and domestically. Under her leadership, OneAmerica has achieved significant policy change in Washington State, leading efforts to win numerous victories for immigrants. She is a frequent featured speaker nationwide and a regular guest on local and national television and radio shows, addressing diverse audiences on issues of immigrant and human rights. Prior to founding OneAmerica, Pramila has served as Director of the Fund for Technology Transfer for The Program for Appropriate Technology (PATH), operating across Asia, Africa and Latin America; Fellow in India for the Institute of Current World Affairs; and as a nonprofit consultant.

Akhlaghi is the Western Regional Director of Amnesty International. Prior to joining Amnesty, Banafsheh founded the National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement in 2004, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the human rights and dignity of Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities. Banafsheh has served and represented over 3,000 people, worked as a consultant to the United Nations Development Fund for Women, testified before Congress, and regularly conducts cultural Sensitivity Trainings with branches of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She has been recognized with numerous awards such as the "Top 100 Most Influential Lawyers" in California in 2005 and "Top 100 Leading Lawyers" in 2006.

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