Blog Archive

Blog Archive : February 2007

Miguel Alvarez posted a blog on Feb 13, 2007

Employment Discrimination Clinics Launched by Rights Groups


Clinics seek to unite African American and Latino communities to address common cause


Chicago, IL – The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law will sponsor a series of bilingual employment discrimination clinics in 2007 thanks to a grant from The Fulfilling the Dream Fund—Chicago Consortium, which includes The Woods Fund of Chicago, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust and The Ford Foundation.


The goal of the clinics is to help eradicate barriers to employment opportunities for African Americans and Latinos in the Chicago metropolitan area. The organizations are collaborating in an effort to unite the two communities by addressing employment discrimination and by promoting affirmative action policies and practices.


“Discrimination in the workplace still thrives and our communities are most often the victims of these unfair employment practices,” said MALDEF Regional Counsel, Ricardo Meza. “Through these clinics we hope to unmask the unlawful practices of some employers and empower individuals to take action.”


At the clinics, volunteer attorneys will evaluate employees' claims and suggest possible next steps, such as filing a discrimination charge with the appropriate administrative agency. All services will be provided free-of-charge.


"The clinics address a concrete need by providing legal assistance to individuals who otherwise would not have access to such services while at the same time shining a light on the broader issue of the shared barriers to employment faced by the African American and Latino communities," added Clyde E. Murphy, Executive Director of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee.


The Spanish Coalition for Jobs (SCJ) will host the first bilingual clinic, which will take place in late February at SCJ’s Education & Technology Center at 2011 W. Pershing Road in Chicago. Individuals who would like to schedule an appointment at the February clinic should call SCJ at (773) 247-0707, ext. 218 for a brief telephone interview. Qualifying individuals will be scheduled for an appointment; walk-ins will not be accepted. To schedule an appointment at a later clinic, individuals should contact either SCJ at the number listed above or the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee at (312) 630-9744.

Miguel Alvarez posted a blog on Feb 9, 2007

Hate Crime Lawsuit Filed in Kankakee County Racial Attack

Contact: Jason Milch



Betsy Shuman-Moore





CHICAGO – Three young African-American men today filed a lawsuit in Kankakee County Circuit Court, alleging that they were victims of hate crimes during a racially motivated, unprovoked attack by a group of white men in 2005.


The lawsuit alleges that while Vantis, Isaiah and Kenyon Coiley were outside a friend’s Manteno, Ill. home in February, 2005, they were accosted by an angry mob of white males, including defendants Larry DeLawder, Matt Garza, Jeremiah Spainhour, and Jason Stinebring. The group shouted numerous racial slurs at the young men, before attacking them with their hands, feet, bricks, knives, a hammer, and other dangerous objects. The Coileys attempted to flee, but the group disabled their car by slashing a tire and jamming a screwdriver in the ignition. Despite being severely injured, the Coileys were eventually able to free themselves and drive their damaged car to a hospital.


Vantis and Isaiah Coiley are brothers, and Kenyon Coiley is their cousin.


The Coileys further allege in the lawsuit that they continue to endure the physical and emotional injuries suffered as a result of the attack. The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for violations of Illinois statutory law, emotional distress and property damage. In 2005, a jury convicted Mr. Stinebring of felony criminal charges, and in 2006 Mr. DeLawder and Mr. Spainhour pled guilty to felony criminal charges for the attack.


The Coileys are represented in their lawsuit by pro bono attorneys from Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP; and Betsy Shuman-Moore of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Inc.


“We hope to obtain just compensation for the Coileys for the physical and emotional suffering they have endured, as well as deter others from committing violent hate crimes, the most extreme form of racism and discrimination,” said Ms. Shuman-Moore.


For 35 years, the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee, through its 40-plus member law firms, staff and legal team, has provided free legal services to challenge discrimination and other civil rights violations in both the public and private sectors. For further information about the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee, contact Clyde Murphy at 312-630-9744, or visit