The Constance Baker Motley Speaker Series on Racial Inequality was established by the Connecticut Bar Association and Connecticut Bar Foundation as an ongoing forum for the Connecticut legal community to explore issues of racial inequality and systemic racism. This series is named in honor of civil rights trailblazer Judge Constance Baker Motley with the goal of supporting and fostering renewed commitment to advancing civil rights and social justice.


Anticipated topics will include criminal justice, education, health care, housing, voter suppression, political equality, employment, access to credit, business ownership, and advancement. The series will also address underlying issues that provide impediments to eliminating racism so that our State and Nation can fulfill their promises to provide justice for all.


Upcoming Events

Past Events

  • Apr 16
    Motley Speaker Series: The Fair Housing Act and Insurance (EMS210416)
    1:00 PM to 2:30 PM (Eastern Daylight Time)
    Access Recording

    The test for determining discriminatory effect, so as to establish actionable discrimination under the FHA, has been considered extensively in the courts. Rulemaking during the Obama administration attempted to codify this. Most recently the Department of Housing and Urban Development sought to restate this rule, ostensibly to reflect a Supreme Court decision (Inclusive Communities). With the rule being challenged in the courts and a new administration, how this will impact homeowners insurers hangs in the balance.

  • Mar 18
    Motley Speaker Series: Structural Racism and Financial Services (EMS210318)
    3:00 PM to 4:30 PM (Eastern Daylight Time)
    Access Recording

    This panel will feature legal scholars and experts who study historical and ongoing inequities in our banking system and financial services more broadly, and /or who are actively engaged in working to address those inequities through policy activism and innovation within the industry.

  • Feb 05
    Motley Speaker Series: Language and the Law (EMS210205)
    1:00 PM to 2:30 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
    Access Recording

    This webinar will focus on the impact of language in the legal profession, particularly how diverse languages, accents, dialects and proficiency levels of parties, witnesses, lawyers and jurors impact legal professionals' perceptions of their legitimacy, credibility and professionalism.

  • Jan 21
    Motley Speaker Series | Policing and Race in America: Past, Present, and Future – Part 2 (EMS210121)
    1:00 PM to 3:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
    Access Recording

    This session will focus on biases in policing and the impact on communities, mainly communities of color. Panelists will provide insight into strategies and changes some police departments have implemented to mitigate bias and improve community relations.

  • Dec 16
    Motley Speaker Series: Structural Racism in Employment (EMS201216)
    3:30 PM to 5:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
    Access Recording

    This panel will feature scholars and/or advocates who will show how structural racism operates to the disadvantage of domestic workers, immigrant workers, and workers entangled in the criminal justice system, among others, and what it would take to combat that structural racism.


Hon. Constance Baker Motley (1921-2005)

Hon. Constance Baker Motley born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, was recognized by Resolution of the United States House of Representatives of the 110th Congress in 2007 for her “lifelong commitment to the advancement of civil rights and social justice.” Judge Motley was the first female staff attorney NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF), hired by then Chief Counsel Thurgood Marshall. She argued and won many of the defining cases in the civil rights movement, including those to desegregate schools and universities, housing, transportation, and public accommodations. Judge Motley later became the first Black woman appointed as a federal judge, rising to Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in 1982.

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