employment

Connie Rice: Advancement Project – Leadership

Advancement Project

In her legal work, Connie has led multi-racial coalitions of lawyers and clients to win more than $10 billion in damages and policy changes, through traditional class action civil rights cases redressing police misconduct, race and sex discrimination and unfair public policy in transportation, probation and public housing.

She filed a landmark case on behalf of low-income bus riders that resulted in a mandate that more than 2 billion dollars be spent to improve the bus system. Together with Co-Directors Molly Munger and Steve English, Connie launched a coalition lawsuit, Godinez v. Davis, that won approximately $1 billion for new school construction in Los Angeles and other urban areas – money previously slated for less crowded, more affluent suburban school districts.

With these funds the Los Angeles Unified School District began its nationally recognized program to build over 66 new schools since 2001.

After the court in Godinez required California to develop a new system for funding schools construction, Advancement Project was instrumental in assessing the need for adequate schools to serve all children in California and in crafting and shepherding three school construction bond initiatives that raised $25 billion for new and renovated facilities throughout the state, including $5 billion earmarked to relieve overcrowding in urban schools. This funding enabled California to build or renovate over 1 million school spaces since 2000. Connie then chaired the Independent Prop. BB Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee that monitored and evaluated how Los Angeles Unified School District used its allocation of school construction funds.

At the invitation of LAPD Chief William Bratton, Connie investigated the biggest police corruption scandal in Los Angeles history and obtained the commitment of the Chief to reform LAPD’s training and incentives system through an internal commission that she co-chairs. Connie also conducted a landmark 18-month assessment of the City of Los Angeles’ anti-gang programs and drew the blueprint to reduce gang violence through a regional, multi-jurisdictional comprehensive strategy to right the balance between suppression and prevention.

Prior to co-founding Advancement Project, Connie was Co-Director of the Los Angeles office of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, an associate at the law firm of Morrison & Foerster; and a clerk to the Honorable Damon J. Keith, judge of the United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit. Connie is a graduate of Harvard College and the New York University School of Law.

In 2006, Los Angeles Times West Magazine named Connie one of the 100 most powerful people in Southern California, and California Law Business twice been named her one of the top 10 most influential lawyers in California. Connie serves on the boards of the Public Policy Institute of California and public radio station KPCC.

employment

Jumped In: What Gangs Taught Me About Violence, Drugs, Love

When Jorja Leap began studying Los Angeles gang violence in 2002, she encountered a myriad of proposed solutions to the seemingly intractable “gang problem” and set out to discover what was really going on. The stakes—then and now—could not be higher: a child or teenager is killed by gunfire every three hours—and homicide is the leading cause of death for African American males between the ages of fifteen and thirty-four.

In Jumped In, Leap brings us stories that reach behind the statistics and sensational media images to the real lives of those stuck in—and trying to escape— “la vida loca.” With the eye of an anthropologist and a heart full of compassion, this small, tough woman from UCLA travels some of the most violent and poverty-stricken neighborhoods, riding along in police cruisers and helicopters, and talking with murderers and drug dealers, victims and grieving mothers.

Through oral histories, personal interviews, and eyewitness accounts of current and former gang members, as well as the people who love and work alongside them, readers come to understand both the people pulled into gangs and those trying mightily to forge alternatives and help their community. In delving into the personal lives of current and former gang members, Leap aims not only to find out what leads them to crime and how to deal most effectively with gang activity, but also to hear the voices of those most often left out of the political conversation and to learn from leaders who offer a different kind of hope, through community outreach and jobs programs.

As she forges lasting friendships in this community and becomes immersed in others’ triumphs and tragedies, Leap’s personal and professional lives intersect in sometimes incendiary ways. With a husband in the Los Angeles Police Department and a daughter in adolescence, she faces plenty of family dilemmas herself. Ultimately, Jumped In is a chronicle of the unexpected lessons gang members taught her while she was busily studying them, and how they changed her forever.

employment

McGinn hires respected L.A. adviser Connie Rice

Mayor Mike McGinn took two significant steps Tuesday in the wake of the city’s settlement with the Department of Justice, announcing a long-delayed reappointment of the civilian director who oversees police internal investigations and hiring a nationally recognized civil-rights attorney who played a key role in spurring widely praised police reforms in Los Angeles.

McGinn nominated Kathryn Olson, who oversees the Police Department’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), to the job she has continued to hold without required City Council confirmation after her initial three-year term officially expired more than two years ago.

FULL STORY