Carol Robles-Román Tapped to Co-Lead ERA Coalition
Carol Robles-Román, Legal Momentum’s President and CEO since April 2014, will be leaving Legal Momentum in March to become Co-President and CEO of the ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women’s Equality. During Carol’s tenure at Legal Momentum®, she led impactful work and groundbreaking litigation against human trafficking and sextortion, and oversaw the organization’s ongoing efforts to end gender bias in schools, workplaces, and the courts. Legal Momentum has worked as a Lead Organization with the ERA Coalition on advocacy for an equal rights amendment to the United States Constitution, and Carol co-chaired the Coalition’s Legal Task Force. Carol has served as Legal Momentum’s President and CEO for four years. During that time, she received the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence 2017 Sharon L. Corbitt Award and the National Women’s Political Caucus 2015 Women of Courage Award. Carol made numerous public and media appearances, speaking out on women’s equality and against online sexual exploitation of women and girls, and wrote several hard-hitting op-eds on domestic violence, trafficking, and other important issues. Prior to joining Legal Momentum in April 2014, she was Deputy Mayor for Legal affairs and Counsel to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for 12 years—the first woman to be appointed to the role of Counsel to the Mayor.
Carol Baldwin Moody, who is an Aiming High honoree, and who served on the Board of Directors of Legal Momentum, will step in as interim President and CEO, and will also continue to serve as Chief Operating Officer.
Legal Momentum’s Work Influences the House to Pass FOSTA
Legal Momentum and a coalition of significant anti-trafficking organizations, have been advocating tirelessly for federal legislation that would enable survivors of online sex trafficking to bring civil legal action against the websites that knowingly facilitate trafficking. On February 27, the House of Representatives passed FOSTA, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, despite pushback from major players in the tech industry. Next, the related Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) needs to pass the Senate.
Legal Momentum has been working to educate members of Congress on the need for changes to the 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA), a law that courts have interpreted as preventing survivors from bringing legal action against websites that facilitate child sex trafficking. As we reported in the January 2 Legal Momentum News Brief, Legal Momentum traveled to Capitol Hill on January 11 for a Congressional briefing and rally calling for the Senate to pass SESTA, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (S.1693).Legal Momentum was a sponsor of the events and Carol Robles-Román was featured speaker, and discussed LM's federal lawsuit in Florida on behalf of a trafficking survivor and the anti-trafficking organization Florida Abolitionist, seeking to hold the website Backpage.com liable for participating in, and profiting from, sex trafficking. She reinforced that Congress must pass this law to allow victims of online sex trafficking to pursue justice through the courts.
Legal Momentum has long been advocating for updating federal law to end online sexual exploitation of minors. We published an op-ed titled “Congress must lead charge to block online sex ads” in the Seattle Times in March, 2016. Legal Momentum has also filed amicus briefs in civil suits against Backpage.com.
Legal Momentum Provides Free Resources for Teens
February was Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, so Legal Momentum is again highlighting the free educational resources it offers on preventing teen dating violence. These are available for download from Legal Momentum’s website. The resources include materials for judges and court professionals, as well as material created specifically for teens themselves through our Rights Now! Peer Educator Empowerment Program. The materials for teens include a fact sheet on the “Relationship Bill of Rights,” a fact sheet on “9 Things to Know about Title IX,” and a “Social Media Bill of Rights.” The material for adults was developed and published by Legal Momentum’s award-winning National Judicial Education Program. It comprises 11 fact sheets on all aspects of this important issue, including the neurobiology of the teenage brain, orders of protection, social media, LGBTQ issues, and holding offenders accountable. The informative NJEP fact sheets are available both individually and as a single PDF file for convenient download and include glossaries of useful terms.
Rights Now! Peer Educators Inspire Minority Youth
One more Peer Educator in Legal Momentum’s Rights Now! program has expressed her hopes and experiences in a new post titled “Aware,” on Legal Momentum’s blog. Birkinana Unsung, a young mother, writes, “As a mother and the eldest of 7 other girls, Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention is highly important for me to educate not only my siblings, but their friends and friends of their friends.”
Birkinana hopes to use her Rights Now! leadership experience to help other minority youth build self-confidence and self-esteem and encourage them to pursue their educations and find healthy relationships. “With the knowledge I gain and experience [as a Rights Now! Peer Educator], I hope to give back to my community and set a better path for others,” she concludes. Read the full blog post on Legal Momentum’s website at www.legalmomentum.org/blog/aware.