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Social Justice Monday: Staying Alive on the Inside: Working with Children and Youth in Immigration Detention

Monday, Apr 15, 2019
12:00 PM - 12:50 PM PDT
Room C5Map Location
This event does not require an RSVP.

The Latinx Law Student Association presents

 Staying Alive on the Inside: Working with Children and Youth in Immigration Detention

Monday, April 15, 2019

Noon – 12:50 p.m.

Sullivan Hall, Room C5

Lunch Provided 

Please join Molly Matter ’15 as she tell stories of her personal experience with asylum-seeking refugees at a detention center in Arizona as well as at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. Last August, Ms. Matter volunteered with the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law to take declarations from children either still separated from their parents or who had come to the country as minors. There are well over 15,000 children in what Ms. Matter calls prison, "places that function and appear exactly the same as punitive centers". Ms. Matter's presentation will address the historical context of what is currently happening at the southern border; provide a political and economic framework to understand it; explain what the current rights of asylum-seeking children are within the U.S. and in other countries; discuss laws that govern the protection of children; and share some personal stories from inside the prisons. Due to ongoing litigation with the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, Ms. Matter cannot disclose specific accounts from the children she interviewed at the border. However, she will speak on her work overall and share stories from her work at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma with detainees on a hunger strike. Ms. Matter hopes that attendees will leave with one practical task of service and direct action. 

Molly Peach Matter ’15 is sole proprietor of Amend Law LLC, a community lawyering practice focused on voting rights and human rights law. She serves as chair-elect for the Civil Rights Law Section of the WSBA. Prior to practicing law, Ms. Matter spent two decades community organizing and teaching undoing institutional racism. She has worked with the ACLU and the Washington Defenders Association to pass voting rights restoration legislation for formerly incarcerated. During her internship with Washington State Supreme Court Justice Steven González, Ms. Matter worked on the majority decision for the first state supreme court ruling nationwide to hold that child sex trafficking website was not entitled to immunity under the federal Communications Decency Act. During and after law school, Ms. Matter worked with renowned voting rights leader Joaquin G. Avila at the National Voting Rights Advocacy Initiative housed at Seattle University School of Law. In 2017, she investigated voter suppression in the poorest city in Washington State, which resulted in Secretary of State oversight and the success of a Latino labor organizer as mayor. She is currently co-counsel in Higginson v. Becerra (with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice LA) defending the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), the first state voting rights legislation drafted by Joaquin G. Avila. Ms. Matter also provides pro bono work for the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, interviewing children and minors detained and separated after the Zero Tolerance Policy and provides free services for NWDC detainees. Ms. Matter’s scholarship focuses on the dangers of colorblind jurisprudence, Article III Standing, and repairing the federal Voting Rights Act. 

Social Justice Monday is an organized, weekly series hosted by the Access to Justice Institute in partnership with students, student organizations, and other departments across the law school. If you are interested in organizing a Social Justice Monday for the 2019-2020 academic year, please contact Abby Goldy at