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Do We Have What We Need to Protect Our Communities? Let’s Hear from Top Lawyers

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 -
9:30am to 11:30am PST
Northern California Grantmakers
160 Spear Street, Suite 360, San Francisco, CA 94105
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The impact of the national elections will have far-reaching effects at the state and local levels, putting both communities and institutions on high alert. Here in California, and particularly in the Bay Area, what do we need to anticipate about the policy and legal advocacy landscape? What are the key challenges and threats ahead?

We will take a look at how organizations are preparing to defend the civil rights of the most vulnerable members of our communities, including undocumented immigrants, and people from Muslim countries, and other communities that will be impacted by the myriad changes shaping up in Washington. We will have the opportunity to learn about the multiple strategies being planned and deployed, and what coordination is needed to build both cross-issue and cross-community efforts.


Aarti Kohli is the Interim Executive Director of Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus. She landed in Queens, NY as a seven-year-old with her family and saw first-hand what it means to be a struggling immigrant in the U.S. She is currently the Interim Executive Director at Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, the first organization in the country to represent and promote the legal and civil rights of Asian and Pacific Islander communities. At Advancing Justice-ALC she oversees key program areas including National Security and Civil Rights, Immigration, and Criminal Justice Reform. She also helps guide the state and national policy work of the Advancing Justice affiliation with partners in LA, Chicago, Atlanta and Washington DC.

Formerly, she was the Director of Immigration Policy at the Warren Institute at UC Berkeley School of Law. Prior to her work in California, she worked in Washington, DC, as Judiciary Committee counsel to Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA) and as Assistant Legislative Director at UNITE union where she lobbied on behalf of low-income garment workers who were primarily immigrant women. 

Connie Malloy was appointed Portfolio Director at The James Irvine Foundation in 2016, after serving as Program Director and Senior Program officer for the California Democracy program.

Connie oversees the Foundation’s statewide grantmaking initiatives in voter and civic engagement, elections policies and practices, and immigrant integration, and leads emerging efforts to expand the voice and influence of low-wage workers.

Connie serves as a commissioner for the first-ever California Citizens Redistricting Commission. In 2011, the commission implemented Propositions 11 and 20 resulting in Assembly, Senate, Congressional, and Board of Equalization districts to guide elections for ten years. She also was recently appointed to the national Funders Committee for Civic Participation.

Before joining Irvine, Connie was senior director of programs for Urban Habitat and oversaw the Regional Sustainability Initiative at Redefining Progress.  Earlier in her career she worked at a local United Way, as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia, and as a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development fellow.

Abdi Soltani has served as the Executive Director of the ACLU of Northern California since April 2009.

A card-carrying member of the ACLU for many years, Abdi has previously served as executive director of Californians for Justice, the Campaign for College Opportunity and at PARSA Community Foundation.

During his time at the ACLU of Northern California, Abdi has pursued a number of strategic priorities, including strengthening the ACLU’s presence in the Central Valley, expanding the ACLU’s capacity on state policy in Sacramento, and increasing statewide collaboration with the ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Focused primarily on the overall strategy and direction of the organization, Abdi has gotten involved in a few areas of the program directly. He served on the Executive Committee of the Proposition 34 ballot measure campaign which sought to replace the death penalty in 2012, helped convene the Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy with Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, and is currently leading a project to examine campaign finance policy.

Before coming to the ACLU, Abdi served as a community organizer and led a number of policy campaigns in California. As a leader in the No on 54 Campaign in 2003, he helped defeat a proposition aimed at significantly weakening racial equality.

Abdi is a graduate of Stanford University, where he studied biology. He was awarded the John Gardner Public Service Fellowship in 1995, the Gerbode Foundation Fellowship in 2002 and the Levi Strauss Foundation Pioneer in Justice Fellowship in 2010. He currently serves on advisory boards of Pars Equality Center, Educations for Fair Consideration, and the Public Policy Institute of California.

Target Audience 

This program is open to NCG members and non-member funders. If you are not a member of NCG, please register by emailing


This program is sponsored by the James Irvine Foundation, Rosenberg Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, and the van Löben Sels/RembeRock Foundation.