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When Laura Coates joined the Department of Justice as a prosecutor, she wanted to advocate for the most vulnerable among us. But the realities of the courtroom — and the tension between what is right and what is lawful — quickly came into focus for Coates as she watched countless people either abuse or be abused by power in the U.S. court system. In her new book, Just Pursuit: A Black Prosecutor’s Fight for Fairness, Coates confronts a behemoth of a question: Does the pursuit of justice create injustice, particularly for Black and Brown people? For Black women and mothers?
Coates shares vignettes of her courtroom experiences, revealing how Black communities are policed differently, how Black cases are prosecuted differently, and how Black defendants are judged differently. She points out that the court system seems to be one of the only places where minorities are overrepresented as Black and Brown defendants continue to fill — and overfill — U.S. prisons. Coates brings awareness to the injustices within the many moving parts of the justice system and draws necessary attention to the seemingly impossible situations she and her colleagues face each day.
Laura Coates is a CNN senior legal analyst, SiriusXM host, and adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law. A former federal prosecutor, Coates served as Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and a Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, specializing in the enforcement of voting rights throughout the United States. Coates has written for The Washington Post and the Boston Herald and is also the author of You Have the Right: A Constitutional Guide to Policing the Police (2016). She lives in Washington, D.C. with her family.
Angela Jones, J.D. is co-founder and managing partner of the Black Future Co-op Fund, Washington’s first cooperative philanthropy created by and for Black people to ignite Black generational wealth, health, and well-being. She is an experienced leader in systemic change that leads to positive and sustainable impact for students, families, and communities. Her passion, service, and leadership in Washington’s public education systems spans more than 25 years. Angela currently serves as the director of the Washington State Initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and previously served as the CEO of Washington STEM, working to promote equitable access and opportunities in STEM education.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle. This event is sponsored by The Boeing Company.