Live via zoom at Wednesday, September 27, 2023 at 10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern. On-demand (recorded) format available here.

To register. Please click here.

Program Description:

The Government Accounting Office report released in May 2019 found evidence that black and Hispanic troops were more likely than their white peers to be investigated by military commanders and tried in courts-martial, but not any more likely to be found guilty. The report also found inconsistencies in how racial data related to court cases is collected and chastised military leaders for being slow to react to the report’s recommendations a year later. Reuters reports that servicemembers rarely file formal Equal Opportunity complaints compared to their civilian employee counterparts within the Defense Department. This is due to the widespread and not inaccurate view that EO complaints are largely ineffective and result in retaliation.
A 2020 Military Times poll found that 57% of servicemembers of color said they had witnessed incidents of racism or racist ideology. In addition, 48% of all participants listed white nationalists as a major national security threat. This was confirmed when it turned out that 1 in 5 defendants in capitol riot cases served in the military. The new instruction places the onus of detection and enforcement on commanders. While there are reporting requirements for local commands, it’s not clear the commander must report if she or he doesn’t think active participation or real extremism is occurring. This will make for uneven enforcement and allow commanders with extremist sympathies to avoid action.

This CLE will focus on:
1. The reality and extent of racism in the military, DoD claims of equality notwithstanding
2. Personal experiences with racism and raising challenges to racist behavior
3. The Military Equal Opportunity complaint process, including definitions and standards, procedures, appeals and
the problem of retaliation
4. How practitioners can strengthen MEO and other complaints and provide support to clients in these cases.

Our presenters:

Photo of Jonathan Hutto, Sr.Jonathan W. Hutto, Sr. is an anti-oppression community organizer and author who has made substantial contributions within both non-profits and grassroots organizations for over a quarter century. Jonathan embraced his calling as an Undergraduate Student at Howard University in the late 1990’s. In 2006, as an enlisted member of the United States Navy, he co-founded the Appeal For Redress from the Iraq War, which was awarded the 2007 Letelier Moffitt Human Rights Award from the Institute for Policy Studies. He is also the author of Anti-War Soldier: How to Dissent with the Ranks of the Military.


photo of Kathleen Gilberd

Kathleen Gilberd is a legal worker focusing in the areas of military administrative law and discharge review. She is the executive director of the Military Law Task Force and serves on the board of directors of the national GI Rights Network. She is the author (with Marjorie Cohn) of Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent and was also a contributing author in Clark Boardman Callahan’s Sexual Orientation and the Law. Kathleen is a frequent contributor to MLTF’s quarterly journal, On Watch, as well as an editor for the publication, writing on military sexual assault and sexual harassment

Photo: James M. Branum

James M. Branum has practiced military law (including court-martials, administrative boards, and discharge upgrade boards) since 2006. He is a member of the steering committee of the MLTF and is a past chair. He is a graduate of Oklahoma City University of School of Law, and is the author of the book US Army AWOL: A Practice Guide and Formbook. Outside of legal work, he is an interfaith minister, peace activist, and is the editor of Humanistic Judaism magazine.


How to attend: The cost to register is $50 for attorneys seeking CLE credit scholarships are available for MLTF members willing to take at least one pro bono referral case from the MLTF in the coming year. Donations of any amount are encouraged from non-lawyer attendees.

To register. Please click here.

For those watching the live zoom webcast, the link is here:

CLE Credit:

  • California: This CLE is co-sponsored by the SF Bay area chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and is approved for 1 hours of CLE credit.
  • Other jurisdictions: Attorneys in other states will be given a “uniform application for accreditation of CLE credit” which can be submitted to one’s state bar. We cannot guarantee that a state bar will approve the CLE credit but most states will likely do so (Texas is a notable exception). Your state may also require you to pay a nominal fee for submitting this form, which would be your responsibility.


  • Will be available shortly before the presentation.

Sponsors: This program was made possible for the funding of the NLG foundation and our co-sponsor the SF Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.