2003 Founders' Celebration Events

The Fourth Annual Peter M. Cicchino Awards Event:
Nickel & Dimed Low Wage Work & the Fight for Jobs With Justice

April 4, 2003


The annual Peter Cicchino Awards Program is held every year in honor of a beloved former Washington College of Law Professor, Peter M. Cicchino, who passed away in 2000. Professor Cicchino was both a brilliant scholar and teacher and a brave and creative public interest lawyer. This program celebrates Professor Cicchino's outstanding devotion to the public interest in all aspects of his life by recognizing students and alumni who have demonstrated a similar dedication in their work, and by engaging in a substantive discussion of a theme in public interest law to which Professor Cicchino was especially committed.

This year's panel discussion, "'Nickel and Dimed:' Low Wage Work and the Fight For Jobs with Justice" addressed the status of those who work for minimum wage or less, in an America where the gap between rich and poor is growing, and government support for the low wage worker is shrinking. The theme was inspired by Professor Cicchino's record of advocacy for the dispossessed, and drawn from the title of the recent work by our keynote speaker, Barbara Ehrenreich, noted observer of social and economic inequality in America. Ms. Ehrenreich and our other distinguished panelists commented on how low wage workers struggle to maintain health and shelter at home, and dignity and fair treatment at work.

Agenda

Welcome & Announcement of Award Recipients
Claudio Grossman
Dean, Washington College of Law

Keynote Speaker
BARBARA EHRENREICH
Author, NICKEL AND DIMED: ON (NOT) GETTING BY IN AMERICA

Commentators
LETICIA VASQUEZ
Worker Advocate, D.C. Employment Justice Center
(WCL, Class of 2000)

CHRISTINE WEBBER
Partner, Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll
Counsel for Plaintiffs, Dukes, et al v. Wal-Mart Stores

JOAN WILLIAMS
Director, Program on Gender, Work & Family
Professor of Law, Washington College of Law

CHARITY WILSON
Lead, Equity Issues
AFL-CIO, Department of Public Policy

SUSAN BENNETT
Director, Clinical Program
Professor of Law, Washington College of Law
(Moderator)

A reception and presentation of the Peter Cicchino Awards followed in the dining hall at the conclusion of the panel discussion.

The Awards
The Peter M. Cicchino Awards for Outstanding Advocacy in the Public Interest are given annually to three persons during our Founder's Celebration: a current second or third-year WCL student, an alumnus whose work is primarily in the United States, and an alumnus whose work is primarily abroad or in international law. The Cicchino Awards recognize and honor those students and alumni whose devotion to and creative service in the public interest exemplify the highest ideals of the Washington College of Law. For more information: www.petercicchino.org.


PETER M. CICCHINO

Peter M. Cicchino was an Assistant Professor of law at the Washington College of Law, where he taught onstitutional Law, Torts, Jurisprudence, and Sexual Orientation and the Law. He joined the WCL faculty in 1998 after a distinguished career in public interest law. He founded and directed the Lesbian and Gay Youth Project of the Urban Justice Center, and, in that capacity for four years, provided legal representation for lesbian and gay street youth in New York City. He also served as a staff attorney in the national office of the ACLU and clerked for Justice Alan Handler of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

In January 2000, the WCL faculty voted unanimously (with Professor Cicchino abstaining) to create these public interest awards in his name. Professor Cicchino was a cherished figure at WCL and in the national public interest law community. He passed away on July 8, 2000.