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Pittsburgh NAACP Enhances Citizen Complaint Process

M. Gayle Moss, president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the NAACP, has seen her idea become reality. Moss has been able to forge a unique partnership with the Duquesne University School of Law. This new relationship will both strengthen and sustain the NAACP’s complaint intake and referral system for civil rights and other legal complaints. Moss consulted attorney Eugene Berry and his staff at Berry and Associates law firm, who recommended that the NAACP approach Duquesne University School of Law for assistance.

“This collaboration, which is a first for the NAACP, will provide hope and ensure our clients that they can and will get the assistance they need,” said Gayle Moss. “This looks so promising that other chapters of the NAACP may consider similar partnerships using this as a model.”

Each semester, students enrolled in the Center for the Bill of Rights, Civil Rights Litigation Clinic at Duquesne University’s School of Law will regularly work with and train NAACP board members, volunteer staff and consultants at the organization’s Hill District office. Together, they will evaluate complaints that have been referred to the clinic through the NAACP’s screening process, and refine and systematize the organization’s current complaint intake, investigation and referral process.

The Pittsburgh chapter of the NAACP documents approximately 15 complaints a month related to issues of employment, education, housing and civil rights among others.  The Duquesne Law students will help to develop a computer database and desk reference to further support the NAACP’s intake process.

“The Pittsburgh Chapter of the NAACP itself has long provided a vital service to the community by investigating citizens’ complaints and seeking to refer cases for legal representation and redress,” said Tracey McCants Lewis, assistant director of clinical legal education at Duquesne. “The new Center for the Bill of Rights, Civil Rights Litigation Clinic will use its civil rights litigation expertise in an active collaboration with the NAACP to refine and systematize the NAACP’s complaint intake, investigation and referral processes.”

About the Center for the Bill of Rights, Civil Rights Litigation Clinic
The Center for the Bill of Rights, Civil Rights Litigation Clinic at the Duquesne University School of Law operates a semester-long in-house clinic that engages in civil rights litigation and advocacy. Limited to 10 students each semester, eligible law students have the opportunity to gain practical experience researching and litigating civil rights claims, and participate in weekly training sessions addressing the applicable substantive and procedural law while working under the supervision of Adjunct Professor David Millstein, L’70.  David has always been a dedicated and generous alumnus of the law school, as well as an accomplished litigator, for many years,” said Professor Margaret K. Krasik, Director of clinical legal education at Duquesne.  “We are happy to have him directing the work of the Civil Rights Clinic at the same time that we begin this partnership with the NAACP.”

About the NAACP
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the oldest, largest and strongest civil rights organization in the United States.  The Pittsburgh branch of NAACP was organized in 1915, six years after the inception of the national NAACP.

The mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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