Dialogues on Freedom

The committee develops, promotes, and administers discussions in high school classrooms throughout Los Angeles County that educate on and critically examine the Constitutional civil liberties and values fundamental to the American system of government.  Founded following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and to honor Constitution Day, the materials are revised yearly in light of current events and issues.  Dialogues are conducted by teams of volunteer lawyers and judges.




MARCH 14-15

Click Here to Fill Out Our Volunteer Participation Form





Inspiring and educating students about the law and their constitutional freedoms 

LACBA proudly announces a new collaboration with the Constitutional Rights Foundation to broaden the reach of the Dialogues program. This important program fosters conversation and debate focused on the preservation of American liberties and values. Volunteer lawyers and judges lead Dialogues sessions at high schools across Los Angeles County. Your participation will provide students the chance to meet and interact with lawyers and judges, many for the first time, while engaging in lively and timely discussions about their constitutional rights and protections.



Held on March 15 and 16 at Public High Schools throughout Southern California

Commemorating the tragedy of September 11, 2001, the need to inspire and educate our young people about the law and constitutional freedoms has never been greater.

The program reached 50 classrooms in 19 schools throughout Los Angeles County, and is a true collaboration with the courts.

"Our Court and judges are honored to participate in the Dialogues on Freedom program. Our judicial system, and our community, directly benefit when all citizens, but especially young adults, better understand and appreciate the impact of the Constitution on our daily lives and freedoms.” - Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Daniel J. Buckley."

Students Debate the Balance of Personal Freedom and Security with Judges and Lawyers

On March 15 & 16, 2018, 110 volunteer judges and attorneys led a record 2,800 high school students in classroom debates about freedom, civil liberties and the American system of government as part of the Dialogues on Freedom, in collaboration with the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF),the Los Angeles Superior Court and Los Angeles Unified School District.  Founded in 2002 by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Dialogues on Freedom was created to provide students with an opportunity to explore the concepts of freedom, law and justice by exploring scenarios that students might experience at school, at home or in their neighborhoods.  For many of these students, it was the first time they were able to interact with judges and attorneys in a casual atmosphere.

This was the 17th year for LACBA’s Dialogues on Freedom program, and the first year in partnership with CRF, with attorneys and judges fostering lively classroom debates on free speech, the right to privacy, dress codes and social media topics that are interesting and relevant in students’ daily lives. There are no wrong or right answers. Students have an opportunity to share their opinions with each other as to whether teachers, principals, city officials or police have the right and/or obligation to intervene in situations students view as an infringement on their personal freedom.

This year’s prompts include:

  • Kneeling for the National Anthem: Do high school athletes have the right to respectfully protest the National Anthem at sporting events?;

  • “High” School Spirit: A student cannot participate in senior activities because the principal claims he disgraced the school and promoted marijuana use by adding a marijuana leaf over the word “high” on a high school t-shirt;

  • Hotel Search on Prom Night: School authorities alert police to break up an “after party” because after last year’s party, drunk students were injured in a car accident;

  • Spyware on School Computers: Do schools have the right to load spyware onto laptops that are part of a laptop loaner program which might record student activities at home?;

  • Hate Speech on the Baseball Field: A student is suspended for yelling at an openly gay pitcher that he “throws like a girl,” in violation of the school’s rules against biased remarks based on gender and sexual orientation.

Thank you to all participants:

A special thank you to our Dialogues on Freedom Committee:

Hon. Kevin S. Rosenberg


Rasha G. Shields


Mark Elinson


Hon. Steve Kim


Aaron K. Tso


Thank you to the schools, teachers, and volunteers that participated:

Participating Volunteers
Valerie Aenlle-Rocha
David Angeloff
Keri Axel
Robyn Aronson
Matthew Barragan
Benjamin Barron
Matilda Barseghian
Elayne Berg-Wilson
Judge Brett Bianco
Timothy Biche
Jon Birdt
Anna Brief
John Brockmeier
Tyler Brown
Thomas Butler
Andrea Caster
Irene Chavez
Michael Cobden
Jeff Cohen
Judge Firdaus Dordi
Percy Duran
Judge Emilie Elias (ret.)
Kelly Emling
Toni Estaville
Rachel Farzam
Ashley Feder
Scott Fruchter
Elisa Fernandez
Judge Maame Frimpong
Patricia Fullinwider
Jonathan Galatzan
Josh Geller
Peter Glick
Michael Goldstein
Carolina Gottardi Gomes
Joseph Gonzalez
Howard Gould
Maureen Green
Gavin Greene
Ely Grinvald
Joshua Groban
Judge Tamara Hall
Donald Hammond
Amos Hartston
Steven Hauser
Dennis Hernandez
Judge Peter Hernandez
Kevin Hosn
Jonathan Huh
Mily Huntley
Jeanne Irving
Tyler Johnson
Tal Kahana
Barak Kamelgard
Jeremy Kauffman
Mimi Keller
Louis Kempinsky
Natasha Khamashta
H. John Khoukaz
Tim Laske
Carolina Lugo
Jena MacCabe
Angela Machala
Adrienne McKay
Judge Klint McKay
Nancy Mikhail
Mona Miller
Commissioner Marilyn Mordetzky
Michael Novicoff
Joh Oakley
Kenneth O’Brien
Alfonso Ortega
Cathy Ostiller
Richard Park
Ilona Petlyn
Geoff Plourde
Gabe Podesta
Judge Kevin Rosenberg
Judge Jean Rosenbluth
Judge Thomas Rubinson
Karen Ruckert
Chris Bou Saeed
Judge Valerie Salkin
Keith Scheuer
Rasha Gerges Shields
Aerica Siegel
Erik Silber
Clara Slifkin
Nancy Solomon
Arpa Stepanian
Hannah Sweiss
Monica Tait
Gary Tavetian
Michael Tenenbaum
Whitney Cantrell Thompson
Judge Shelly Torrealba
William Tortu
Aaron Tso
Judge Patrick Walsh
Jeff Weiss
Aaron Weissman
Tracy Wilkison
Jennifer Williams
Geoff Wilson
Judge Otis Wright


Participating High Schools

Arroyo High School
4921 Cedar Ave.
El Monte, CA 91732

Banning High School
1527 Lake Avenue
Wilmington, CA 90744

Belmont High School
1575 W 2nd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Dorsey High School
3537 Farmdale Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90016

Eagle Rock High School
1750 Yosemite Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90041

Esteban Torres Social Justice Leadership Academy
4211 Dozier St.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Fairfax High School
7850 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School
1200 Plaza Del Sol E
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Hamilton High School
2955 S Robertson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Lincoln High School
3501 N Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90031

Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES)
5931 W. 18th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90035

Los Angeles High
4650 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019

Maywood Center for Enriched Studies
5800 King Ave
Maywood, CA 90270

Monroe High School
9229 Haskell Ave
North Hills, CA 91343

Narbonne High School
24300 S Western Ave
Harbor City, CA 90710

San Fernando High School
11133 O'Melveny Ave
San Fernando, CA 91340

Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies (SOCES)
18605 Erwin St.
Tarzana, CA 91335

University High School
11800 Texas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Wilson High School
4500 Multnomah St.
Los Angeles, CA 90032

Dorothy Kirby Center
1500 S. Mc Donnell Ave.
Commerce, CA 90022


We especially want to thank all of the volunteer judicial officers and attorneys who
participated in LACBA's Dialogues on Freedom in 2018!