Today I have the privilege of introducing you to one of the most fascinating men I’ve never met (in person, that is). James “Jim” Roth spent thirty years of his life as an attorney fighting for human rights both in the United States and internationally. He’s helped start multiple nonprofits in Minnesota including the Center for Victims of Torture and The Advocates for Human Rights. He currently serves on the board at One Voice, Mixed Chorus in Minnesota.
One Voice Mixed Chorus is Minnesota’s only – and one of the nation’s largest – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight allies (LGBTA) chorus. Founded in 1988, One Voice has been “building community and creating social change by raising our voices in song” for 30 years.
One Voice commissioned and performed an Oratorio by Steve Milloy on the life and work of Bayard Rustin, the black gay activist who was the primary organizer for Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington in 1963. It was performed in January 2017. It has since been performed by six other choruses. It was scheduled to be performed again at the GALA Festival in 2020 that has now been rescheduled for 2021.
As you can imagine, the pandemic has affected One Voice Mixed Chorus’ ability to practice and perform; however, they have found creative ways to stay connected and continue to spread joy throughout the state.
Jim has been a founding member of a variety of nonprofit boards and has served on numerous others. His passion for board service is only surpassed by his passion for human rights!
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About James “Jim” Roth
James Roth is a retired attorney, long-time human rights activist, board member and writer. He was a litigator with emphasis on employment law, discrimination and sexual harassment. He was a co-founder of Advocates for Human Rights and founding member of the Center for Victims of Torture and served on the boards and in leadership positions for many years. He also represented small non-profits including Center School and Metro Deaf School as their attorney and assisted in their founding and development.
He was appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court to serve on the Legal Services Advisory Committee which doled out funds from the Minnesota Legislature to pro bono legal service groups. He has served on numerous boards, including One Voice Mixed Chorus, Minnesota’s LGBTA mixed chorus. He is also serving on the planning committee for GALA Choruses for its next festival now scheduled In Minneapolis in 2021.
He advises other non-profits including HECUA, Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs. He is mentoring University of Minnesota Law School students on an advocacy and lobbying project on socially responsible investing for the Minnesota State Board of Investment. He lobbies on human rights and foreign policy issues at the local, state and federal and international levels, writing policy briefs and drafting proposed bills.
He wrote an initial draft of an anti-torture bill, lobbied with several groups including the Center for Victims of Torture, consulted with the Senate Intelligence Committee, and celebrated with colleagues when it was signed into law by President Obama the day before Thanksgiving, 2015. He is currently working along with community groups with members of the Minnesota Legislature and Minneapolis City Council on proposed police reforms in response to the killing of George Floyd.
Connect with One Voice Mixed Chorus in Minnesota
- Organization Website: http://www.onevoicemn.org/
- Donate: http://www.onevoicemn.org/support-one-voice/donate/donation-form/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onevoicemn/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/OneVoiceMN
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/OneVoiceMixedChorus
Mentioned in this episode:
- The Advocates for Human Rights: https://www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org/
- The Center for Victims of Torture: https://www.cvt.org/
- HECUA: https://hecua.org/
The Minnesota Human Rights Model:
University Engagement at the United Nations
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