Live podcast hosted by Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and students: Tova Love Kaplan, Jorne Gilbert and Jewel Gilbert
Topic: Live Podcast: The Communist Party of China vs. Our U.S. Constitution
When: Tuesday 6/13/2023 at 2:00 pm ET
Join us weekly as we chat with Constitutional experts on hot-topic issues via Zoom! The audience is not on camera but is encouraged to ask questions via the Q&A.
Meet the Guest
Chen Guangcheng, known as “the barefoot lawyer,” was born in 1971 in a remote village in Shandong, China. The son of a poor farmer, Chen was left permanently blind by illness as an infant, and his family had few resources to support him. He took an interest in the law, but, being blind, was not permitted to study for a law degree. Over time, with the help of his close family, he taught himself law and began working on legal cases related to issues of civil rights and disability. His successful lawsuit against the Beijing Metro Corporation resulted in free ridership for the blind across China. The international media took notice, eventually dubbing him “the barefoot lawyer,” referencing the rural “barefoot doctors” of the Cultural Revolution. In 2005, Newsweek selected him for its cover.
His legal work eventually led to his investigation into the violent One Child Policy. As a consequence, the authorities began a period of harassment and detention that would last over seven years, including repeated house arrests, black jails, and a four-year prison sentence. After nearly two years of brutal detention in his own home, he escaped his village, later seeking safety at the American embassy in Beijing. High-level diplomatic negotiations secured his travel to the US, where he became a student at NYU Law School in 2012. In 2014, he joined the Catholic University of America as a distinguished fellow.
Chen has been the recipient of numerous awards including Time Magazine 100 Most Influential List (2006), The Ramon Magsaysay Award (2007), The Lantos Human Rights Prize (2012), the UK Parliament’s Westminster Award (2013), the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy Courage Award (2014), the Leopoldo Lopez Freedom and Democracy Award from Kenyon College (2021), the Bradley Prize (2022) and honorary doctor of laws from the Institute of World Politics (2023). He serves as Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Human Rights at the Catholic University of America (www.catholic.edu/chr). He has a weekly podcast called The Barefoot Lawyer Reports about the Chinese Communist Party’s suppression of democracy at home and its undermining of democracy in the United States. . .
Mr. Chen’s memoir, The Barefoot Lawyer: A Blind Man’s Fight for Justice and Freedom in China, was released by Henry Holt Publishers in 2015.
Meet the Hosts
Actress Janine Turner is famous for her role as Maggie O’Connell in television’s Northern Exposure. She is the Founder and Co-President of Constituting America which launched in 2010. She is still acting but is also actively teaching kids about the U.S. Constitution and has given over 540 speeches to classrooms across the country.
Cathy Gillespie is the Chair of Constituting America, a former Congressional Chief of Staff and former Commissioner of the White House Fellows Commission. She is currently serving as one of 16 private citizens serving on the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, helping organize the celebration of our country’s 250th birthday in 2026!
Tova Love Kaplan is a student at Harvard University. She currently serves as the National Youth Director for Constituting America and runs the National Youth Advisory Council. She is a three-time winner of the “We The Future” Contest and is passionate about educating and empowering young people to use their constitutional rights!
Jorne Gilbert is a recent graduate of Moravian University where he designed a major entitled Dramatic Production and Musical Performance. He used what he learned to further develop the charitable organization Sing For America which he co-founded to produce musicals portraying the art of Truth and Light.
Jewel Gilbert is Executive Producer of Sing for America, a charity founded by him and his family. Sing for America reveals the Art of Truth and Light through live performance. He is the Operations Director for a new business venture, J. Barker Paving. Jewel holds a BA in Musical Performance/Dramatic