Interviewed by Joel Fox
Rice's race for excellence began at home: Her father broke racial barriers as a U.S. Air Force major, and her mother imbued her with a passion for learning and culture. Her worldview was shaped by moving to 17 different homes during her childhood, including periods in England and Japan. After college at Harvard and law school at NYU, where she spent summers working on high-profile death penalty litigation for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Rice began the work that would win her national acclaim for her stirring defense of civil rights.
Over the course of her career, the "Lady Lawyer" (as Rice would come to be known to the Los Angeles gang members with whom she struck a pioneering partnership) would take on racism and sexism in the LAPD, a transit system that tried to ignore its poorest users, and a public school system that Rice and her cohorts deemed inadequate. But she is perhaps best known for the report she co-wrote that has revolutionized the city's law enforcement policies and outreach to gangs.
Her constant involvement with the LAPD ultimately yielded the consummate reward: her very own parking space at headquarters. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck calls Rice "the conscience of the city."
Rice was interviewed about her book and her stories of life in the trenches of civil rights law by Joel Fox, who has been an opinion-maker and a unique voice in California politics for decades.
CONNIE RICE has received more than 50 major awards for her leadership and her non-traditional approaches to litigating major cases involving police misconduct, employment discrimination and fair public resource allocation.
JOEL FOX operates Joel Fox Consulting, a public affairs/political consulting firm, and is an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Public Policy and president of the Small Business Action Committee. He worked for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association for 19 years, serving as its president from 1986 to 1998. A co-publisher and editor-in-chief of www.foxandhoundsdaily.com, he has written hundreds of opinion pieces as well as fiction and nonfiction books, and has served on a number of high-profile state commissions.