A Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell

(San Francisco, CA, February 23, 2011)—This Sunday is the memorial service for Patricia Rose “Patti” Roberts, an attorney and founding board member of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). Patti, who devoted her life to helping those most in need of legal assistance, died unexpectedly in early January.

Patti began her career working on behalf of prisoners at the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), and remained active with the organization, serving as president of the Bay Area chapter and on the local NLG board. While continuing to be a member of the civil rights committee of the NLG, she was heavily involved in the guild’s mentoring program. Patti also founded and co-directed the Comparable Worth Project in Oakland, which pioneered much of the early legal work addressing pay inequity rooted in gender and race bias. In 1977, Patti became a founding board member of the Lesbian Rights Project, later re-named the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and served as NCLR interim executive director. She began private practice as an employment discrimination attorney in 1990 and also taught LGBT, legal, and labor studies at City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University Extension. During her entire career, Patti remained an outspoken advocate for feminist and LGBTQ rights.

A memorial service is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 27, 2011.

Please visit her memorial website for more information.

Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell:

“Patti stepped in to help NCLR at some very key moments. Early on she was a member of the founding Board of what was then the Lesbian Rights Project and later she was our interim executive director at a critical juncture. She loved the organization and we adored her. Patti had that rare combination of smarts, passion, and caring. She never tired of the fight for real justice for all and her life was committed to that goal. Her loss is a shock and leaves a void in our community and our hearts.”

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.