Yetta Kurland

Civil rights attorney, educator, radio host, small business owner and community activist

YETTA KURLAND is a civil rights attorney, educator, radio host, small business owner and community activist who has been empowering our community for over two and a half decades.

In 1993, Yetta founded Hello World Language Center, a progressive school in New York City for language and culture studies that continues to draw students from around the world to New York. Based on this ground breaking work, she was invited to teach as an Adjunct Professor at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education, where she prepared fellow educators to teach in the New York City public schools, and beyond. She has also taught, as a visiting professor, in South Korea.

In 2001, Yetta started a Civil Rights law firm focusing on the needs of New York’s LGBTQ community. As the firm’s Senior Partner, she has won numerous landmark decisions, including a decision to allow same sex couples to change their last names based on their relationship as domestic partners as well as the right for LGBTQ activists to protest anti-gay policies. But Kurland’s work extends far beyond the LGBTQ community. Kurland has also represented community members fighting the closure of St. Vincent ‘s Hospital and activists protesting the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. She’s been a lead attorney defending the free speech rights of protesters from the 2004 Republican National Convention to the Occupy Wall Street movement and currently sits on the Executive Committee of the NYC Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. In 2005 she brought suit against the New York City Fire Department on behalf of several women EMS workers alleging wrongful promotional practices. Her firm, The Kurland Group, is recognized as one of New York’s premier Civil Rights firms.

A founding Board Member of Marriage Equality New York PAC, Kurland has been at the center of the campaign for Marriage Equality and virtually every other fight for LGBTQ equality over the past two decades. More than that, Kurland is a key figure in building bridges between the LGBTQ community, communities of color, low-income communities and other under represented communities on a wide range of social justice issues. Most recently she’s been active in efforts to curb the Stop and Frisk policies in New York City. She also sits on the board of HollaBackNYC, an organization working to fight street harassment.

Yetta is also the host of Yetta Kurland LIVE!, a popular weekly progressive talk radio show on WWRL 1600 AM. The program focuses on Civil Rights and Social Justice issues in New York City. Guests have included prominent journalists, activists and political leaders.

A lifelong New Yorker for 44 years, Yetta graduated summa cum laude from SUNY Buffalo in 1990 with a B.A. in Women’s Studies. She went on to receive an M.A. in US-Asian Studies and a Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School in 1997. She currently resides in Chelsea with her Italian Greyhounds Salvatore and Luca.