National Lawyer's Guild

Disorientation 2020 Webinars Now Available!

The NLG 2020 Disorientation webinar recordings are now available! Check out the links and resources included below. 

Watch “Movement Lawyering with the NLG” and “Staying Radical in Law School” on our Vimeo page and on the NLG website. These webinars cover the culture of legal education, how to survive and thrive in law school, and how to prepare for a career as a movement lawyer!

To learn more about the themes covered in the webinars, take a look at these compilations of resources:

Legal Education and the Legal Profession

NLG Radical Law Student Manual

If you are interested in learning more about the NLG or organizing at your law school, please contact NLG Director of Research and Education Traci Yoder at traci@nlg.org.

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Walter Riley & Boots Riley: A Father-Son Discussion on the Political Moment (Moderated by Barbara Ransby)

We’re thrilled and honored to announce this exciting event as part of the 2020 digital #Law4thePeople Convention!

On Saturday, September 26 at 5pm PT/8pm ET, join us for a very special discussion between longtime NLG San Francisco Bay Area member and human rights attorney Walter Riley, and son Boots Riley, activist music artist and filmmaker (Sorry to Bother You)! This inter-generational discussion will explore the current political moment as it intersects with systemic poverty, racism, capitalism, and the human rights movement.

Moderated by historian, writer, activist and professor Barbara Ransby.

Register for #Law4thePeople to get access to this the entire schedule of events we have lined up over those two weeks! (Please note all NLG committee meetings and the governance plenary are only open to Guild members. Please visit nlg.org/join to join or renew your NLG membership to participate in these events!)

We strive to make the 2020 #Law4thePeople Convention as accessible as possible. CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) captioning will be available for all major panels, workshops, keynote speeches, CLEs and special events. In addition, we are collecting accessibility requests for NLG member meetings through attendees’ registration forms and will be fulfilling those upon request.

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Now Hiring: Temporary Program Assistant

PROGRAM ASSISTANT
Full-Time, Temporary (6 months)
National Lawyers Guild (NLG) National Office
New York, New York

PROGRAM ASSISTANT

Full-Time, Temporary (6 months)

National Lawyers Guild (NLG) National Office
New York, New York

About the NLG: The NLG is dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system. We seek to unite lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers to function as an effective force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights and the rights of ecosystems shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests.

The NLG is seeking a full-time (35 hours a week) Program Assistant to perform administrative duties to support communications, the mass defense (protest support) program, and other programming efforts as needed. Working closely with our Director of Communications and Director of Mass Defense, the Program Assistant will support the day-to-day workload of office staff.

This temporary position with a six-month term requires a detail-oriented person with strong communication skills and the ability to work well in a small, collaborative office environment. The ability to complete intricate, sometimes tedious tasks is essential. Experience working with Adobe InDesign (or similar programs), CiviCRM (or other customer relationship management platforms), and WordPress is preferred. Although the position will begin largely remotely, we are only considering applicants based in the New York City Metro area. Some responsibilities require working out of our Ridgewood, NY office. 

Job Responsibilities

The Program Assistant provides support to the following areas:

COMMUNICATIONS (approximately 60%)

with guidance from the Director of Communications

Social media

  • Schedule National Office posts on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
  • Reshare posts by NLG chapters and committees
  • Assist with tracking social media analytics

Publications

  • Proofread and copyedit newsletter articles for publication
  • Transcribe handwritten articles and poetry by people in prison
  • Add newsletter and law journal issues to website
  • Assist with formatting in InDesign

Webinars

  • Schedule programming in Zoom and coordinate logistics with panelists
  • Assist with promotion

Website

  • Add and organize content
  • Update job board
  • Update news

External communications

with guidance from Operations Director

  • Assist with donor acknowledgement
  • Assist with mailings, including fundraising solicitations and Prison Law Program correspondence

MASS DEFENSE (approximately 40%)

  • Field inquiries related to the mass defense program
  • Assist Director of Mass Defense with completing various administrative tasks, coordinating chapter needs such as legal observer trainings, and distributing manuals and other materials
  • Fulfill merchandise orders with guidance from Operations Director

Preferred Qualifications:

  • 1-3 years office experience
  • Demonstrated ability to present independent work and problem solving in a collaborative team environment
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills including ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, including a demonstrated ability to collaborate effectively with internal and external constituencies
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, G Suite, WordPress, Adobe InDesign and CiviCRM preferred
  • A commitment to social justice movements
  • Meticulous attention to detail

Work Environment
The work environment described here is representative of what an employee will encounter while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with different abilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Job largely takes place remotely, with virtual collaboration with other staff. Must be able to participate in online virtual communications including email and video conferencing used to facilitate virtual office culture and work sharing.
  • This position is full time (35 hours a week). The National Office hours are 10:30am – 5:30pm ET, Monday to Friday. Occasional work on evenings and weekends as needed.
  • Must be able to conduct business in English; however, fluency in languages other than English is a plus.
  • Some work at off-site locations required (i.e., order fulfillment at Ridgewood, NY office, dropping off packages at shipping centers); the NLG aims for accessibility and safety in any off-site location. Social distancing and mask-wearing required in any space with other employees.
  • This role requires occasional lifting and carrying of packages under 25 lbs.
  • This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers and phones. Employee is regularly required to communicate effectively via computer and phone. A reliable internet connection is necessary.

Salary and Benefits:

This is a temporary, 35 hour/week position with a salary of $25,000 for six months. Health insurance is available upon request. 

How to Apply:

Candidates should submit a letter of interest and a resume in PDF format to jobs@nlg.org by Sunday, October 4th, 2020.

The National Lawyers Guild is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. Black, Indigenous, and people of color, trans people, women, people who have lived in poverty, people with disabilities, immigrants, lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer people, and formally incarcerated people are strongly encouraged to apply.

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2020 NLG Elections

Every year following the NLG #Law4thePeople Convention, Guild membership vote on elected officer positions on the NLG National Executive Committee. Please see below for the positions available this year and the statements of candidates.

In 2020, the following offices are up for election:

President (Elect)

  • President is a four-year position and the term will end at the 2024 convention. During the first year of the term, the President-Elect will work with the current President. This position is responsible for fundraising, leading major initiatives and projects of the NLG, and chairing the National Executive Committee (NEC) and Executive Council (EC). See the President Description for more details. 

Vice-President

  • Vice-President is a three-year position and the term will end at the 2023 convention. This position supports the President in the work of fundraising, leading major initiatives and projects of the NLG, and facilitating the work of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and Executive Council (EC).

Treasurer (Elect)

  • Treasurer is a four-year position and the term will end at the 2024 convention. During the first year of the term, the Treasurer-Elect will work with the current Treasurer. The treasurer serves on the Executive Council and chairs the Finance Committee, and is responsible for the overall financial oversight of the National Office budget and fundraising. See the Treasurer Description for more details. 

2020 Candidate Statements

President

Suzanne Adely

Vice-President

Jilisa Milton

Elections Process

Unopposed elections: If candidates are unopposed, they are elected by acclamation at the plenary.

Contested elections: If the election is contested, it will go to an online ballot of the entire current membership.

Publicity & Plenary Participation

The governance plenary will take place during the convention. Candidates will be given two to three minutes to address the plenary if they choose. Candidates may use this time any way they like, and may allot part or all of this time for others to speak on their behalf.

Information for Candidates for Non-Elected or Non-National Positions

Candidates for national office which are selected by caucuses, regions, projects, task forces, or committees (e.g., National Law Student Vice President, National Legal Worker Vice President, Regional Vice Presidents, representatives from The United People of Color Caucus, and representatives from up to ten NLG projects and national committees) should refer to their respective entities for procedures and available offices.

Please email NLG Executive Director Pooja Gehi at director@nlg.org if you have any questions about elections. 

The post 2020 NLG Elections first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

#DisO2020 Webinars: Movement Lawyering with the NLG & How to Stay Radical in Law School

At the beginning of each academic year, many NLG student chapters organize “DisOrientation” events to introduce the wider student body to the NLG and “people’s lawyering” in general. For more info on DisOrientation, visit nlg.org/disorientation!

NOTE: Due to the COVID pandemic, the NLG National Office has decided to not print DisOrientation Manual this year and asks students to share our virtual resources such as the digital Disorientation Manual, Radical Law Student ManualKnow Your Rights ResourcesNLG ReviewNLG ScholarsNLG Webinars, and more available on the website. Please also check out the many resources posted on our social media accounts (InstagramTwitterNLG National and NLG Students Facebook pages) and use the hashtag #DisO2020.

Movement Lawyering with the NLG

Wednesday, September 2 @ 4pm ET/1 pm PT

Register: bit.ly/MovementLawyering (URL is case sensitive)

Description: Join NLG legal practitioners and educators for a webinar on movement lawyering and how to use the law to support social movements! These skills are often not taught in law schools, so Guild members will offer an overview of what it means to be a movement lawyer and examples of careers that are in line with these principles. 

Speakers:

  • Cait De Mott Grady (she/her) [Moderator] is the outgoing NLG Student National Vice President who works as a public defender in Detroit and loves growing giant sunflowers. Cait’s movement lawyering framework and experience are grounded in her lifetime of involvement in the Catholic Worker movement and the anti-war and anti-nuclear movement.
  • Azadeh Shahshahani (she/her) is Legal & Advocacy Director at Project South and a past president of the NLG. Azadeh has worked for 15 years in the U.S. South to protect & defend the human rights of immigrants and Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities.
  • Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan (she/her) is Senior Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF, a national racial justice and immigrants’ rights organization, and is past President of the National Lawyers Guild.
  • Elena L. Cohen (she/her) is the current president of the NLG, and a partner at a small firm focusing on the needs of LGBTQ people and people who have experienced police misconduct. 
  • Sarah David Heydemann (she/her) is an organizer turned lawyer who has worked in workers’ rights for many years, in labor unions, worker centers, civil rights non-profits and firms. She is currently Senior Counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, focusing on workplace justice issues. 
Staying Radical in Law School

Thursday, September 3 @ 4pm ET / 1pm PT

Register: bit.ly/StayingRadical (URL is case sensitive)

Description: While many people are drawn to law school initially to further social justice, law students encounter intense pressure to choose careers that have little potential to serve these ideals. The combination of student debt, the culture and pedagogy of legal education, and the discouragement of political analyses in law school undermine student goals of becoming movement lawyers. This webinar will feature NLG members who explore the practices and culture of law school to help new (and current) law students navigate a path that allows them to stay radical throughout the course of their legal education and beyond!

Speakers:

Luna Martinez (she/her) [Moderator]: NLG National Student Vice President

Pooja Gehi (she/her): NLG Executive Director. Pooja graduated from American University’s Washington College, where she chaired her law school’s NLG chapter.

Aneesa Khan (she/her): Assistant Public Defender in the Baltimore City Juvenile Division and NLG Mid-Atlantic Regional Vice President. Aneesa helped start the student NLG chapter at University of Baltimore Law and received the 2017 C.B. King Law Student Award.

Ray Rojas (he/him): Attorney in private practice and NLG Texoma Regional Vice-President.

Natsu Saito (she/her): Law professor, activist, author of Settler Colonialism, Race and the Law: Why Structural Racism Persists

The post #DisO2020 Webinars: Movement Lawyering with the NLG & How to Stay Radical in Law School first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

2020 Resolutions and Amendments

Learn more about the 2020 digital #Law4thePeople Convention and/or register at nlg.org/convention!

Each year, NLG members propose resolutions and amendments for review and vote of the full membership. In 2020, we have two proposed resolutions as well as a full update of our Constitution and Bylaws to bring them into compliance with recent amendments as well as to create internal coherence in our governing documents.

These proposed resolutions and amendments will be discussed at the convention plenary scheduled for Friday, September 25th at 12-2pm ET/9-11am PT.

Please send any friendly amendments to resolutions@nlg.org before the plenary, and submit all pro or con statements to resolutions@nlg.org by the end of the convention (Sunday, October 4).

2020 Proposed Resolutions

Resolution Supporting the Abolition of Policing submitted by NLG Anti-Racism Committee

Resolution on Non-Collaboration with Grand Juries submitted by the NLG San Francisco/Bay Area Chapter

2020 Proposed Amendments (all submitted by NLG Secretary Daniel Gregor)

Rationale and Explanation for Proposed Amendments to the NLG Constitution and Bylaws

Amendments: NLG Constitution

Amendments: NLG Bylaws

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The Road to Abolition: Honoring Dr. Angela Davis

WE’VE GOT BIG NEWS! Join us during the digital 2020 #Law4thePeople Convention as we honor scholar, activist, and author Dr. Angela Davis with the 2020 Arthur Kinoy Award!

For decades, Dr. Davis has worked to advance the mission of human rights over property interests through an intersectional approach to movements for global solidarity, prison abolition, and anti-carceral feminism.

Watch her acceptance speech as she gives her thoughts on the current political moment, and the struggles ahead.  

The event, The Road to Abolition: Honoring Dr. Angela Davis, will take place on Friday, October 2, at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT, and will be open to all 2020 #Law4thePeople convention attendees. Register for the convention now! (NLG members register here.

You may also join us in congratulating Dr. Davis by placing a message in our Annual Awards Program, or by becoming a #Law4thePeople Sponsor (all sponsorships include convention registrations and an ad in the awards program)—and support the NLG all at the same time!  

More info about the convention is available at nlg.org/convention, and information about all our awardees is available here.   We can’t wait!

In solidarity,

NLG National Office

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NLG Organizing Legal Support Ahead of 2020 RNC and DNC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: communications@nlg.org

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is preparing legal support for anticipated protests at the 2020 Republican and Democratic National Conventions taking place this month. NLG chapters in Charlotte, NC; Jacksonville, FL; and Milwaukee, WI have been coordinating with the National Office to support demonstrations in the midst of rapidly changing plans due to COVID-19. 

The NLG has provided legal assistance for RNC/DNC protests for decades. The 2020 convention season comes in the wake of an unprecedented global pandemic and violent state repression against the wave of Black Lives Matter protests that began with the police murder of George Floyd in late May. Plans for the political conventions have changed multiple times over the past few months, with both conventions eventually transitioning to a mostly digital platform. Trump’s decision to hold the RNC in person—first in Charlotte and then in Jacksonville—has caused much confusion and concern. 

Local NLG chapters are preparing an organized mass defense infrastructure of Legal Observers, jail support, arrest hotlines, and on-call defense attorneys in case of mass arrests or police violence. NLG Legal Observers monitor protests and document police misconduct at the request of local organizers. Jail support volunteers track arrestees through the criminal legal system, and support solidarity efforts for protesters being held in police custody. The NLG also helps connect volunteer criminal and civil movement lawyers with defendants to provide legal representation for cases arising out of protests.

As designated National Special Security Events, the RNC and DNC usually include intensive security and have in the past attempted to limit the constitutional rights of protesters. 

“For decades, the Republican and Democratic conventions have been flash points for mass resistance and police violence,” said Kris Hermes, NLG member and author of Crashing the Party: Legacies and Lessons from the RNC 2000. “In this moment of popular uprisings against structural racism and police violence, these conventions hold particular weight. Without fail, the NLG will be in the streets monitoring the police response and steadfastly supporting the Movement for Black Lives.”

Related: 

Featured Image: RNC Protests – Philadelphia, 2000. Brandun Kayal /  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The NLG Mass Defense Committee was formed in 1968 in response to the wave of protests during that tumultuous time. To support the NLG Mass Defense Fund and the right to protest, please donate at www.nlg.org/massdefense

The National Lawyers Guild was formed in 1937 as the nation’s first racially integrated bar association to advocate for the protection of constitutional, human and civil rights.

# # #

Member News Digest 8/13/20: Webinars, Chapter Updates, Convention, and more!

   Here’s your round-up of all the NLG’s been up to these past couple weeks!

Be sure to check out nlg.org/convention if you haven’t already—#Law4thePeople registration is now open!

Upcoming Webinars Grand Jury Repression: Preparing for Solidarity / TODAY, 6:30pm PT-8:30 pm PT

Presented by the NLG SF Bay Area Chapter. See information about additional upcoming NLG SF webinars at instagram.com/nlg_sf!

Register: bit.ly/teachin3

Both the state and federal government have historically used grand juries as a tool of repression against resistance movements. Grand juries are used to gather intelligence and information to target particular individuals who are leaders in social justice movements. Several people have already been served with grand jury subpoenas as a result of the recent uprisings. At the same, it is a historical tradition to resist grand juries and not to comply with this extrajudicial government form of repression. Sometimes this has meant going to jail in order to protect the movement. Come hear grand jury resisters speak about their experiences from lawyers who defend them and about how you can prepare to resist and act in solidarity with those who choose to do so.

Defending Voting Rights in 2020 / TOMORROW, August 14, 12pm-1:30pm ET / 9am-10:30am PT

Presented by NLG Labor & Employment Committee, co-sponsored by the NLG International Committee

Register: bit.ly/NLGLEC-VotingRights

The conversation of this panel will center around the question: “How can legal workers/attorneys/organizers help fight voter suppression and purging?” Speakers include: Greg Palast, Investigative Journalist and Author of How Trump Stole 2020; Terry Ao Minnis, Senior Director of Census & Voting Programs at Asian Americans Advancing Justice; Jeanne Mirer, Co-chair of the NLG International Committee and President of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. See Jeanne Mirer and Jerry Wallingford’s recent article on voting rights in Truthout here.  Please contact nlglabor@gmail.com if you have any questions!

Webinar Recordings Building a Culture of Resistance to State Repression (8/4/20) The NLG’s Ría-Thompson Washington and Larry Hildes joined Nelini Stamp of Working Families Party, the Catalyst Project, and activists from Charlottesville and Portland as panelists on this webinar hosted by Showing Up for Racial Justice to discuss strategies for collective resistance. Watch the recording here! Don’t Get Got: A Community Self Defense & Know Your Rights Training Watch the recording of the second session of NLG SF BA’s webinar series which includes an introductory training for organizers active in the recent uprisings. Learn how to prepare and protect yourself and your community on the street, at home, if arrested, or if visited by Federal agents. Chapter/Committee Updates NLG Pittsburgh Protest Felony Defense Fund

The NLG National Lawyers Guild – Pittsburgh Chapter established this legal defense fund at nlg.org/pghlegalfund to support activists facing “unsubstantiated felony charges.” They write: “We believe that these severe and unprovoked charges are being used to intimidate with the intention of repressing protests against police brutality in our city. 100% of funds raised will be used directly for the legal defense and expenses of these individuals. It will also provide much needed commissary funds while they are in jail.” Support and/or share the NLG PGH-legal defense fund here.

The Portland NLG has a new website! Check out their website with a bunch of mass defense and other resources for Portlanders at PortlandNLG.org Legal Observers from Seattle NLG Aggressively Targeted by Law Enforcement

“In addition to SPD’s haphazard and arbitrary deployment of force, officers specifically targeted the Seattle NLG’s legal observers (LOs), all while concealing their badge numbers. These incidents included: Deliberately spraying pepper spray into a LO’s face at close range, tossing flash bang grenades directly at legal observers, needlessly grabbing and shoving LOs; purposely hitting LOs with their bicycles…” Read the full press release at the NLG Seattle webpage here.

NLG International Committee: Support Steven Donziger

In response to the persecution of environmental human rights attorney Steven Donziger, a dedicated group of attorneys coordinated by the NLG International Committee and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers reviewed the record in the case and came to believe Judge Lewis A. Kaplan violated the Canons of Judicial Conduct in his handling of the case and facilitating Chevron’s attacks on Mr. Donziger and the Ecuadorian judgment and that his actions with respect to the criminal contempt charges are evidence of his misconduct.

Complaints of judicial misconduct may be filed by anyone concerned with this conduct. Your signature on this complaint will assist in making the reviewing judges realize the importance of this case to the community of lawyers and lawyer/jurist/bar associations.

* View the full text of the complaint at this link: bit.ly/donzigerjudicialcomplaint
* To sign on to the complaint, please visit this link: bit.ly/judicialcomplaintkaplan

NLG In The News 8/12/20 | Insider | Protesters in Minneapolis say they won’t clear barricades around the George Floyd Memorial until the city leaders meet their 24 demands

“Protesters created a list of 24 demands that they said city leadership must meet, or they themselves would maintain the barricades around the memorial… Protesters gained the support of the National Lawyers Guild of Minnesota, which in a Facebook post wrote: ‘Neighbors, youth, and community activists have been tending to this space for months since the police murder of George Floyd in order to keep it a sacred space for the memorial. It is inherently a space of protest.’

The guild added: ‘The people of George Floyd Square have developed very clear demands that need to be met and have openly communicated to the city what needs to happen in order for negotiations regarding the removal of the barricades to begin.'”

8/10/10 | Washington Post | Federal scientists begin addressing massive covid-19 outbreak at immigration detention center in Virginia

“The CDC staff will focus on one specific thing,” said Sirine Shebaya, a lawyer with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyer’s Guild, which is representing some of the plaintiffs in that case. “In our lawsuit, we’ve raised a whole list of conditions that go beyond the issue of testing,” she said. “It’s very unlikely that the CDC inspection will cover all of these different areas.”

8/10/20 | Verso Blog | Destroying to Replace: Settler Colonialism from Kashmir to Palestine

NLG past president Azadeh Shahshahani co-wrote this piece with activist Zainab Ramahi: “Despite India’s successful overthrow of British rule, it has created a colonial occupation of its own in Jammu and Kashmir. And recently, it has been taking its cues straight from Israel’s playbook,” the write. Read the full piece here.

8/7/20 | Roanoke Times | Lawyers guild says Floyd Courthouse’s Confederate monument sends wrong message

The Southwest Virginia Chapter of the NLG issued a statement last week calling for the removal of a Confederate soldier statue at the entrance of the Floyd County Courthouse. The SW VA NLG  “presents these events and issues to support the Guild’s concerns about whether people of color will receive equal treatment under the law at the Floyd County Courthouse,” the statement said.

8/3/20 | Truthout | Congress Put the Brakes on Cuba Relief to Protect Front-Line Democrat

“Two amendments aimed at alleviating the stranglehold on Cuba’s economy were withdrawn because of pressure to protect a vulnerable Florida rep.” Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, a human rights attorney and former president of the National Lawyers Guild, helped organize support for the amendments with a coalition of progressive foreign policy groups, including the push to get McGovern to allow the amendments on the floor. She said that advocates figured the amendments ‘would be a sure thing’ — considering the congressman’s ‘longstanding support’ for the normalization of relations between Cuba and the U.S.

8/1/20 | Truthout | Mass Arrests in 2020 Echo the Brutality Endured by RNC Protesters 20 Years Ago

NLG legal worker member Kris Hermes wrote this piece comparing the police violence towards protesters at the 2000 RNC (and the legal support mobilized by groups like the NLG and Up Against the Law Collective) to that of Black Lives Matter activists today: “As uprisings continue across the country, people are refusing to accept anything less than structural change. The Movement for Black Lives is demanding not only that we rethink policing and the carceral system, but also that we address the systemic economic and social inequities that have been perpetuated against Black people for years.” Kris Hermes is the author of Crashing the Party: Legacies and Lessons from the RNC 2000.

Resources Resources for Resisting Federal Repression

Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests.

The NLG National Office released this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. Visit: nlg.org/FederalRepressionResources

Endorsements National Reparations Day

Rally Saturday, August 15 @ Trump International Hotel NYC. The NLG endorsed this upcoming rally that will commemorate the first National Reparations Day Rally held in the US on August 17, 2002.

“Reparations speak to the crimes committed, the damages caused, the compensation needed to repair and advance collectively. Reparations encompass police terror, criminal injustice, inadequate healthcare, skyrocketing unemployment, inferior housing, education designed for incarceration, lack of wealth, shorter life spans and higher infant mortality rates….This is why we call for all those outraged by what is happening now to join us on August 15th around the country to put forward the demand for Reparations. In New York City we will demonstrate in front of President Trump’s International Hotel, a half block from the statue of Christopher Columbus, the genocidal initiator of our MAAFA. These two embody the continuum of terror, misery and exploitation of Africans in this country.” Learn more about at the December 12 th Movement website.

#DroptheADL

The NLG is one of 100+ racial, economic, and social justice organizations and coalitions have issued an open letter with an accompanying primer encouraging community institutions and organizations to rethink their relationships to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The letter comes in response to the ADL’s history of targeting and co-opting movements for justice—particularly those led by communities of color—and advancing Islamophobia, policing, and global militarism while projecting a false badge of progressivism. Read more at droptheadl.org.

#DiplomaPrivilegeNow

We recently joined an open letter with Public Rights Project and many other public interest legal organizations urging state bars to cancel bar examinations this year and award full diploma privilege to recent law school graduates. Both in-person and online exams exacerbate inequities affecting applicants of color, lower-income applicants, and applicants with disabilities, and COVID-19 has only made the need for licensed public interest lawyers greater. Read and have your public interest legal organzation endorse the open letter here: bit.ly/SupportingDiplomaPrivilege

#Law4thePeople Convention Register now for the 2020 #Law4thePeople Convention!

As you may have seen, registration for the all-digital #Law4thePeople Convention, Sept 21-Oct 4, is now OPEN!

We’re honored to announce that scholar, author, and activist Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor will be our keynote speaker! In addition, we have a great lineup of timely major panels, workshops, and CLEs planned, which you can check out here. Full descriptions with confirmed speakers for each event will be posted soon.

We’re also thrilled to announce the following 2020 awardees! (Additional awardees will be announced soon.)You can learn more about them here and congratulate them with an ad in our Awards Program Tribute Journal—all while supporting the NLG!

NLG Minnesota Chapter: Law for the People Award; Jeanne Mirer: Ernie Goodman Award; Jodi Hill: CB King Award; Charlotte Kates: Debra Evenson “Venceremos” Award; Sara Kershnar: Legal Worker Award

Register or learn more at nlg.org/convention!

Jobs Members-Only Job Board

Are you searching for a movement related legal or organizing job OR internship?

A reminder that all current NLG members have access to our Members-Only job board! This resource includes open positions for attorneys, paralegals, organizers, legal workers and law students.

Check it out at nlg.org/job-board (NOTE: you must be logged in with your nlg.org account to view this page). Have a job or internship listing you’d like to share with fellow Guild members? Send it to jobboard@nlg.org.

Register now for the 2020 #Law4thePeople Convention!

Registration for the 2020 #Law4thePeople Convention is open! Register now!

The convention will take place entirely online, September 21-October 4. (There will be no programming on Sept 28 in observation of Yom Kippur.)

We’re honored to announce that scholar, author, and activist Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor will be our keynote speaker! In addition, we have a great lineup of timely major panels, workshops, and CLEs planned, which you can check out here. Full descriptions with confirmed speakers for each event will be posted soon.

We’re also thrilled to announce the following 2020 awardees! (Additional awardees will be announced soon.)You can learn more about them here and congratulate them with an ad in our Awards Program Tribute Journal—all while supporting the NLG!

  • NLG Minnesota Chapter:  Law for the People Award
  • Jeanne Mirer: Ernie Goodman Award
  • Jodi Hill: CB King Award
  • Charlotte Kates: Debra Evenson “Venceremos” Award
  • Sara Kershnar: Legal Worker Award

As a reminder, unlike our usual five-day format, we’re spreading out events over two weeks to allow participants across multiple time zones to attend as many events as possible. Even if attendees aren’t available to join every event live in real time, registrants will be able to access video recordings of programming to watch and engage with at their convenience. As always, we’re offering sliding-scale registration, with waivers available upon request, and no one will be turned away due to lack of funds. To support these efforts, please contribute what you can.

You can also be a #Law4thePeople sponsor in order to show your support for the NLG and help fuel our work for years to come. Sponsorships include convention registration and an ad in the awards program.

Stay tuned for further announcements about special events and social activities we’re organizing, and other ways to get engaged with the 2020 #Law4thePeople Convention! All info will be posted to nlg.org/convention. In the meantime, please spread the word about #Law4thePeople on social media, and RSVP to the Facebook event here.

We can’t wait to see you soon!

In Solidarity,

NLG National Office

The post Register now for the 2020 #Law4thePeople Convention! first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

2020 Keynote and Awardees

Announcing the 2020 Keynote Speaker and Honorees! Join us in celebrating them with a #Law4thePeople Sponsorship or an ad in the Annual Awards Tribute Journal—all while supporting the NLG!

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: Keynote Speaker

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes and speaks on Black politics, social movements, and racial inequality in the United States. ​She is author of Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, and From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. She is also editor of How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective.

Taylor is a contributing writer at The New Yorker. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Boston Review, Paris Review, Guardian, The Nation, Jacobin, and Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, among others. She is a former Contributing Opinion Writer for The New York Times. Taylor is Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University.

NLG Minnesota Chapter:  Law for the People Award

The National Lawyers Guild Minnesota Chapter is honored to accept this award in recognition of the legal support we have provided to the people who have been in the streets pushing back against the police state in response to the brutal and tragic murder of George Floyd. We saw unprecedented police brutality and militarization in the Twin Cities, and yet the people were brave and resilient in their pursuit of justice. It has been a privilege to organize with and support the people of Minnesota through this fight towards justice and an end to this violent and racist police state. Justice for George Floyd.

Jeanne Mirer: Ernie Goodman Award

Jeanne Mirer has been a Guild member since 1969, when she joined in her first year of law school. Over the past 50 years, Jeanne has worked closely with Massachusetts NLG, Michigan NLG, and NYC NLG. She has served as a co-chair of the NLG International Committee for many years and has been president of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers since 2009. Jeanne has extensively studied International Human Rights Law, and has published many articles on issues including Israeli aggression, torture and drones, and most recently, voting rights. In 2006, Jeanne and her husband moved back to New York City and she is now a labor lawyer in her law practice in the firm of Mirer, Mazzocchi and Julien.

Jodi Hill: CB King Award

Jodi Hill is a third-year law student at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, where she served as the 2019 Vice-President of Loyola’s NLG Chapter. As Vice- President, Jodi organized student demand for a legal pedagogy that emphasized human rights rather than a singular focus on private property. Additionally, she galvanized student legal support for local immigration attorneys representing asylum seekers and detained immigrants in North Louisiana. Jodi spent the summer after her first year of law school clerking with the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center, supporting the enforcement of the Fair Housing Act. She spent the summer after her second year of law school, clerking with the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, where she worked with organizers to develop strategies for challenging labor violations and building labor power. Jodi is a Louisiana native and is committed to leveraging her legal education towards advancing equity in the deep south.

Charlotte Kates: Debra Evenson “Venceremos” Award

Awarded by the NLG International Committee

Charlotte Kates is an activist and organizer who coordinates the work of the NLG International Committee, working together with the co-chairs, steering committee and membership of the committee to advance international justice and oppose U.S. imperialism. She is the international coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and has organized delegations, actions, reports and articles that highlight the struggle for the liberation of Palestine and the Palestinian prisoners. She is also a member of Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition and the Organizing Collective of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

Sara Kershnar: Legal Worker Award

After Sara’s father tested positive for HIV, Sara began organizing with ACT-UP and became involved in needle exchange and co-founded the Harm Reduction Coalition. As a co-founder of GenerationFIVE, Sara was part of developing transformative justice responses to child sexual abuse. She is a founder of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and an anti-racist activist. Sara started participating in the NLG first as an activist, then as a Board member and now as Interim Executive Director of the NLG-San Francisco Bay Area chapter. Sara has relied on the NLG as a crucial resource in her thirty years of direct action and movement organizing.

Resources for Resisting Federal Repression

Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 

The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page.

Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.

Emergency Hotlines

If you are contacted by federal law enforcement you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities. 

State and Local Hotlines

If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for: 

  • Portland, Oregon: (833) 680-1312
  • San Francisco, California: (415) 285-1041 or fbi_hotline@nlgsf.org
  • Seattle, Washington: (206) 658-7963
National Hotline

If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:

Know Your Rights Materials

The NLG maintains a library of basic Know-Your-Rights guides. 

WEBINAR: Federal Repression of Activists & Their Lawyers: Legal & Ethical Strategies to Defend Our Movements: presented by NLG-NYC and NLG National Office

We also recommend the following resources: 

Center for Constitutional Rights Civil Liberties Defense Center Grand Jury Resistance Project Katya Komisaruk Movement for Black Lives Legal Resources Tilted Scales Collective

NLG Southwest Region & Water Protector Legal Collective Joint Statement on Federal Troops in Albuquerque, NM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: director@waterprotectorlegal.org

The Southwest Region chapters of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG-SW) and Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) call on New Mexico state officials and federal officials to act quickly to halt the deployment of federal law enforcement officers to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

On July 4, 2020, President Trump deployed federal agents to Portland to “quell” demonstrations. These officers—primarily U.S. Marshals and members of a tactical unit of Border Patrol—have since subjected demonstrators to unconscionable violence resulting in physical injury and trauma. The officers do not wear name badges and as such, are unidentifiable and unaccountable as they routinely and indiscriminately launch offensives against demonstrators in Portland.

Despite the chaos this deployment has already caused in Portland, On July 22, 2020, Attorney General Barr alongside President Trump, announced the expansion of “Operation Legend” to Chicago and Albuquerque to “protect the residents of those cities from senseless acts of deadly violence.” Notably, these are cities where—like Portland—Black Lives Matter protests have not lost momentum.

We join local Albuquerque organizations in denouncing the Bernallillo County Sheriff, Manuel Gonzales III for his complicity in collaboration with the Trump administration’s shadow police force:

“…the possible deployment of Trump’s federal paramilitary force in a majority community of color [is] simply another damaging tactic laced with xenophobic and anti-immigrant sentiment that does not make families safe. It is a ploy to distract the nation from the failures of the Trump administration during a global pandemic while further descending into a totalitarian regime in the U.S. … The relationship between local law enforcement and our communities is already a fractured one as our city and country have experienced a deep and persistent history of police brutality and abuse. Most recently highlighted with the shooting of an unarmed protestor by Steven Baca, the son of a former Bernalillo Country Sheriff.”

The Water Protector Legal Collective and Southwest Region chapters of the National Lawyers Guild stand in solidarity with activists across Turtle Island fighting for Black Lives matter, immigrant rights, indigenous rights, and all those who struggle for a world where human rights are valued over property rights. We condemn the conduct of federal and local law enforcement officers who escalate tactics and violate the First and Fourth Amendment rights of protestors and denounce the imposition of a police state. We demand that federal law enforcement not be deployed to Albuquerque, New Mexico—the presence of such a force has no place in a democratic nation such as the United States.

The National Lawyers Guild, whose membership includes lawyers, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers, and law students, was formed in 1937 as the United States’ first racially-integrated bar association to advocate for the protection of constitutional, human and civil rights.

The Water Protector Legal Collective is a Native led nonprofit organization that provides criminal and civil legal representation to Indigenous and other people engaged in Native led environmental actions affecting Native land. Originally formed during the Dakota Access pipeline protest in Standing Rock, WPLC now advocates on behalf of Water Protectors across the country.

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Member News Digest 7/24/20: Rising Up for Liberation

Dear NLG Members,

We know it’s been a while since the last Member News Digest (thank you for your patience!). Like many of you, your small but mighty NLG National Office has been working non-stop since May in response to the ongoing national uprising for Black lives. Below is just a very small sampling of NLG work from over the last two weeks. In order to stay connected with all the latest NLG news, be sure to follow our national social media channels on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, as well as your local NLG chapters and law school NLG chapters!

Thanks for all you do,

NLG National Office Staff

NLG Statements 7/22: NLG-PDX Chapter Statement on Federal Troops in Portland

“NLG-PDX continues to stand in solidarity with activists fighting for Black liberation. We highlight the cruel irony that those protesting police brutality are met with police brutality, and we condemn the conduct of federal and local law enforcement officers who continue to escalate tactics and punish protesters in violation of their First and Fourth Amendment rights. We echo activists’ demands that federal law enforcement leave our city, and support our community’s continued resistance against the encroachment of a police state.”

7/21: NLG Announces Federal Defense Hotline

The NLG National Office is launching a hotline for activists and lawyers to report incidents of federal repression, such as FBI “door-knocks” at activists’ homes, grand jury investigations and subpoenas, and any other federal law enforcement efforts to undermine civil rights, such as federal grab squads and the use of unidentified federal agents to police protests. The numbers is 212-679-2811. Reminder: for local arrest hotlines being run in different cities, please consult the Mass Defense page on our website.

7/20: NLG Mourns the Loss of Civil Rights Icons Congressman John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian Rest in power, Congressman John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian. “The NLG is committed to honoring the legacies of Congressman Lewis and Rev. Vivian by continuing to work in support of the Movement for Black Lives. The struggle for Black liberation led by figures such as Lewis and Vivian continues today, and into the future, both in the street and in courtrooms,” said NLG Executive Director Pooja Gehi. 7/15: NLG Partners with Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is proud to announce a new sustainable partnership with Know Your Rights Camp (KYRC), founded by Colin Kaepernick. KYRC’s mission is to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, and mass mobilization. KYRC and NLG will partner to expand legal support for social justice movements and increase capacity for providing legal resources for freedom fighters arrested in relation to the movement for Black lives. Webinar Recordings Federal Repression of Activists & Their Lawyers: Legal & Ethical Strategies to Defend Our Movements

Our most popular webinar yet, this program includes a discussion of current and historical federal harassment of both activists and lawyers working for social change; the unmet needs of both activists and lawyers in many parts of the US and how legal workers can bridge the gaps; and both ethical and practical advice on shielding your clients and yourself from state repression, including how to advise and litigate on behalf of clients to challenge the legitimacy of grand jury subpoenas. Speakers include Marques Banks, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, Lamis Deek, Soffiyah Elijah, Marty Stolar, and Katie Yow.

Presented by: NLG-NYC and the NLG National Office.

Earth Rights and Indigenous Sovereignty in an International Human Rights Framework with Andy Reid

The webinar focused on the concept of “earth rights,” indigenous sovereignty and resistance, and the use of international human rights norms, with reflections on lessons from the Black Hills, #NoDAPL and current KXL struggles. It was presented by the NLG International Committee‘s Indigenous Peoples’ Rights & the Environmental Human Rights Committees, and the speaker was NLG member Andrew B. Reid, JD, LLM.

NLG Media Mentions and News Pieces by NLG Members 7/19 | Law360 | At NYC Protests, A New Collective Of Black Legal Observers

Read this piece on the newly formed Black Legal Observer Collective (BLOC) in NYC, co-founded by NLG member Jill Humphries. “It’s a form of self-defense. We’re not beneficiaries of somebody. We decided to do this work and build our own capacity to protect our communities,” she explained.

7/16 | Oregon Public Broadcasting | Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

NLG-Portland members respond to the “terrifying” actions of federal troops deployed to PDX amid ongoing protests in support of the movement for Black lives. “It’s like stop and frisk meets Guantanamo Bay, said attorney and NLG Northwest Regional VP Juan Chavez, Director of the Civil Rights Project at the Oregon Justice Reource Center. “I would be surprised to see that pulling up in an unmarked van, grabbing people off the street is an acceptable policy for a criminal investigation,” said NLG PDX member Ashlee Albies.

7/10 | Canadian DimensionHow Settler Colonial States Use Incarceration as a Tool of Dehumanization During the COVID Crisis

NLG past president Azadeh Shahshahani and NLG International Committee Coordinator Charlotte Kates co-wrote this piece on how settler-colonial states such as the US, Canada, and Israel use incarceration as a tool of dehumanization during the pandemic. “True justice can only begin with abolishing the prison-industrial complex at large that is fueled and upheld by—and operates to uphold—white supremacy, colonialism and racism, and bolstering the structures that meet communities’ needs to flourish,” they write.

Read more here: https://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/readers-opinion/article242900721.html#storylink=cp Jobs Members-Only Job Board

Are you searching for a movement related legal or organizing job OR internship?

A reminder that all current NLG members have access to our Members-Only job board! This resource includes open positions for attorneys, paralegals, organizers, legal workers and law students.

Check it out at nlg.org/job-board (NOTE: you must be logged in with your nlg.org account to view this page). Have a job or internship listing you’d like to share with fellow Guild members? Send it to jobboard@nlg.org.

NLG-Los Angeles Hiring Executive Director (Interim or Permanent)

NLG-LA is seeking an Executive Director! Please see full job description and application process here. Qualifications include experience as a community organizer or ED on behalf of organizations seeking progressive social, political, or legal change; commitment to civil liberties, workers’ rights, and social justice; managerial skills; public speaking and writing skills; conflict mediation skills and familiarity with restorative justice practices. Demonstrated commitment to increasing diversity and centering impacted communities. Law degree preferred, but not required. Black, Indigenous, People of Color, members of the LGBTQ community, women, people with disabilities and people with records of previous system involvement are encouraged to apply.

 

NLG National Office Takes Some Time to Recharge

Dear Community,

The NLG National Office (N.O.) will be closed from July 27th – August 2nd.

Since May, the N.O. has worked around the clock to provide legal support to movements and communities in support of the uprisings and the movement for Black Lives. This summer has created countless emergencies, and amid the COVID-19 pandemic, led to many new challenges facing communities and movements for liberation.

But in these moments of crisis, reasons for hope have also emerged. Movements in solidarity with the values and political frame to which the NLG is committed, such as abolition, defunding the police, and transformative justice, have united communities across the country and the world.

Along with these movements, the NLG and its members have worked tirelessly, building grassroots legal support through a growing network of 65 chapters and 125 student chapters. As movements grow and continue to resist the authoritarian State, the demands on activists, and those who provide support to activists, also grow. Building movements for social change also means building movements that practice resilience.

In order to work towards our long term mission of building a world where people and the planet are held more sacred than property and profit, we must take care of each other and ourselves. The work of social justice organizing often leads to burn out and trauma, which only benefits the political forces that we resist. The NLG believes in fostering a culture that creates spaces for physical, mental, and spiritual healing. Here are some NLG resources for members and chapters.

Our office will be closed starting Monday, July 27th through the rest of the week. This time will give our small, seven-person team a much-needed chance to connect with their loved ones, and an opportunity to recover from the intense work around the last two months of political upheaval.

In case of emergency matters, please contact NLG President Elena Cohen at president@nlg.org.

We are deeply grateful for your support of the Guild.

In Solidarity,

National Office Staff

 

NLG-PDX Chapter Statement on Federal Troops in Portland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: communications@nlg.org

For the past two months, after the police killing of George Floyd, tens of thousands of Portland residents have continued to engage in daily demonstrations against police violence and in support of the movement for Black lives. In response, the Portland Police and Multnomah County Sheriffs have used unnecessary and unlawful violence against them, including tear gas, OC spray, flash bang grenades, and other so-called “less than lethal” weapons to dispel protestors, enforcing a curfew in the early days and after the curfew was lifted, simply using force to clear the streets. The Portland Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG-PDX) has had Legal Observers in the streets every day and night who, along with members of the press, have also been the subject of police violence. NLG-PDX condemns the federal government and its use of Border Control and U.S. Marshals in their effort to act as anti-protest shock troops in our city. We call on the federal government, the City of Portland, and the State of Oregon to immediately expel federal law enforcement from Portland, and for all charges related to arrests by those forces to be immediately and summarily dropped.

Members of NLG-PDX continue to monitor law enforcement conduct on the ground as Legal Observers, provide jail and court support to demonstrators who have been arrested, provide Know Your Rights training to community members, and have connected protesters, journalists, and movement organizations with criminal and civil litigation. On behalf of local Black-led organization Don’t Shoot Portland, protesters, and members of the press, the NLG-PDX has filed two legal actions against local law enforcement, resulting in a court-ordered injunction against the indiscriminate use of tear gas and other weapons against demonstrators engaging in passive resistance. In addition, the protests and community-led campaigns have resulted in the first signs of long overdue action by the Portland City Council to begin the process of defunding the police by pulling police out of schools and off public transit, eliminating a police task force aimed primarily at Black communities, and taking $15 million from the police budget (far short of the $50 million demanded by community members) and allocating some of those funds for nonpunitive support for unhoused people.

As the protests continued, President Donald Trump saw an opportunity to distract from his failures with the COVID-19 pandemic and burnish his credentials as a so-called “law and order president.” On the 4th of July, President Trump deployed federal law enforcement officers to Portland to “quell” the demonstrations. These federal officers—apparently including U.S. Marshals and members of BORTAC, a tactical unit within Border Patrol—have routinely subjected demonstrators to unconscionable violence. They have broken protesters’ bones with baton strikes and tackles, shot at least one protester in the head with so-called “less lethal” munitions, and indiscriminately launched huge amounts of tear gas and other chemical agents at crowds of demonstrators, all without warning. These officers do not wear name badges; they are unidentifiable and unaccountable as they terrorize Portlanders on a nightly basis. Recently, unidentified agents in military camouflage pulled random protesters into unmarked vans, taking them into custody to search their persons and belongings. To date, residents and local officials have not received an explanation or reason why federal agents are abducting people off our streets. When Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf visited the city this week to applaud the actions of this federal occupying force, he did not meet with the Mayor or the Chief of Police but did meet with the defiant head of Portland Police union. Alarmingly, on Monday Trump applauded the disturbing actions of federal troops in Portland saying they have done a “fantastic job,” and has signaled that similar responses to protests may be replicated in other U.S. cities.

NLG-PDX continues to stand in solidarity with activists fighting for Black liberation. We highlight the cruel irony that those protesting police brutality are met with police brutality, and we condemn the conduct of federal and local law enforcement officers who continue to escalate tactics and punish protesters in violation of their First and Fourth Amendment rights. We echo activists’ demands that federal law enforcement leave our city, and support our community’s continued resistance against the encroachment of a police state.

NOTE: The NLG National Office has launched a Federal Defense Hotline for activists and lawyers to report incidents of federal repression, such as FBI “door-knocks” at activists’ homes, grand jury investigations and subpoenas, and any other federal law enforcement efforts to undermine civil rights, including federal grab squads and the use of unidentified federal agents to police protests. The line is live at: 212-679-2811.

The National Lawyers Guild, whose membership includes lawyers, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers, and law students, was formed in 1937 as the United States’ first racially-integrated bar association to advocate for the protection of constitutional, human and civil rights.

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Featured Image: “BlackLivesMatter-George Floyd. Portland’s Epicenter. The Apple Store. June 14, 2020” by drburtoniCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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NLG Announces Federal Defense Hotline

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: massdef@nlg.org

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) National Office is launching a hotline for activists and lawyers to report incidents of federal repression, such as FBI “door-knocks” at activists’ homes, grand jury investigations and subpoenas, and any other federal law enforcement efforts to undermine civil rights, including federal grab squads and the use of unidentified federal agents to police protests. The line is live at: 212-679-2811.

Since May, the NLG has continued to support the movement for Black lives, organizing to support legal defense efforts and provide Legal Observers for demonstrations. In the last week, we have seen the use of anti-protest shock troops by the federal government, such as Portland, where federal grab squads have arrested activists and taken them away from demonstrations in unmarked vans.

A memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suggests that these officers are acting under the auspices of DHS and are members of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC). This is a unit typically tasked with high level law enforcement operations and it is formed under US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). These officers are acting under direct orders from the Trump Administration and Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf.

The use of BORTAC to disrupt activism is a recent escalation by the federal government, which has also used the National Guard, FBI, and Secret Service in order to violently quell protests. These efforts come in combination with an aggressive political and legal strategy labeling ‘antifa’ a domestic terrorist organization. Federal prosecutors are also filing criminal charges against activists throughout the country.

The NLG Federal Defense Hotline will allow callers to have privileged conversations with attorneys, and to receive attorney referrals, know-your-rights information, and resources for responding to grand jury investigations and subpoenas. Inquiries about the line can be sent to massdef@nlg.org. The line is staffed by attorneys organizing with the NLG, and will remain active as long as federal prosecution efforts continue.

The National Lawyers Guild, whose membership includes lawyers, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers, and law students, was formed in 1937 as the United States’ first racially-integrated bar association to advocate for the protection of constitutional, human and civil rights.

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NLG Mourns the Loss of Civil Rights Icons Congressman John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: communications@nlg.org

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) mourns the passing of Congressman John Lewis and Reverend C.T. Vivian, two giants in the Civil Rights movement who devoted their entire lives to Black liberation. Both walked together across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965 and suffered the blows of Sheriff Jim Clark on “Bloody Sunday,” died on July 17, 2020.

John Lewis, as the conscience of the Congress, once said: “We are involved now in a serious revolution. This nation is still a place of cheap political leaders who build their careers on immoral compromises and ally themselves with open forms of political, economic and social exploitation. What political leader here can stand up and say, “My party is the party of principles?” Unlike so many of his colleagues in both parties, he always stood up for his principles.

Congressman Lewis was the keynote speaker at the NLG’s 2004 #Law4thePeople Convention in Birmingham, Alabama. He recalled his time when he was the Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and had asked the NLG to support “Mississippi Summer,” and was warned against working with the Guild and such radical NLG lawyers as Arthur Kinoy and Bill Kunstler.  He never wavered. He worked with the NLG because, he told us, NLG lawyers were there when others were not. He continually said, “Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.” He made good trouble.

Reverend C.T. Vivian worked in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and also devoted his life to the struggle for civil and human rights. In Selma, he told Sheriff Clark, ” You can turn your back now and you can keep the club in your hand, but you cannot beat down justice . . . and we will register to vote, because as citizens of these United States we have the right to do it.” Clark responded with a punch in the mouth, knocking Vivian to the ground. Vivian pulled himself to his feet and kept speaking as police shoved aside and ultimately arrested him.

C.T. Vivian founded the National Anti-Klan Network, whose focus was to monitor the activities of the Ku Klux Klan and serve as the proactive political arm, of sorts, for the SCLC. But unlike many of his contemporary clergy in the SCLC, Vivian embraced the more activist youth, joining them in the Freedom Rides. Throughout his life, his politics and human rights work continued to evolve.

In these days of national protest for Black lives, the loss of these icons is especially difficult. It is past time that the Voting Rights Act gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013 be restored. It would be fitting to name the restored act for John Lewis. “The NLG is committed to honoring the legacies of Congressman Lewis and Rev. Vivian by continuing to work in support of the Movement for Black Lives.  The struggle for Black liberation led by figures such as Lewis and Vivian continues today, and into the future, both in the street and in courtrooms,” said NLG Executive Director Pooja Gehi.  Martin Luther King, Jr. said that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”  But it does not bend unless people like John Lewis and the C.T. Vivian grab hold of it and bend it. They will be missed, but they will be forever with us. John Lewis and C.T. Vivian, ¡presente!

NLG Partners with Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: communications@nlg.org

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is proud to announce a new sustainable partnership with Know Your Rights Camp (KYRC), founded by Colin Kaepernick. KYRC’s mission is to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, and mass mobilization.

KYRC and NLG will partner to expand legal support for social justice movements and increase capacity for providing legal resources for freedom fighters arrested in relation to the movement for Black lives. The agreement includes a $500,000 grant to the National Lawyers Guild Foundation. “This inspiring grant will help the NLG strengthen digital security for mass defense organizing, assist chapters with mass defense infrastructure, expand criminal defense preparations, and create timely new know-your-rights publications,” said NLG Executive Director Pooja Gehi.

This partnership builds on decades of mass defense organizing by the NLG and the recent work of Kaepernick’s KYRC. The grant will be used in part to support the NLG’s growing infrastructure of 65 chapters and 125 student chapters across the country. During the protests following the killing of George Floyd and many others, the NLG has played an important role in supporting activists and the movement for Black lives. The NLG has provided jail and legal support to arrested activists, tracked federal prosecution efforts, and trained and deployed thousands of Legal Observers. The NLG’s mass defense efforts serve to strengthen its continued support for various intersectional social justice movements, including health and housing rights, labor struggles, environmental justice, immigration, anti-police violence, LGBTQ rights, disability rights, international solidarity, and abolition of the prison-industrial complex.

The NLG is a proud endorser of #8toAbolition, which calls for defunding police, investing in communities, and freeing people from jails and prisons. “Abolitionism is a crucial component of the NLG’s mass defense efforts because both seek to dismantle the institutions most responsible for driving the racist exploitation of Black and Brown communities and political repression of activists,” said NLG Director of Mass Defense Tyler Crawford. The NLG  recognizes and welcomes the recent increased public support for abolition movements and dedicates itself  to continuing to support communities working to make this a reality.

The NLG was formed in 1937 and was the first racially integrated bar association in the United States. The NLG has provided mass defense since 1969 along with its mass defense committee (MDC). The MDC is a network of lawyers, legal workers, law students, and jailhouse lawyers who provide legal support for activists, protesters, and movements for social change. In addition to providing direct legal support to movements, the mass defense program also distributes know-your-rights  materials, hosts reports on state responses to movements, and its widely recognizable green Legal Observer hats are a prominent feature at protests around the country.

 

Featured image: NLG Legal Observers document arrests during a #NoDAPL protest in New York City, 2016.

The National Lawyers Guild, whose membership includes lawyers, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers, and law students, was formed in 1937 as the United States’ first racially-integrated bar association to advocate for the protection of constitutional, human and civil rights.

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NLG Systems Summer Institute Fellows

This year, in addition to our Haywood Burns and Weinglass Fellows, the NLG National Office is hosting five fellows from the COVID-19 Rapid Response/Systems Summer Institute. A collaboration between People’s Parity Project (PPP), the Systemic Justice Project (SJP), and the Justice Catalyst (JC), the COVID-19 Rapid Response/Systems Summer Institute engages law students in summer legal fellowships, working with legal and law-related organizations. While working on urgent projects, fellows also participate in additional educational and community-building programming.

NLG National Office fellows are working on a Street Law project, conducting legal research in order to create Know Your Rights materials designed for movement organizers and activists. These materials include research on political prosecution of activists, COVID-19 emergency orders, resources for civil rights litigation, know-your-rights guides for gender justice movements, and a workers rights guide. Fellows from Systems Summer Institute have also been placed with the NLG SF Bay Area Chapter and the NLG NJ-DE Prisoners Legal Advocacy Network (PLAN).

NLG National Office Systems Summer Institute Fellows:

Sarah Ahmed is a rising 3L at the Texas A&M University School of Law. She is interested in work that explores the systemic roots of our social problems and scrutinizes the assumptions of neutrality and justness in our legal system. As a future lawyer, she hopes to advance the ways that legal professionals can help to bring transformative change.

Natasha Bynum is a rising 2L at CUNY School of Law in Queens, New York. After studying Food Systems and Public Policy at The Evergreen State College, she continued her education in the fields of small sustainable farms in upstate New York. Natasha plans to pursue a career in Environmental Justice.

Pat Keogh is a rising 3L at Cardozo Law in New York City, went to Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and is originally from New Jersey. Broadly interested in civil liberties, he has a particular affinity for free speech and voting rights issues.

Alessandra Stevens is a rising 2L JD/MPH student at Northeastern University School of Law. Alessandra is currently based in Atlanta after a year as a Scholar in Action studying sexual and reproductive health at the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. She has a passion for reproductive justice, immigrant rights and grassroots policy campaigns

Kylie Yapp is from Anderson, Indiana and a rising 2L at IU Maurer School of Law. She is interested in working in public service or nonprofit law. On the side, she also wrote a children’s book called Too Many Raindrops.

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