National Lawyer's Guild

Member Recap: July 16, 2021

 

Welcome to the Member Recap, where you can catch up on NLG news from the last two weeks.

Be sure to keep up with us in real time on social media, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

 

Upcoming Webinars, Publications, and Announcements

 

#Law4ThePeople Convention Registration NOW OPEN

We will once again be convening a virtual convention! While we missed gathering in person with you all last year, our digital convention was a huge success—with 1,000 attendees participating around the U.S. (and the world)! Like last year, we will schedule events to accommodate attendees across multiple time zones and aim to make programming as accessible as possible—including, but not limited to, having live captioning available. As always, we will offer sliding-scale registration, with waivers available upon request. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds. 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. Register here!

Guild Notes is Here!

Check out our latest issue of the NLG newsletter, Guild Notes! This issue has articles on the Inquiry Commission special report, the Line 3 Treaty People gathering, how Black women have built movements and cultivated joy, and many, many others. The full PDF can be found here, or in web format here.

NLG-NYC Presents: Tiger King Redux

In 2020, a former nightclub owner aired TigerKing to a COVID-captive audience.  True, you can’t unsee it; but this webinar is your antidote.

Join the NLGNYC Animal Rights Committee,  Congressman Michael Quigley; Film Director Michael Webber; Prof. Delcianna Winders, Carole Baskin and others, as as we deep-dive the problem of exotic cats in American backyards.

Friday, July 23rd, Noon to 1:00PM, ET.  Register here: https://tiger-king-REDUX.eventbrite.com

 

 

National, Committee, and Chapter Statements and News Announcing the #Law4ThePeople Keynote Presenter: Talila A. Lewis

We’re thrilled to announce our 2021 convention Keynote Presenter: Talila A. Lewis (no gender pronouns; use Talila or “TL” instead of using pronouns) is an abolitionist community lawyer, educator, and organizer whose work reveals and addresses the inextricable links between ableism, racism, classism, and all forms of systemic oppression and structural inequity. Recognized as a 2015 White House Champion of Change and one of Pacific Standard Magazine’s Top 30 Thinkers Under 30, Lewis engineers innovative and intersectional social justice efforts that address grave interconnected injustices within education, medical, and legal systems that have gone unaddressed for generations. Lewis’s  advocacy primarily focuses on harm and violence reduction and interruption, advocacy with people affected by incarceration/institutionalization, and abolition of all forms of incarceration/institutionalization.

International Committee: NLG condemns US continuing interference in Nicaragua and its democratic process

The International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild, the oldest and largest human rights bar association of the United States, makes the following statement condemning US continuing interference in Nicaragua and its democratic process. The Guild notes that this conduct by the United States is in clear and direct violation of international law, including but not limited to the jus cogens rights of the people of Nicaragua to self-determination and territorial integrity as guaranteed to them by customary international law, the Charter of the United Nations (1945), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) (ratified by the U.S.), and the Organization of American States Inter-American Democratic Charter (2001).

NLG Signs onto Letter to Ban E-Proctoring

Eproctoring programs that include facial detection, recognition, or monitoring are notoriously unable to identify students of color, particularly Black students. A federally-funded study found that even the best facial recognition algorithms fail to work on Black and brown people, trans and non-binary people, as well as children and women in general. As a workaround, there have been numerous accounts of students of color being forced to shine lights directly in their faces in order to be recognized by the software, which undoubtedly impacts testing performance.

Disability Justice Committee Representative Lydia X.Z. Brown Named as One of them. Magazine’s 2021 LGBTQ+ Visionaries

Queer disabled people have long been fighting for basic forms of justice, like healthcare equity and access to spaces. That’s why Lydia X.Z. Brown — a writer, educator, organizer, artist and lawyer — is determined to help other disabled people in their communities get what they need to survive. As someone with a multiply marginalized identity, Brown inherently understands how systems like ableism, racism, and classism are all connected in fueling violence and discrimination towards people like them.

NLG In The News 7/14/21 | Bloomberg News | Activist Groups Urge Retailers to Halt Facial Recognition Use

More than 35 organizations, including Public Citizen and the National Lawyers Guild, have joined the campaign urging companies such as Albertsons Cos. and Macy’s Inc. not to use facial recognition screening tools on employees or customers, citing concerns over privacy and racial justice, the group said in a statement Wednesday. The coalition plans to use social media to call out retailers using the tools, it said.

7/7/21 | Times Union | Saratoga Springs mayor tries to remove public from meeting

“A pro bono attorney [Colin Donnaruma of the NLG-Albany Chapter] with the National Lawyers Guild who was there to represent the activists asked the police officers if they blocking them because of ‘the political views they are expressing — because that’s an explicit violation of the First Amendment.’”

7/2/21 | In These TimesThere Are No Mass Migrations Without U.S. Meddling and Militarism

Check out this op-ed by former NLG President Azadeh Shashashani and Rhonda Ramiro: “Perhaps unsurprisingly, Biden appears to be following the footsteps of past administrations by denying the role that decades of U.S. interventionism and militarization have played in destabilizing the region. What’s worse, officials like Harris continue to order migrants to stop coming to the United States — even as the United States exacerbates the very crises that encourage migration in the first place.”

7/1/21 | Truthout UN Report Calls for Reparations for Victims of Systemic Racist Police Violence

Instead, on June 19, 2020, after intensive lobbying by the Trump administration, the HRC adopted resolution 43/1, directing the High Commissioner to prepare a report on police violence and other human rights violations against Africans and people of African descent around the world (not limited to the United States).

Thus, the International Association of Democratic LawyersNational Conference of Black Lawyers and National Lawyers Guild established their own International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States. The commission issued its report on April 15, 2021. 

6/19/21 | Truthout Over 100 Anti-Protest Bills Have Been Introduced Since George Floyd Rebellion

“In an email to Truthout, Traci Yoder, National Lawyers Guild Director of Research and Education characterized the anti-protest laws as “part of a larger trend of conservative, right-wing efforts at the state level designed to counter the goals of social movements.” Yoder said repressive voting rights bills, anti-trans bills and anti-abortion bills are being introduced in the same vein.”

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.

 

Have something you want to see in the next Member Recap? To submit events, news, or other updates for consideration for the Recap, please email charlie@nlg.org!

 

The post Member Recap: July 16, 2021 first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

2021 Keynote Presenter: Talila A. Lewis

We’re thrilled to announce that abolitionist community lawyer, educator, and organizer Talila A. Lewis will be the Keynote Presenter at our virtual 2021 #Law4ThePeople Convention!

Register for the Convention at discounted member rates, and learn more about Talila below!

REGISTER NOW!

Talila A. Lewis (no gender pronouns; use Talila or “TL” instead of using pronouns) is an abolitionist community lawyer, educator, and organizer whose work reveals and addresses the inextricable links between ableism, racism, classism, and all forms of systemic oppression and structural inequity. Recognized as a 2015 White House Champion of Change and one of Pacific Standard Magazine’s Top 30 Thinkers Under 30, Lewis engineers innovative and intersectional social justice efforts that address grave interconnected injustices within education, medical, and legal systems that have gone unaddressed for generations. Lewis’s  advocacy primarily focuses on harm and violence reduction and interruption, advocacy with people affected by incarceration/institutionalization, and abolition of all forms of incarceration/institutionalization.

As one of the only people in the nation working to correct and prevent wrongful convictions of deaf/disabled people, Lewis regularly presents and trains on this and related topics. As the creator of the only national database of deaf/blind/disabled people, Lewis advocates with and for hundreds of disabled defendants, incarcerated, and returned people and their loved ones. Lewis co-founded and serves as volunteer director of HEARD (HEARD), a cross-disability abolitionist organization works to end ableism, racism, capitalism, and all other forms of oppression and violence. As a founding member of the Harriet Tubman Collective and the co-creator of Disability Solidarity praxis, Lewis spent most of 2017 and all of 2018 traveling the “United States,” to exchange knowledge with multiply-marginalized communities; visit incarcerated deaf/disabled people; and bake for “love, life & liberation” under the moniker Sweet Solidarity.

Lewis currently serves as a consultant for dozens of social justice organizations on various topics including racial, economic, gender, and disability justice and as an expert on cases involving disabled people. Lewis previously served as the Givelber Public Interest Lecturer at Northeastern University School of Law and as a visiting professor at Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf. A recent graduate of American University Washington College of Law, Lewis has received awards from numerous universities, the American Bar Association, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, American Association for People with Disabilities, the Nation Institute, National Black Deaf Advocates, and EBONY Magazine, among others. 

Lewis is a 2018 Roddenberry Fellow & a 2018 Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity.

Learn more about #Law4ThePeople The post 2021 Keynote Presenter: Talila A. Lewis first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

Welcoming the Newest NLG Review Board Members!

Introducing the new board members of the NLG Review!

The NLG Review is the NLG’s intellectual journal which aims to publish timely, insightful articles that address and respond to the interests and needs of the progressive legal and activist communities. lt has been on hiatus since late Fall 2020, as we have been strategizing ways to increase capacity, streamline the editorial process, and improve the publication overall. We’re thrilled to have the following Guild members as part of the NLGR team, as they will help facilitate this process and bring readers a new-and-improved NLG Review in 2021—and beyond!

Stay tuned for the publication’s relaunch coming this October! In the meantime, read about the new NLGR board members below, and browse past articles at nlg.org/nlg-review.

Dalia Fuleihan, Editor-In-Chief

Dalia Fuleihan (she/her) is a staff attorney with the Asylum Project at the National Immigrant Justice Center. Prior to joining NIJC, Dalia was an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow at the New Haven Legal Assistance Association in Connecticut, where she handled a wide variety of immigration cases, including both detained and non-detained asylum claims, and participated in the creation of a pilot universal representation program for Connecticut residents in removal proceedings. Dalia has been a member of NLG since 2015 when she got involved with her law school chapter. Prior to law school Dalia was a member of Students for Justice in Palestine where she was a co-organizer of a successful divestment campaign and collaborated on the creation of the SJP-Chicago network.

Michael Drake, Executive Editor

Michael Drake (he/him) was appointed to his role as Executive Editor after serving as a Contributing Editor for the Review since 2018. Michael lives in Chicago and is active in the NLG-Chicago chapter. After graduating from UIC Law School in 2020, he completed a fellowship with Legal Aid of Western Michigan focusing on eviction defense. He now works in private practice. Michael opposes institutions and social systems that subjugate the proletariat. He is looking forward to continuing the challenge of maintaining a radical, independent journal.

Jack Hsia, Layout Editor

Jack Hsia (they/them) is currently a Blume Public Interest Law Scholar  at Georgetown University, and graduate of New York University. Outside of law school, Jack has created Design For The People, a graphic design service that aims to provide community organizers, activists, local groups, and nonprofits with affordable visual tools for outreach and education, particularly on legal and policy issues.

Jack’s current and previous professions have included legal services, legislative community liaison, housing activism, educator, research assistant, and teaching at the university of Bogata as a Fulbright Scholar. They are active in Georgetown’s student NLG chapter and a legal observer in both DC and NYC. In addition to their passion for social justice, Jack enjoys sparring in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and rock climbing.

The post Welcoming the Newest NLG Review Board Members! first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

Member Recap: June 18, 2021

 

Welcome to the Member Recap, where you can catch up on NLG news from the last two weeks.

Be sure to keep up with us in real time on social media, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

 

Upcoming Webinars, Publications, and Announcements NLG San Francisco-Bay Area: Root Causes of Forced Migration Webinar Recording

NLG-SF just hosted the third part of their Root Causes of Forced Migration webinar, on Gender-Based Violence and Justice. Here is the recording of their powerful panel on Gender-Based Violence & JusticePlease note that they were unable to attain the English translation audio of Charlotte Alvarenga’s testimony and are in the process of making English subtitles. Also, here is the transcript of the webinar.

NLG Las Vegas Book Club

The Education Committee of the Las Vegas National Lawyers Guild hosted its first meeting of its new book club this week! Though the first meeting passed, registration for later meetings is still open. The dates will be: June 16th, June 30th, July 14th, July 28th, and August 11th, with a special guest on August 28th!

“In keeping with our theme of Policing in America, we are honored to highlight Professor Elizabeth Hinton’s newest release, AMERICA ON FIRE: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion since the 1960’sA discussion with the author will follow on August 28th. The book club will be held virtually via Zoom. For those interested, you can register for the event via Eventbrite, here: NLG-LV Book Club Registration

National Immigration Project (NIP-NLG)’s 2021 Annual Pre-AILA Crimes & Immigration Seminar

NIP-NLG is hosting a two-day seminar series all about immigration, including sessions on: “Winning Effective Post-Conviction Relief for Immigrants,” Crimes of Violence After United States v. Borden,” and “Immigration Implications of Diversion Programs.” There is a registration fee, and all information can be found on their site.

Currently, 7.75 Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit hours are pending with the Virginia State Bar, the State Bar of California, the State Bar of Texas, and the Washington State Bar.

 

 

National, Committee, and Chapter Statements and News NLG Signs onto #NowIsTheTime Letter Urging Biden to Take Action Against Israel’s Oppression of Palestinian People

We, the undersigned global coalition of leaders – from civil society to business, the arts and faith communities, politics and Nobel laureates – call for U.S. leadership to take action to help bring an end to Israel’s institutionalized domination and oppression of the Palestinian people and protect their fundamental human rights. A sustainable and just peace – for all people – will remain elusive if U.S. policy holds to a political status quo devoid of justice and accountability.

Law Enforcement Targets Water Protectors at Treaty People Gathering Against Line 3 Pipeline; About 200 Arrested

On June 7th and 8th, the Treaty People Gathering as part of the Indigenous-led movement to stop Line 3, shut down work at an active Line 3 pump station near the Mississippi headwaters. Thousands of people from across the country gathered together in northern Minnesota to stop Enbridge’s work on its destructive “replacement” pipeline in Anishinaabe territory. Enbridge plans to destroy thousands of sites that are sacred to the Indigenous people who have lived there for thousands of years—including drilling under 22 rivers, over 800 wetlands, and many wild rice tributaries. Approximately 200 activists dedicated to protecting land and water were arrested protesting Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline expansion project, and charged with trespassing on critical infrastructure, an increasingly common tactic used to suppress environmental activism.

NLG Sends Letter to Biden, Harris, and Garland Demanding the White House #DropTheCharges Against BLM Protesters

The undersigned 90 organizations and 4,631 individuals (see enclosed) are writing to call on you to drop the more than 350 federal cases brought against by Black Lives Matter protesters by the previous administration. The historic demonstrations in response to the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have continued an important conversation about the impact of white supremacy and police brutality on Black people in the United States. Across the country in communities large and small, millions of people put their lives on the line during the COVID-19 pandemic to demand an end to institutional racism and police violence.”

NLG In The News 6/15/21 | San Francisco Chronicle Oakland lawyer Walter Riley made the fight for racial justice a family value

Check out this powerful interview with NLG San Francisco-Bay Area attorney Walter Riley: “We have a right to exist. We have a right to fight for ourselves. And we have a right to challenge the system that oppresses us. And that’s extremely important for us to carry with us at all times.”

9/11/21 | LA Times | L.A. city attorney won’t charge 179 protesters, journalists arrested in Echo Park

“Krithika Santhanam, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles, which had petitioned for the charges to be rejected, alerted many of the arrestees to Feuer’s decision by email Friday — saying they no longer had to worry about showing up to scheduled court hearings.”

6/9/21 | Defending Rights and Dissent At Long Last, Have You No Sense of Decency?: 67 Years Ago, McCarthy’s Career Ended; But Political Witch Hunting Continues

“The moment that is most remembered is when McCarthy began badgering the Boston-based attorney Joseph Welch, who was acting as counsel for the army. Welch knew what McCarthy was going to do—bring up that a young associate in his law firm had been a member of the National Lawyers Guild while a student at Harvard Law School*.  When McCarthy brought this up, Welch said, “Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty, or your recklessness.”

6/8/21 | Al Jazeera Groups urge Biden to halt $735m weapons sale to Israel

“We are knowingly transferring weapons to a country that is not only engaged in aggression but also a massive violation of human rights,” said Huwaida Arraf, co-chair of the Palestine subcommittee of the National Lawyers Guild and organiser for Palestinian rights in the US.

6/7/21 | New York Times Police Make Mass Arrests at Protest Against Oil Pipeline

“Near midnight, representatives of the legal aid nonprofit National Lawyers Guild, who were present at the protest, said more than 100 people had been arrested. As the last of the police closed in, a core group of protesters made a stand at the boat. A lone voice shouted in the dark, “Water is life.”

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.

 

Have something you want to see in the next Member Recap? To submit events, news, or other updates for consideration for the Recap, please email charlie@nlg.org!

 

The post Member Recap: June 18, 2021 first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

Law Enforcement Targets Water Protectors at Treaty People Gathering Against Line 3 Pipeline; About 200 Arrested

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: communications@nlg.org

On June 7th and 8th, the Treaty People Gathering as part of the Indigenous-led movement to stop Line 3, shut down work at an active Line 3 pump station near the Mississippi headwaters. Thousands of people from across the country gathered together in northern Minnesota to stop Enbridge’s work on its destructive “replacement” pipeline in Anishinaabe territory. Enbridge plans to destroy thousands of sites that are sacred to the Indigenous people who have lived there for thousands of years—including drilling under 22 rivers, over 800 wetlands, and many wild rice tributaries. Approximately 200 activists dedicated to protecting land and water were arrested protesting Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline expansion project, and charged with trespassing on critical infrastructure, an increasingly common tactic used to suppress environmental activism. Volunteers from the Pipeline Legal Action Network, including the National Lawyers Guild and NLG-Minnesota Chapter; Civil Liberties Defense Center; and Water Protector Legal Collective, are on the ground to provide legal support that includes Legal Observers, jail support, and representation.

During the Gathering, law enforcement unsuccesffuly engaged in shameful tactics in unsuccessful attempts to quash it: On Monday, A Department of Homeland Security helicopter intentionally flew at dangerously low levels above water protectors, engulfing them in clouds of dust and debris. Hours later, police used a Long Range Acoustic Device (or “LRAD”), a military-grade speaker, to issue dispersal orders.

There are serious concerns about the treatment of organizers and activists who have been held for 16 – 20 hours without being booked: people are being denied prescription medications, people with injuries incurred during arrest are being denied medical attention despite multiple requests for aid, and there have been multiple violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act. In Kandiyohi County Jail, water protectors are being denied their 6th Amendment right to speak to an attorney, resulting in friends and family members being denied the ability to check in on the health and wellbeing of loved ones.

While arrested in Hubbard County, the majority of arrestees have been transferred to Aitkin County, Kandiyohi County, Douglas County, Pine County, Todd County & Becker County. These counties are part of the 16-county Northern Lights Task Force, which has received significant funding from the Enbridge Corporation. To date, Enbridge has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars for weapons to suppress the public’s right to express righteous anger at a system that prioritizes corporate profit over the public interest and the environment.

“We have very few options left. We are here to protect the water, the wild rice and the next seven generations of life. Keystone XL was stopped on the merits of environmental justice and treaty rights, this is no different. We demand President Biden take action now,” said Simone Senogles of the Indigenous Environmental Network and RISE Coalition in a statement issued by the Treaty People Gathering.

The efforts to stop Line 3 are far from over, and water protectors remain in custody and being denied their legal rights.

TAKE ACTION:

  1. Call President Biden. Call the White House and Climate Office of Gina McCarthy by dialing: 888-724-8946. Tell them: “President Biden must honor the treaties and protect our climate by stopping the Line 3 tar sands pipeline now.” There is also a petition at https://www.stopline3.org/biden.
  2. Call Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison at 800-657-3787 and say, “Arrested Line 3 water protectors must be granted their legal rights in custody, including the right to speak to an attorney, receive medical attention for injuries sustained during arrest, and any applicable protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
  3. Help free the water protectors: 
  4. Join us. Since Monday afternoon, a beautiful, growing community  has sprung up at the landing where Enbridge plans to drill under the Mississippi. Last night we named it “LeSalle–Camp Fire Light.” We need more people to camp with us to protect the Mississippi and all living things. Learn more at the Rise Coalition Facebook page where you can send a direct message for more information. 

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

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Featured Image: Water protector flies flag that says “NO MORE PIPELINES” at the Treaty People Gathering in northern Minnesota in June 2021, in an action to stop the Line 3 tar sands pipeline that will destroy sacred Indigenous sites. (Credit: Unicorn Riot)

The post Law Enforcement Targets Water Protectors at Treaty People Gathering Against Line 3 Pipeline; About 200 Arrested first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

90 Organizations and 4600+ Individuals Tell Biden Administration to #DropTheCharges Against BLM Protesters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: communications@nlg.org

Last week, the NLG sent a letter to President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Attorney General Merrick Garland—endorsed by a total of 90 organizations and signed by a total of 4600+ individuals—urging them to dismiss the federal charges against more than 350 anti-racist protesters who participated in last year’s mass demonstrations for Black lives. 

The letter states

The undersigned 90 organizations and 4,631 individuals (see enclosed) are writing to call on you to drop the more than 350 federal cases brought against by Black Lives Matter protesters by the previous administration. The historic demonstrations in response to the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have continued an important conversation about the impact of white supremacy and police brutality on Black people in the United States. Across the country in communities large and small, millions of people put their lives on the line during the COVID-19 pandemic to demand an end to institutional racism and police violence. 

Many of the cases brought by former Attorney General William Barr, under the direction of President Donald J. Trump, amount to little more than prosecutorial overreach and are not a matter of protecting public safety. These prosecutions were intended to stifle dissent and protect white supremacy. Maintaining and advancing these prosecutions in federal court under your administration would amount to little more than perpetuating the racism that you repeatedly spoke out against on the campaign trail and during your confirmation hearings, respectively.

It is essential that your administration, including the Department of Justice, take expedient action to dismiss the federal charges against all Black Lives Matter protesters.


In addition to these federal charges, about 13,600 people face state charges for participation in last year’s demonstrations, according to FBI documents obtained by The Prosecution Project. For more information on ongoing #DropTheCharges campaigns in various municipalities, follow the Drop The Charges Coalition.

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

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The post 90 Organizations and 4600+ Individuals Tell Biden Administration to #DropTheCharges Against BLM Protesters first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

2021 NLG Leonard Weinglass Fellowship Recipient: Z Williams

The National Lawyers Guild Foundation and NLG National Office are excited to announce the recipient of the 2021 Leonard I. Weinglass Memorial Fellowship, Z Williams from the NLG Colorado Chapter!

The Weinglass Fellowship is awarded annually to a NLG member and recent law school graduate to spend 10 weeks working on a project in line with the mission of the NLG. As a Weinglass Fellow, Z will be collaborating with the NLG Federal Repression Task Force to develop a Federal Repression Toolkit for NLG Chapters. The toolkit will be a resource for Guild members and will include popular education-based content on the history and threat of federal repression, frameworks for Guild chapters to disseminate information about federal repression including know your rights and movement security, and tools for lawyers and legal workers to identify, track, and challenge repression efforts.

Z (they/them) is a recent graduate of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Prior to law school, Z spent 20 years as a grassroots organizer working at the intersection of racial, gender, disability, and economic justice. They have operated legal hotlines, done solidarity work with political prisoners, and supported activists facing criminal charges for their resistance efforts.They are an active organizer with the Colorado chapter of the NLG and the current Southwest Regional Representative on the NLG National Executive Committee. Z is a working parent to four small children.

Please join us in congratulating Z!

Thanks to a generous bequest from the Weinglass estate, the NLG Foundation has established a fellowship for recent law graduates to work for the NLG on a specific civil rights or civil liberties project. Previous fellows have created projects to develop an environmental justice legal defense plan, assist with parole and sponsorship for LGBTQ+ migrants, reunite American citizen-children with undocumented parents, support community bond funds, and fight a new maximum security prison planned for construction on a former coal mining site.

The post 2021 NLG Leonard Weinglass Fellowship Recipient: Z Williams first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

Member Recap: May 21, 2021

 

Welcome to the Member Recap, where you can catch up on NLG news from the last two weeks.

Be sure to keep up with us in real time on social media, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

Upcoming Webinars, Publications, and Announcements NLG Las Vegas Book Club

The Education Committee of the Las Vegas National Lawyers Guild will be hosting its inaugural book club beginning in June! The dates will be: June 16th, June 30th, July 14th, July 28th, and August 11th, with a special guest on August 28th!

In keeping with our theme of Policing in America, we are honored to highlight Professor Elizabeth Hinton’s newest release, AMERICA ON FIRE: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion since the 1960’sA discussion with the author will follow on August 28th. The book club will be held virtually via Zoom. For those interested, you can register for the event via Eventbrite, here: NLG-LV Book Club Registration

NLG San Francisco-Bay Area: Root Causes of Forced Migration: Climate Change, Food Production, and Environmental Disaster (Part 2)

Join the NLG-SFBA Youth Caucus on May 26 at 6 PM PST alongside attorneys and community organizers for a conversation on how climate change is driving forced migration by endangering food production and increasing environmental disasters that are making locations across the world unlivable, and how grassroots movements are fighting against these incredible forces.

NLG San Francisco-Bay Area: California Public Records Act Requests and SB1421 for Activists, Legal Workers, and Movement Lawyers

Join the NLG-SFBA on June 1 at 6 PM PST for another CPRA workshop with Abenicio Cisneros. This workshop will discuss tactics and challenges of California Public Act requests made regarding records that are disclosable under SB1421 which includes; officer use-of-force incidents, sexual assault, and acts of dishonesty.

NLG San Francisco-Bay Area: Freeing Fremont Schools: No SROs in FUSD Town Hall

Join the NLG-SFBA Youth Caucus on June 6, 3-4:30 PM PST as they explore the harmful presence of School Resource Officers (SRO) in the Fremont School District, what they would want their schools to fund instead, and connect to other organizers who are fighting similar campaigns. If you are interested in joining the Youth Caucus or have any inquiries about the Town Hall, please email our program coordinator Savannah Landau, here: savannah@nlgsf.org

National Immigration Project (NIP-NLG)’s 2021 Annual Pre-AILA Crimes & Immigration Seminar

NIP-NLG is hosting a two-day seminar series all about immigration, including sessions on: “Winning Effective Post-Conviction Relief for Immigrants,” Crimes of Violence After United States v. Borden,” and “Immigration Implications of Diversion Programs.” There is a registration fee, and all information can be found on their site.

Currently, 7.75 Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit hours are pending with the Virginia State Bar, the State Bar of California, the State Bar of Texas, and the Washington State Bar.

Help Us #DropTheCharges Against BLM Protesters!

So far, we’ve received 2,500 signatures on our national petition demanding that the Biden administration drop the federal charges against the 350+ protesters who participated in last year’s uprising for Black lives. Help us reach our goal of 5,000 by May 25, the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder. SIGN and SHARE the letter at bit.ly/DropTheChargesBLM and/or signal boost any of the following posts: FacebookTwitter / Instagram

We’re also collecting organizational endorsements, with 45 groups signed on so far!  If your organization would like to endorse, please complete the form here.

 

National, Committee, and Chapter Statements and News Human Rights and Press Freedom Groups Call on Rep Gregory Meeks (D-WA) to Stop Weapons Sale to Israeli Government Following Attacks on Associated Press and Al Jazeera Offices in Gaza

Freedom of the press is an essential human right. The Israeli military’s bombing of international press offices actively interfered with the ability of journalists to document the situation on the ground in Gaza, including their ability to document human rights abuses and potential war crimes. Especially in light of numerous reports of social media censorship targeting Palestinians, it’s crucial that reporters in Gaza are able to do their jobs safely and without military interference. 

NLG National Statement in Solidarity with the People of Colombia in their Historic Uprising for Peace, the Right to a Dignified Life, and Against Militarism and Repression

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) stands in solidarity with the people of Colombia in their national uprising for peace, in defense of the right to a dignified life, and against militarism and repression by the U.S.-backed government headed by President Iván Duque. We call on our members and allies throughout the United States and around the world to stand and act in support of this struggle, and to demand the immediate end of U.S and European military and police aid to Duque’s authoritarian regime.

NLG National Statement in Solidarity with the People of Palestine in their Struggle Against the Settler Colonial State of Israel

Israel has continued to violate international law even as calls for accountability have become increasingly louder on a global scale. For example, the International Criminal Court, after years of delay, finally announced that it will open an investigation into Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity in Palestine. All existing forms of international intervention have until now failed to persuade or force Israel to comply with humanitarian law, to respect fundamental human rights and to end its occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine. 

NLG Los Angeles Welcomes New Executive Director, Krithika Santhanam

In a letter to NLG-LA membership, interim ED Jim Lafferty wrote: “I am confident that Krithika will prove to be one of the very best of them all. Certainly, her loving personality, generosity of spirit, great mind, and total commitment to everything the Guild stands for, promises no less. I look forward to getting to know her even better over the next few weeks, as I offer her any assistance she might need in fully orientating into her new role. Although I suspect I will learn as much from her as she will from me.”

NLG In The News 5/21/21 | Al Jazeera Leaks show DC cops justify ‘aggressive’ protest tactics

“Maggie Ellinger-Locke, chair of NLG Mass Defense Committee that oversees the legal observer programme, told Al Jazeera “learning about this is troubling, but it’s not surprising. There is a long history of law enforcement attacks against NLG.”

5/21/21 | Common Dreams Coalition Pressures Key Democrat Gregory Meeks to Back Resolution Blocking Arms Sale to Israel

“In a joint statement, Fight for the Future, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, MediaJustice, MPower Change, and National Lawyers Guild pointed to the Israeli military’s recent bombing of buildings in Gaza that housed the offices of international and local news outlets, including prominent publications such as the Associated Press and Al Jazeera.”

5/17/21 | Southern Poverty Law Center Press Center | Hundreds of Immigrants Detained in Mississippi Endangered in COVID-19 Outbreak Caused by U.S. Government

“A catastrophic COVID-19 outbreak at the Adams County Detention Center (ACDC) in Natchez, Miss., is recklessly endangering the lives of hundreds of people, says a new Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) complaint filed today by immigrant rights organizations [incl. National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild] with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and Office of the Inspector General (OIG).”

5/15/21 | Seattle Times National vaccination effort leaves ICE detainees behind

““We’re talking people who have been detained for a really long time, who have been let down and disappointed multiple times by the medical neglect and COVID outbreaks that were completely preventable, and then they were being approached and told, ‘Come and take this vaccine,’” said Sirine Shebaya, executive director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, noting that some detainees offered the vaccine have been unwilling to be injected.”

5/3/21 | Common Dreams National Lawyers Guild Urges Biden to Align US Israel-Palestine Policy With International Law

“The memo (pdf), authored by the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) International Committee’s Palestine Subcommittee, notes that after four years of “bullish and detrimental” U.S. policy on Palestine and Israel under the Trump administration, “the health, human rights, and humanitarian situation for Palestinians—both in Palestine and in the refugee camps of surrounding countries—is dire.”

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.

 

Have something you want to see in the next Member Recap? To submit events, news, or other updates for consideration for the Recap, please email charlie@nlg.org!

 

The post Member Recap: May 21, 2021 first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

Human Rights and Press Freedom Groups Call on Rep Gregory Meeks (D-WA) to Stop Weapons Sale to Israeli Government Following Attacks on Associated Press and Al Jazeera Offices in Gaza

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: press@fightforthefuture.org, 978-852-6457

Following the Israeli military’s bombing of offices of international press outlets including the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, an effort has emerged in Congress to block a planned $735 million weapons sale to the Israeli government, led by Reps Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.). 

But realistically for the effort to move forward, it would need the support of the House Foreign Affairs Committee chair by Rep Gregory Meeks (D-NY). Today, human rights and press freedom organizations Fight for the Future, Freedom of the Press Foundation, MediaJustice, MPower Change, and National Lawyers Guild issued the following joint statement:

Freedom of the press is an essential human right. The Israeli military’s bombing of international press offices actively interfered with the ability of journalists to document the situation on the ground in Gaza, including their ability to document human rights abuses and potential war crimes. Especially in light of numerous reports of social media censorship targeting Palestinians, it’s crucial that reporters in Gaza are able to do their jobs safely and without military interference. 

The U.S. government should not be selling weapons to a government that has shown repeatedly it will use them to attack media outlets and journalists. As Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep Gregory Meeks must allow a vote on the proposal to halt the arms deal. If he fails to do so, he’s actively working against freedom of the press, democracy, and human rights around the globe.

###

The post Human Rights and Press Freedom Groups Call on Rep Gregory Meeks (D-WA) to Stop Weapons Sale to Israeli Government Following Attacks on Associated Press and Al Jazeera Offices in Gaza first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

Statement in Solidarity with the People of Colombia in their Historic Uprising for Peace, the Right to a Dignified Life, and Against Militarism and Repression

Spanish and Portuguese translations below.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 18, 2021

Contact: communications@nlg.org

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) stands in solidarity with the people of Colombia in their national uprising for peace, in defense of the right to a dignified life, and against militarism and repression by the U.S.-backed government headed by President Iván Duque. We call on our members and allies throughout the United States and around the world to stand and act in support of this struggle, and to demand the immediate end of U.S and European military and police aid to Duque’s authoritarian regime. 

This uprising reflects the desperation of 73% of Colombia’s people who live in poverty and precarity, unable to guarantee their families three meals a day, in one of the most unequal countries in Latin America and globally. This has been exacerbated by the devastating impact of the COVID pandemic: Colombia is among the 15 countries in the world with the highest rates of cases and deaths. 

The immediate spark for the uprising was Duque’s attempted imposition of a “tax reform” package that would have shifted the burden of this crisis even more sharply to Colombia’s poorest sectors and middle class and intensified the ongoing privatization of its pension, health, and educational systems. Over 15 million people have engaged in these protests in about 800 of Colombia’s 1,122 municipalities, with an average of 300 local mobilizations each day. 

The leading demands of the uprising include a universal, free COVID vaccination program and the implementation of a Universal Basic Income, as well as sectoral claims framed by Colombia’s youth, women, campesinos, Indigenous peoples, and Afro-Colombian communities throughout the country. 

Colombia’s 1991 Constitution, and the leading court cases which have interpreted it, specifically incorporate core internationally recognized economic, social and cultural rights, including the rights to peace, health, education, housing, and all the social and economic support necessary to make a dignified life possible. But these mandates have been severely undermined by neoliberal policies that have been imposed for most of the last 30 years, and most dramatically by Duque’s proposed “reforms”.

April 9, 2021 marked 73 years since the bloody U.S.-backed repression of a popular uprising sparked by the assassination of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán. Gaitán embodied the same hopes and dreams of social justice that are the driving forces in Colombia’s popular uprising, which have led to uninterrupted national protests throughout the country since April 28, 2021. 

The year of the murder of Gaitán, 1948, marked the beginning of the use by the United States of Colombia as its most strategic regional ally and as a crucial laboratory for the Cold War in Latin America. This eventually laid the groundwork for Colombia’s devastating civil war, the most protracted conflict of its kind in the world. Between 1964 and 2016, over 200,000 people died and more than 5 million people–primarily of Afro-Colombian descent and from its poorest rural and Indigenous communities–were forcibly disappeared. During this period Colombia was the focus of the U.S-backed “drug war,” in the 1980’s and 1990’s through US-funded “Plan Colombia,” and since 9/11/2001, as the region’s “anti-terrorist pivot.” 

No other country in Latin America has received as much continuous military and police aid (over $300 million requested for 2021) as Colombia. It is this aid that has facilitated remilitarization of the country and President Duque’s repression of mass protests in November 2019. U.S. aid enables the current repression of protests, with more than 50 deaths and hundreds of people who are injured, tortured, disappeared, and targeted for sexual violence. A deep national debate over the implications of police violence, which often targets Afro-Colombians, Indigenous peoples, women and youth, is a key part of Colombia’s protest movement. Colombia’s national police, which have been an integral part of Colombia’s military command structure for decades, must be fully demilitarized. 

U.S. military and police aid defies and undermines the intent and scope of the historic 2016 Peace Accords, which the U.S. officially supported under President Obama, but which were never matched by any rethinking of U.S. policy. The peace process was opposed from the beginning by Duque and his mentor, former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, and their paramilitary and elite allies in the country’s ruling oligarchy. At the outset of the current protests, Ex-President Uribe, who is being prosecuted criminally and civilly for numerous human rights crimes, tweeted in support of the military and police that law enforcement should “protect themselves” against “vandals and criminals”. It is inflammatory language such as Uribe’s comment on Twitter and in other public spaces that continues to incite violence.

Despite the signing of the Peace Accords in 2016, over 1,100 social justice activists—many of them Indigenous and Afro-Colombian—have been killed since the signing. According to Frontline Defenders, during 2020, 177 Colombian human rights defenders were killed (the global total was 331). As of January 2021, over 250 ex-combatants have systematically been targeted and killed since 2016 by paramilitary violence. 

These issues have been raised in a petition recently filed with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, and are also reflected in relevant judgments and proceedings of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and Colombian courts.

National and international public news sources report the following data so far as to current human rights violations during the ongoing national protest, with numbers climbing steadily and changing daily:

  • 341 victims of physical violence at the hands of public forces
  • 53 homicides – attributed to members of the public forces
  • 1,431 cases of arbitrary detentions
  • 551 persons forcibly DISAPPEARED since the beginning of the protests
  • 423 cases of police repression
  • 29 persons with eye impact wounds 
  • 30 acts of gender-based violence

As a community of lawyers, legal workers and advocates who prioritize human rights and support for justice and liberation of oppressed peoples, we stand in solidarity with the people of Colombia who have been on the receiving end of overall, blatant disproportionate use of force against unarmed civilians engaged in the fundamentally-protected right to social protest.

THEREFORE,

We call upon the United States Congress immediately to end U.S. military and police aid to the Duque regime, pursuant to the Leahy law* and other relevant standards.

We ask Congress to initiate hearings to start a process of detailed monitoring and suspension of civilian aid (e.g., through USAID or for purposes of fumigation) that might be diverted to military or policing.

  • We denounce and clearly and unequivocally condemn Colombian state and paramilitary violence against peaceful protesters throughout the country, and especially, recently, in cities such as Cali, Pereira, Barranquilla, and Popayán.
  • We call for full legal accountability for Colombian state and paramilitary crimes, and U.S complicity in those crimes, including ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity, in our international, regional, and domestic courts.
  • We affirm that the civil rights of the Colombian people to protest and assemble peacefully, and to free speech and association, in resistance to military, police and paramilitary repression and intimidation, must be protected.
  • We demand the release of all Colombian political prisoners and an end to the use of torture and administrative detention. Hundreds have been arrested and disappeared since the current wave of protests began on April 28, and many cases of deaths and abuses during the previous wave of protests in November 2019 languish in impunity.

We will continue to work towards a world where human rights are valued above property rights and a world where civil rights protests for social justice are respected and not repressed. We ask the public at large to join us in this effort and contact your state representatives and ask them to end support for military aid to Colombia immediately.

#StoptheMassacre #SOSColombia 

* The Leahy Laws or Leahy amendments are U.S. human rights laws that prohibit the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense from providing military assistance to foreign security force units that violate human rights with impunity. It is named after its principal sponsor, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont). 

This statement was coordinated by members of the NLG International Committee’s Task Force on the Americas.

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

Declaración de Solidaridad con el Pueblo de Colombia en su Histórico Levantamiento por la Paz, el Derecho a una Vida Digna y Contra el Militarismo y la Represión

PARA PUBLICACIÓN INMEDIATA

May 18, 2021

Contact: communications@nlg.org

El Gremio Nacional de Abogados se solidariza con el pueblo de Colombia en su levantamiento nacional por la paz, en defensa del derecho a una vida digna y contra el militarismo y la represión del gobierno encabezado por el presidente Iván Duque y respaldado por los Estados Unidos. Hacemos un llamado a nuestros miembros y aliados en todo Estados Unidos y en todo el mundo para que se pongan de pie y actúen en apoyo de esta lucha, y exijan el fin inmediato de la ayuda militar y policial estadounidense y europea al régimen autoritario de Duque.

Este levantamiento refleja la desesperación del 73% de la población colombiana que vive en la pobreza y la precariedad, sin poder garantizar a sus familias 3 comidas al día, en uno de los países más desiguales de América Latina y del mundo. Esto se ha visto agravado por el impacto devastador de la pandemia de COVID. Colombia se encuentra entre los 15 países del mundo con las tasas más altas de casos y muertes.

La chispa inmediata del levantamiento fue el intento de Duque de imponer un paquete de “reforma tributaria” que habría trasladado la carga de esta crisis aún más drásticamente a los sectores más pobres y la clase media de Colombia, e intensificado la privatización en curso de sus pensiones, salud y sistemas de educación. Más de 15 millones de personas se han levantado en estas protestas en alrededor de 800 de los 1,122 municipios de Colombia, con un promedio de alrededor de 300 movilizaciones diarias a nivel local.

Las principales demandas del levantamiento incluyen un programa universal y gratuito de vacunación COVID y la implementación de una renta básica universal, así como reclamos sectoriales enmarcados por jóvenes, mujeres, campesinos, pueblos indígenas y comunidades afrocolombianas en todo el país.

La Constitución de 1991 de Colombia y los principales casos judiciales que la han interpretado incorporan específicamente los derechos fundamentales económicos, sociales y culturales, reconocidos internacionalmente incluido el derecho a vivir en paz y el acceso a la salud, la educación, la vivienda y la asistencia social necesaria para hacer una vida digna posible. Pero estos imperativos se han visto gravemente socavados por las políticas neoliberales que se han impuesto durante la mayor parte de los últimos 30 años y, de manera más dramática, por las “reformas” propuestas por Duque.

El 9 de abril de 2021 se cumplieron 73 años desde la sangrienta represión respaldada por Estados Unidos de un levantamiento popular provocado por el asesinato de Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, quien encarnaba las mismas esperanzas y sueños de justicia social que son las fuerzas impulsoras del levantamiento popular de Colombia, que ha llevado a protestas nacionales ininterrumpidas en todo el país desde el 28 de abril de 2021. 

El año del asesinato de Gaitán, 1948, marcó el inicio del papel central de Colombia como el aliado regional más estratégico de Estados Unidos y como un laboratorio para la Guerra Fría de América Latina. Esto finalmente sentó las bases para la devastadora guerra civil de Colombia, el conflicto más prolongado de este tipo en el mundo. Entre 1964 y 2016, más de 200,000 personas murieron y más de 5 millones de personas, principalmente de ascendencia afrocolombiana y de las comunidades rurales e indígenas más pobres, fueron desaparecidas por la fuerza. Durante este período, Colombia estuvo en el centro de la “guerra contra las drogas” respaldada por Estados Unidos durante las décadas de 1980 y 1990 a través del “Plan Colombia” financiado por Estados Unidos, y del pivote “antiterrorista” de la región a raíz del 11 de septiembre de 2001.

Ningún otro país de América Latina ha recibido tanta ayuda militar y policial continua (más de $ 300 millones solicitados para 2021) como Colombia durante este período. Es esta ayuda la que ha facilitado la militarización del país y la represión de las protestas masivas por parte del presidente Duque en noviembre de 2019. Es la ayuda financiera estadounidense que posibilita la represión actual de las protestas que ha resultado en más de 50 muertes, cientos de heridos, torturados, desaparecidos, y violencia sexual selectiva. Un debate nacional profundo sobre las implicaciones de la violencia policial, que con frecuencia tiene como blanco a afrocolombianos, pueblos indígenas, mujeres y jóvenes, es una parte clave de las protestas en Colombia. La policía nacional de Colombia ha sido una parte integral de la estructura de mando militar de Colombia durante décadas y debe ser completamente desmilitarizada.

La ayuda militar y policial de EE. UU. desafía y socava la intención y el alcance de los históricos Acuerdos de Paz de 2016, que EE. UU. apoyó oficialmente bajo el presidente Obama, pero que nunca fueron reflejados por un replanteamiento de la política de EE. UU. Al proceso de paz se opusieron desde el principio Duque y su mentor, el ex presidente colombiano Álvaro Uribe, y sus aliados paramilitares y de élite en la oligarquía gobernante del país. Al comienzo de las protestas actuales, el ex presidente Uribe, quien está siendo procesado penal y civilmente por numerosos delitos contra los derechos humanos, tuiteó en apoyo de los militares y la policía que las fuerzas del orden deben “protegerse” contra “vándalos y delincuentes”. Es un lenguaje incendiario como el comentario de Uribe en Twitter y en otros espacios públicos que sigue incitando a la violencia.

A pesar de la firma de los Acuerdos de Paz en 2016, más de 1.100 activistas por la justicia social, muchos de ellos indígenas y afrocolombianos, han sido asesinados desde la firma. Según Frontline Defenders, durante 2020, 177 defensores de derechos humanos colombianos fueron asesinados (el total mundial fue 331). A enero de 2021, más de 250 excombatientes han sido sistemáticamente atacados y asesinados desde 2016 por la violencia paramilitar.

Estas cuestiones han sido planteadas en una petición presentada recientemente ante el Fiscal de la Corte Penal Internacional en La Haya, y también se reflejan en las sentencias y procedimientos pertinentes de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos y los tribunales colombianos.

Fuentes de noticias públicas nacionales e internacionales informan los siguientes datos sobre las violaciones actuales de los derechos humanos durante la protesta nacional en curso, y las cifras aumentan constantemente y cambian a diario:

  • 341 víctimas de violencia física a manos de la fuerza pública 
  • 53 homicidios – atribuidos a miembros de la fuerza pública 
  • 1.431 casos de detenciones arbitrarias 
  • 551 personas DESAPARECIDAS a la fuerza desde el inicio de las protestas 
  • 423 casos de represión policial 
  • 29 personas con heridas por impacto en los ojos 
  • 30 actos de violencia de género

Como comunidad de abogados, trabajadores legales y defensores que priorizan los derechos humanos y el apoyo a la justicia y la liberación de los pueblos oprimidos, nos solidarizamos con el pueblo de Colombia que ha estado en el extremo receptor del uso general, flagrante y desproporcionado de la fuerza contra personas civiles desarmadas, comprometidos en el acto de la protesta social, un derecho fundamentalmente protegido.

POR LO TANTO, 

Hacemos un llamado al Congreso de los Estados Unidos y exigimos el fin inmediato de la ayuda militar y policial de los Estados Unidos al régimen de Duque, de conformidad con la ley Leahy y otras normas relevantes. 

Solicitamos que el Congreso inicie audiencias para iniciar un proceso de seguimiento detallado y suspensión de la ayuda civil (e.j., a través de USAID o para fines de fumigación) que podría desviarse a fines similares.

  • Denunciamos y condenamos clara e inequívocamente la violencia estatal y paramilitar colombiana contra manifestantes pacíficos en todo el país, y especialmente, recientemente, en ciudades como Cali, Pereira y Barranquilla, y Popayán.
  • Hacemos un llamado a la plena responsabilidad legal por los crímenes estatales y paramilitares colombianos, y la complicidad de Estados Unidos en esos crímenes, incluidos los crímenes de guerra en curso y los crímenes de lesa humanidad, en nuestros tribunales internacionales, regionales y nacionales.
  • Afirmamos que se deben proteger los derechos civiles del pueblo colombiano a manifestarse y reunirse pacíficamente, y a la libertad de expresión, en resistencia a la represión e intimidación militar, policial y paramilitar.
  • Exigimos la liberación de todos los presos políticos colombianos y el fin del uso de la tortura y la detención administrativa. Cientos han sido arrestados y desaparecidos desde que comenzó la actual ola de protestas el 28 de abril, y muchos casos de muertes y abusos durante la anterior ola de protestas en noviembre de 2019 languidecen en la impunidad.

Continuaremos trabajando por un mundo donde los derechos humanos se valoren por encima de los derechos de propiedad y un mundo donde las protestas por los derechos civiles por la justicia social sean respetadas y no reprimidas. Le pedimos al público en general que se una a nosotros en este esfuerzo y se comunique con sus representantes estatales y les pida que dejen de apoyar la ayuda militar a Colombia de inmediato.

#StoptheMassacre #SOSColombia 

*La ley Leahy o las enmiendas de Leahy son leyes de derechos humanos de los EE. UU. que prohíben al Departamento de Estado y al Departamento de Defensa de los EE. UU. brindar asistencia militar a unidades de fuerzas de seguridad extranjeras que violan los derechos humanos con impunidad. Lleva el nombre de su patrocinador principal, el senador Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont).

El Gremio Nacional de Abogados se formó en 1937 como el primer colegio de abogados nacionalmente integrado racialmente en los EE. UU., que aboga por la protección de los derechos constitucionales, humanos y civiles.

# # #

Declaração de solidariedade ao povo da Colômbia em sua histórica revolta pela paz, o direito a uma vida digna e contra o militarismo e a repressão

PARA DIVULGAÇÃO IMEDIATA

18 de maio de 2021

Contato: Communications@nlg.org 

O National Lawyers Guild se solidariza com o povo da Colômbia em sua rebelião nacional pela paz, em defesa do direito a uma vida digna e contra o militarismo e a repressão do governo apoiado pelos Estados Unidos liderado pelo presidente Iván Duque. Apelamos aos nossos membros e aliados em todos os Estados Unidos e em todo o mundo para se posicionarem e agirem em apoio a esta luta e exigir o fim imediato da ajuda militar e policial dos EUA e da Europa ao regime autoritário de Duque.

Essa revolta reflete o desespero de 73% da população colombiana que vive na pobreza e na precariedade, sem poder garantir às suas famílias 3 refeições diárias, em um dos países mais desiguais da América Latina e do mundo. Isso foi exacerbado pelo impacto devastador da pandemia COVID. A Colômbia está entre os 15 países do mundo com as maiores taxas de casos e mortes.

A faísca imediata para a rebelião foi a tentativa de Duque de impor um pacote de “reforma tributária” que teria transferido o fardo desta crise ainda mais acentuadamente para os setores mais pobres e classe média da Colômbia, e intensificou a privatização em curso de suas pensões, saúde e educação sistemas. Mais de 15 milhões de pessoas se envolveram nesses protestos em cerca de 800 dos 1.122 municípios da Colômbia, com uma média de cerca de 300 mobilizações por dia em nível local.

As principais demandas da rebelião incluem um programa universal e gratuito de vacinação COVID e a implementação de uma renda básica universal, bem como reivindicações setoriais formuladas por jovens colombianos, mulheres, camponeses, povos indígenas e comunidades afro-colombianas em todo o país.

A Constituição da Colômbia de 1991 e os principais processos judiciais que a interpretaram incorporam especificamente os direitos econômicos, sociais e culturais fundamentais reconhecidos internacionalmente, incluindo o direito de viver em paz e o acesso à saúde, educação, moradia e todo o apoio social e econômico necessário para tornar possível uma vida digna. Mas esses imperativos foram severamente minados pelas políticas neoliberais que foram impostas na maior parte dos últimos 30 anos, e mais dramaticamente pelas propostas de “reformas” de Duque.

9 de abril de 2021 marcou 73 anos desde a sangrenta repressão apoiada pelos Estados Unidos de um levante popular desencadeado pelo assassinato de Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, que encarnou as mesmas esperanças e sonhos de justiça social que são as forças motrizes do levante popular da Colômbia, que liderou a protestos nacionais ininterruptos em todo o país por mais de duas semanas, desde 28 de abril de 2021. 

O ano do assassinato de Gaitán, 1948, marcou o início da utilização pelos Estados Unidos da Colômbia como seu aliado regional mais estratégico e como um laboratório crucial para a Guerra Fria da América Latina. Isso acabou lançando as bases para a devastadora guerra civil da Colômbia, o conflito mais prolongado desse tipo no mundo. Entre 1964 e 2016, mais de 200.000 pessoas morreram e mais de 5 milhões de pessoas – principalmente de ascendência afro-colombiana e de suas comunidades rurais e indígenas mais pobres – desapareceram à força. Durante este período, a Colômbia foi o foco da “guerra às drogas” apoiada pelos EUA, nas décadas de 1980 e 1990 por meio do “Plano Colômbia” financiado pelos EUA e, desde 11/9/2001, como o pivô “antiterrorista” da região. ”

Nenhum outro país da América Latina recebeu tanta ajuda militar e policial contínua (mais de US $ 300 milhões solicitados para 2021) como a Colômbia durante este período. É essa ajuda que tem facilitado a remilitarização do país e a repressão do Presidente Duque aos protestos em massa em novembro de 2019. Ajuda dos EUA e possibilita a atual repressão aos protestos, com mais de 50 mortes, centenas de feridos, torturados, desaparecidos e alvos para fins sexuais violência. Um profundo debate nacional sobre as implicações da violência policial, que muitas vezes atinge afro-colombianos, povos indígenas, mulheres e jovens, é uma parte fundamental do movimento de protesto da Colômbia. A polícia nacional da Colômbia tem sido parte integrante da estrutura de comando militar da Colômbia há décadas e deve ser totalmente desmilitarizada.

A ajuda militar e policial dos EUA desafia e prejudica a intenção e o escopo dos históricos Acordos de Paz de 2016, que os EUA apoiaram oficialmente sob o presidente Obama, mas que nunca foram acompanhados por qualquer repensar da política dos EUA. O processo de paz foi combatido desde o início por Duque e seu mentor, o ex-presidente colombiano Alvaro Uribe, e seus aliados paramilitares e de elite na oligarquia governante do país. No início dos protestos em curso, o ex-presidente Uribe, que está sendo processado criminal e civilmente por vários crimes de direitos humanos, tuitou em apoio aos militares e à polícia que as forças de segurança deveriam “se proteger” contra “vândalos e criminosos”. É uma linguagem inflamatória, como o comentário de Uribe no Twitter e em outros espaços públicos, que continua a incitar a violência.

Apesar da assinatura dos Acordos de Paz em 2016, mais de 1.100 ativistas da justiça social – muitos deles indígenas e afro-colombianos – foram mortos desde a assinatura. De acordo com o Frontline Defenders, durante 2020, 177 defensores dos direitos humanos colombianos foram mortos (o total global foi 331). Entre 2016 e janeiro de 2021, mais de 250 ex-combatentes foram sistematicamente alvos e mortos pela violência paramilitar.

Essas questões foram levantadas em uma petição recentemente apresentada ao Promotor do Tribunal Penal Internacional de Haia e também estão refletidas em julgamentos e procedimentos relevantes da Corte Interamericana de Direitos Humanos e tribunais colombianos.

Fontes de notícias públicas nacionais e internacionais relatam os seguintes dados sobre as atuais violações de direitos humanos durante o protesto nacional em andamento, com os números aumentando continuamente e mudando diariamente:

341 vítimas de violência física nas mãos das forças públicas

  • 53 homicídios – atribuídos a membros das forças públicas
  • 1.431 casos de detenções arbitrárias
  • 551 pessoas DESAPARECERAM à força desde o início dos protestos
  • 423 casos de repressão policial
  • 29 pessoas com feridas de impacto nos olhos
  • 30 atos de violência de gênero

Como uma comunidade de advogados/as, trabalhadores/as legais e defensores que priorizam os direitos humanos e o apoio à justiça e à libertação dos povos oprimidos, nos solidarizamos com o povo da Colômbia, que tem sofrido com o uso desproporcional da força contra desarmados civis engajados no direito fundamentalmente protegido ao protesto social.

PORTANTO,

Instamos o Congresso dos Estados Unidos a encerrar imediatamente a ajuda militar e policial dos EUA ao regime de Duque, de acordo com a lei Leahy* e outras normas relevantes.

Pedimos que o Congresso inicie audiências para iniciar um processo de monitoramento detalhado e suspensão da ajuda civil (por exemplo, através da USAID ou para fins de fumigação “contra as drogas’) que pode ser desviada para fins semelhantes.

  • Denunciamos e condenamos clara e inequivocamente a violência estatal e paramilitar colombiana contra manifestantes pacíficos em todo o país, especialmente, recentemente, em cidades como Cali, Pereira, Barranquilla e Popayán.
  • Pedimos total responsabilidade legal pelos crimes estaduais e paramilitares colombianos e cumplicidade dos EUA nesses crimes, incluindo contínuos crimes de guerra e crimes contra a humanidade, em nossos tribunais internacionais, regionais e domésticos.
  • Afirmamos que os direitos civis do povo colombiano de protestar e se reunir pacificamente e à liberdade de expressão, em resistência à repressão e intimidação militar, policial e paramilitar, devem ser protegidos.
  • Exigimos a libertação de todos os presos políticos colombianos e o fim do uso de tortura e detenção administrativa. Centenas de pessoas foram presas e desapareceram desde que a atual onda de protestos começou em 28 de abril, e muitos casos de mortes e abusos durante a onda de protestos anterior em novembro de 2019 estão impunes.

Continuaremos a trabalhar para um mundo onde os direitos humanos sejam valorizados acima dos direitos de propriedade e um mundo onde os protestos dos direitos civis pela justiça social sejam respeitados e não reprimidos. Pedimos ao público em geral que se junte a nós neste esforço e entre em contato com seus representantes estaduais e pedimos que encerrem imediatamente o apoio à ajuda militar à Colômbia.

#StoptheMassacre #SOSColombia

* As Leis Leahy ou as emendas de Leahy são leis de direitos humanos dos EUA que proíbem o Departamento de Estado e o Departamento de Defesa dos EUA de fornecer assistência militar a unidades de forças de segurança estrangeiras que violam os direitos humanos com impunidade. Recebeu o nome de seu principal patrocinador, o senador Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont). 

A National Lawyers Guild foi formada em 1937 como a primeira ordem de advogados/as nacionalmente integrada racialmente nos EUA a defender a proteção dos direitos constitucionais, humanos e civis.

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The post Statement in Solidarity with the People of Colombia in their Historic Uprising for Peace, the Right to a Dignified Life, and Against Militarism and Repression first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

Statement in Solidarity with the People of Palestine in their Struggle Against the Settler Colonial State of Israel

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: communications@nlg.org

The National Lawyers Guild stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle against the settler colonial state of Israel and calls on our members and allies throughout the United States and around the globe to stand and act in support of that struggle. 

May 15 will mark 73 years of the Nakba. In 1948, the Zionist settler colonial movement with the support of imperialist powers established the state of Israel through the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, waged through massacres and the destruction of over 500 Palestinian villages. This colonial project continues today as we are witnessing the forced expulsion of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem by armed settlers, indiscriminate violence against Palestinian protestors, attacks on Palestinian holy sites, and the ongoing devastating closure and indiscriminate bombing of Gaza. 

As we commemorate the Nakba, we note that despite 73 years of colonization and forced dispossession, the Palestinian people remain united to confront occupation and Zionism. The struggles in Jerusalem and Gaza have been accompanied by uprisings throughout the occupied West Bank and by Palestinian citizens of Israel, defending themselves and their fellow Palestinians. This united rising in confrontation with colonialism holds truly transformative potential.

Israel has continued to violate international law even as calls for accountability have become increasingly louder on a global scale. For example, the International Criminal Court, after years of delay, finally announced that it will open an investigation into Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity in Palestine. All existing forms of international intervention have until now failed to persuade or force Israel to comply with humanitarian law, to respect fundamental human rights and to end its occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine. 

As a U.S. based organization, we underline that the United States has been in many ways directly responsible for Israel’s ongoing impunity, including through repeated use of the veto at the United Nations to block international action to challenge Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people. As Israel’s attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem, Gaza and throughout occupied Palestine have intensified, only two days ago, the United States pressured the Security Council to hold off on even issuing a statement on Israel’s unlawful actions in Sheikh Jarrah, Al-Aqsa Mosque and occupied Jerusalem generally. The United States also provides $3.8 billion in direct aid to Israel each year, specifically earmarked for military purposes. Thus, the ongoing Israeli warfare being waged on the Palestinian civilian population is in fact also ongoing U.S. warfare. 

Palestinians have repeatedly called for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Indeed, Arab states have imposed a boycott of Israel for decades for its ongoing occupation of Arab land, including Palestinian and Syrian land. The United States has expended a tremendous amount of military and financial pressure to undermine and break the Arab boycott of Israel, from the Camp David accords with Egypt in 1978 to the more recent attempts at a “deal of the century” and the “Abraham Accords.” These normalization campaigns, sponsored and funded by the United States, aim to expand the complicity of Arab states with Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity while denying the Palestinian people international support. Normalization with Israel is a U.S. project designed to advance Israeli impunity. 

As a community of legal workers and advocates who prioritize human rights and support for justice and liberation of oppressed people, we must stand firm in our solidarity by: 

  • Clearly and unequivocally condemning Israeli state and colonial violence against the Palestinian people from Gaza to Jerusalem, in the West Bank and throughout historical Palestine. 
  • Escalating our pursuit for legal accountability for Israeli colonial violence, ethnic cleansing, ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the crime of apartheid, in our global and local legal institutions.
  • Affirming the legal right of all Palestinian refugees to return to Palestine. International law upholds the Palestinian right to return. U.N. General Assembly Resolution 3236 (1974) reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty, and the right of Palestinians to return to their homes and property.
  • Affirming and protecting the legal right of Palestinians to resist the colonizing power that seeks to annihilate them. International law also upholds the right of self-defense for peoples under colonial and foreign domination and subjugation, “reaffirm[ing] the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle.”
  • Demanding the release of all Palestinian prisoners and an end the use of torture and administrative detention. Israel holds about 4,500 Palestinians in its prisons, among them 41 women and 140 children under 18. Since the beginning of 2021, Israeli authorities have arrested more than 1,400 Palestinians merely for challenging the occupation. 
  • Supporting the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions of all institutions whose conduct is complicit in Israeli crimes, complicit in Israeli apartheid, complicit in the occupation of Palestine, or complicit in any denial of Palestinian human rights. 
  • Defending the Palestinian movement and community in the United States, including students, activists, and scholars who are targeted by Zionist lawfare instiutions for their support of Palestinian human rights, and the criminalization, surveillance and harassment of Palestinians by U.S. political and police forces. 
  • Demanding an end to U.S. aid to Israel and holding all U.S. leaders accountable for their political support for Israel’s crimes. Israel is committing these human rights violations with U.S. aid, in violation of the U.S. Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance acts. 
  • Demanding that the United States stop its political and economic intimidation, including sanctions, to pressure states to normalize relations with Israel.

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

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Member Recap: May 6, 2021

 

Welcome to the Member Recap, where you can catch up on NLG news from the last two weeks.

Be sure to keep up with us in real time on social media, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

 

Upcoming Webinars, Publications, and Announcements Help Us #DropTheCharges Against BLM Protesters!

So far, we’ve received 2,500 signatures on our national petition demanding that the Biden administration drop the federal charges against the 350+ protesters who participated in last year’s uprising for Black lives. Help us reach our goal of 5,000 by May 25, the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder. SIGN and SHARE the letter at bit.ly/DropTheChargesBLM and/or signal boost any of the following posts: FacebookTwitter / Instagram

We’re also collecting organizational endorsements, with 45 groups signed on so far!  If your organization would like to endorse, please complete the form here.

May 7, 5:30 PST: NLG-SF Santa Rita Jail Hotline Training

NLG San Francisco‘s Santa Rita Hotline will be hosting a training for hotline workers this Friday, May 7th at 5:30pm. If you have questions or are interested in joining, please contact: srjhotline@nlgsf.org.

If you can’t make it but would like to volunteer with the hotline, you can fill out their interest form online.

May 13: Endangered Species and Border Walls

Join NLG-NYC, along with scientists, lawyers, and politicians for a discussion on whether impenetrable, man-made border walls harm endangered species and accelerate extinction. You can take a look at the full list of speakers at their EventBrite page online.

Register here! The event will take place May 13, 2021, from 12 PM – 1:30 PM EST.

National Immigration Project (NIP-NLG)’s 2021 Annual Pre-AILA Crimes & Immigration Seminar

NIP-NLG is hosting a two-day seminar series all about immigration, including sessions on: “Winning Effective Post-Conviction Relief for Immigrants,” Crimes of Violence After United States v. Borden,” and “Immigration Implications of Diversion Programs.” There is a registration fee, and all information can be found on their site.

Currently, 7.75 Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit hours are pending with the Virginia State Bar, the State Bar of California, the State Bar of Texas, and the Washington State Bar.

 

 

National, Committee, and Chapter Statements and News NLG Palestine Subcommittee Submits Memo to Biden Administration Laying Out Legal Basis for Immediate Reversal of Trump Policies on Palestine/Israel

A recent memo from the Palestine Subcommittee of the NLG Interntional Committee: “Today, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) International Committee’s Palestine Subcommittee submitted a memorandum to the Biden administration laying out the legal basis for immediate reversal of the Trump administration’s policies on Palestine/Israel and further actions necessary to bring the United States in compliance with international law.”

Book Review: Trying Times by NLG & NPAP’s Terry Gilbert

Reviewed by David Gespass, NLG past president and member of NLG-Alabama: “Really, the importance of Terry’s book and the critical lesson it teaches, is that when you litigate in US courts and you are fighting for true justice, you are in enemy territory.”

International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Report

Last week, the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence against People of African Descent in the US released their 188-page report, on how racist police violence against Black people in the US amounts to crimes against humanity and other violations of international law.

Read the full report at inquirycommission.org/report and watch last week’s press conference here, which includes Philonese Floyd, brother of George Floyd; Collette Flanagan of Mothers Against Police Brutality; and Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, as well as members of the international commission and its steering committee.

NLG In The News 5/4/21 | The Guardian | ‘We’re terrorized’: LA sheriffs frequently harass families of people they kill, says report

“Los Angeles sheriff deputies frequently harass the families of people they have killed, including taunting them at vigils, parking outside their homes and following them and pulling them over for no reason, according to a new report from the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).”

5/3/21 | Common Dreams | National Lawyers Guild Urges Biden to Align US Israel-Palestine Policy With International Law

“The memo (pdf), authored by the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) International Committee’s Palestine Subcommittee, notes that after four years of “bullish and detrimental” U.S. policy on Palestine and Israel under the Trump administration, “the health, human rights, and humanitarian situation for Palestinians—both in Palestine and in the refugee camps of surrounding countries—is dire.”

5/1/21 | Microsoft News | Biden immigration moves under scrutiny from left and right

“It’s actually astonishing the Biden administration kept [Title 42] in place and are using it to expel people seeking refuge without even allowing them to pursue their claims,” said Sirine Shebaya, executive director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.”

4/28/21 | Patch Somerville Bans Tear Gas, Limits Police Use Of Other Projectiles

“The Massachusetts chapter of the National Lawyers Guild called the ordinance an “important and historic piece of legislation” that places Somerville at the “forefront of the movement to de-militarize America’s urban police forces.”

4/27/21 | The Guardian | Police killings of Black Americans amount to crimes against humanity, international inquiry finds

Read this in-depth piece on the International Commission of Inquiry’s findings on how racist police violence against Black people in the US amounts to crimes against humanity and other violations of international law.

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.

 

Have something you want to see in the next Member Recap? To submit events, news, or other updates for consideration for the Recap, please email charlie@nlg.org! The post Member Recap: May 6, 2021 first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

Book Review: Trying Times by NLG & NPAP’s Terry Gilbert

Reviewed by David Gespass, NLG past president and member of NLG-Alabama

Your average lawyer’s memoir, if there is such a thing, talks about the triumphs – the trials that freed criminal defendants or won enormous damages for their wronged clients. Many speak of the nobility of our judicial system, the critical role of the rule of law in preserving democracy, and of the author’s lifelong love of the law. That is perhaps because your average lawyer memoirist has enjoyed a prosperous career and, consciously or otherwise, wants to justify the system that has allowed them to prosper.

Terry Gilbert’s legal career has also allowed him to prosper. He has had his share – maybe more than his share – of notable victories. His firm has expanded and thrived. In his twilight years, he has a number of young partners to whom he is passing the torch. The firm of Friedman & Gilbert (now Friedman, Gilbert & Gerhardstein) became a pillar of the Cleveland community and is now an Ohio-wide pillar. It survived the loss, after 40 years, of Gordon Friedman. It will endure and expand as Terry rides off into the sunset. 

But Terry’s memoir, Trying Times: A Lawyer’s 50-Year Struggle Fighting for Rights in a World of Wrongs, expounds more on the cases he lost than the ones he won. He does devote some time to brief descriptions of multi-million dollar settlements of police misconduct cases, making sure to note that all the money in the world did not compensate the victims. It is a sad fact that, by and large, all the US legal system can do to compensate people for unspeakable losses is to give them money. Parenthetically, Terry and I worked on one case in Alabama together for the family of a man killed by a small-town police chief. We got some money, but I guess he decided it wasn’t enough to mention. Hurt as I was by the snub, I will forgive him that little peccadillo. 

But, I digress. Really, the importance of Terry’s book and the critical lesson it teaches, is that when you litigate in US courts and you are fighting for true justice, you are in enemy territory. If US courts were just, Leonard Peltier would not have spent the last four decades in prison. If there were even a measure of justice, Sam Sheppard would have been exonerated and his son, scarred for life by the experience of having his mother murdered and his father accused and railroaded, would have received some compensation and, maybe more important, acknowledgment of the wrongs done to him as a seven-year-old. If there were justice, young people duped by government agents into violating the law would not consider an eight or ten-year prison sentence something of a victory. Yet these are the cases Terry spends his time describing.

There are other things in the book, too. Accounts of Terry’s youth of partying and travel and his finding true love. There is a lot I can relate to. We are both Jewish, though my upbringing was rather more secular than his. We both spent a fair amount of time getting high when we were younger, though he started in college and I in law school. The murder of four students at Kent State profoundly affected us both. And music was a big part of our lives, me as a fan, but Terry also as a player. There are some bands and musicians – the Meters and John Lee Hooker come to mind – whose sets start out kind of modestly and build throughout until, at the end, everyone is on their feet. Terry’s book has something of that trajectory, not that I was literally reading the last chapter on my feet, but the further into it I got, the more absorbing it was.

Terry and I are both long-time members of the National Lawyers Guild. When we joined, members in their 50s and 60s were the old generation and we were the young Turks. I now recall my 50th birthday as part of my youth. And we are now both more interested in succession than we are in building our own careers. As I recall, Terry and I first met in Rapid City, South Dakota during, or just after, the occupation of Wounded Knee. I was only there for three weeks, but Terry stuck it out, working on the post-occupation trials and, as noted, the railroading of Leonard Peltier. 

But the point is that Guild lawyers recognize that the legal system is hostile to their clients and the causes they espouse, that litigation may be a component, but is not the motor of societal progress. That is a reason why it is important to talk about losses as much as, if not more than, wins. Even with litigation, it isn’t always winning that sparks change. Jules Lobel, who worked with Terry on a case they did win in the Supreme Court on behalf of people warehoused in Ohio’s supermax prison, having been sent there without rhyme, reason or due process, wrote a book called Success Without Victory. His point, which Terry emphasizes, is that waging the battle can be at least as important, in the long run, as winning the particular case. Terry recalls Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous observation that the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice. What is important to recall, however, is that the arc only bends towards justice when warriors for justice take it in their hands and bend it. Terry is one of those warriors. I am fortunate to call him my friend.

Learn more about Trying Times: A Lawyer’s 50-Year Struggle Fighting for Rights in a World of Wrongs here.

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The post Book Review: Trying Times by NLG & NPAP’s Terry Gilbert first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

NLG Palestine Subcommittee Submits Memo to Biden Administration Laying Out Legal Basis for Immediate Reversal of Trump Policies on Palestine/Israel

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: lmartinez@ccrjustice.org / (212) 614-6481

Today, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) International Committee’s Palestine Subcommittee submitted a memorandum to the Biden administration laying out the legal basis for immediate reversal of the Trump administration’s policies on Palestine/Israel and further actions necessary to bring the United States in compliance with international law. This memo comes on the heels of an extensive Human Rights Watch report, released last week, accusing Israel of committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution. It comes also at a time when tensions in the region are high over Israel’s latest plans to confiscate and demolish dozens of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods—actions enabled in large part by the U.S.’s unconditional support for Israel.

While the Biden administration was quick to announce a change in U.S.-Palestinian policy from that pursued by the Trump administration, the first 100 days have seen only minimal steps taken toward restoring relations with the Palestinians and reinstating some critical aid. Trump’s most significant policies, implemented through declarations and executive orders, remain in force. What is more, the Biden administration has indicated an acceptance of, or an intention not to undo, some of the most egregious and consequential of Trump’s policies.  The 33-page NLG memo explains, among other things, the absolute prohibition on the acquisition of territory by force and the binding obligation on all states to refrain from cooperating with or recognizing any such acquisition. 

“International law is absolutely clear that Israel’s de jure annexation of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, as well as its de facto annexation of occupied Palestinian land for the building of Jewish settlements, are illegal; and that the United States should not be doing anything to indicate tolerance or acceptance of such illegal conduct,” said one of the memo’s authors, Huwaida Arraf, a human rights attorney and co-chair of the NLG International Palestine Subcommittee. “Rescinding Trump’s recognition of Israel’s annexations should have been done on day one of the Biden administration, and although Biden has stated that he would not relocate the U.S. Embassy from Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv, this position cannot be reconciled with a stated intent to ‘respect the rule of law.’” 

Other issues addressed in the NLG memo include: the restoration of aid, the status of refugees, lifting the illegal and deadly closure of Gaza, U.S.-Palestinian bilateral relations, cooperation with the International Criminal Court, the weaponization of antisemitism, and anti-boycott legislation.

Read the full memo here.

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

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The post NLG Palestine Subcommittee Submits Memo to Biden Administration Laying Out Legal Basis for Immediate Reversal of Trump Policies on Palestine/Israel first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

2021 Resolutions, Amendments, and Elections

Deadline: July 1, 2021

As a democratic organization, the work and focus of the Guild is decided by our members. Each year at the convention, we hold plenaries in which members discuss programmatic priorities, often in the form of resolutions. We also update our governing documents, our bylaws and constitution, and elect new officers to serve on the NLG National Executive Committee.

This year, the NLG #LawforthePeople Convention will be held digitally October 11-17. The plenaries will also be held digitally during that time period. All voting will take place online after the convention.

This is the first call for resolution proposals and candidates.

NOTE: Proposing resolutions and amendments is open to NLG members only. To join the NLG, visit nlg.org/join.

Information For Proponents

What are Amendments and Resolutions?

Amendments

  • The membership has updated the constitution, originally adopted in 1937, at many conventions. The current constitution and bylaws are available here: nlg.org/about/bylaws-and-resolutions/
  • Amendments can be made to either our constitution or our bylaws.

Resolutions

  • Resolutions are an opportunity for our membership to propose and agree on statements of programmatic priorities for our organization and to take stances on various issues.
  • Examples of resolutions here: nlg.org/about/bylaws-and-resolutions/

Emergency Resolutions

  • Emergency resolutions are resolutions based on events that take place after the initial sixty-day deadline, and up to twenty-four hours prior to the voting plenary. The twenty-four hour deadline may be waived in the event that an emergency resolution is non-controversial as determined by the Resolutions Committee and confirmed by the actual vote. Emergency resolutions must comply with all resolution requirements not related to timeliness.

For more information on Resolutions, Constitution and Bylaws Amendments, see the NLG Bylaws, Section 8.4.

Process for Submitting Proposals

Email Submission

  • Proposed resolutions, bylaws amendments, and constitutional amendments must be emailed in attachment form by June 30, 2021 Midnight (Pacific Standard Time). Late submissions will not be accepted.
  • Early submission of resolutions, bylaw amendments and constitutional amendments is encouraged, as resolutions often require edits to be made for submissions to be in full accordance with the procedural requirements.
  • Emails should be addressed to resolutions@nlg.org

Procedural Requirements (Please read carefully!)

The attachment with the proposed resolution or amendment must:

  • On its face include the name and contact information of the person submitting the resolution or amendment. This ensures members can contact the proponent before and during the convention.
  • Contain a specific and explicit implementation clause indicating what individuals or entities will do the work of implementing the resolution (i.e. the Resolutions Committee, the National Office, a local chapter, etc.). Per an amendment approved at the 2014 convention, proponents are only required to have attempted to obtain consent of those tasked with implementing the resolution. If any person or entity is tasked with implementing the resolution, the face of the resolution must indicate that the proponent has contacted such persons or entities before submitting the resolution. Proposal must indicate if 1) proponent has the consent of all persons obligated, 2) that consent was denied, 3) that consultation was impractical and why, or 4) that approval was requested but was not granted or denied.
  • Not exceed 3 pages, 12-point font, including endorsing entities or names. Shorter proposals are encouraged. Endorsing names and entities must be included within the 3-page limit.
  • Proposal must include the name and contact information of the person who will present the proposal in the two plenaries.
  • Any submission that has been denied for lack of obtaining explicit agreement of a tasked entity or individual to implement the resolution or amendment may be appealed to the Executive Council of the NEC by contacting Elena Cohen at president@nlg.org.

All primary proponents should plan to present and speak on behalf of the amendment or resolution at the digital plenary. If they will not be present, proponents should notify the Resolutions Committee and appoint an alternate delegate to present and answer questions during the plenary.

Note: Amendments from the floor are not accepted, so people objecting to proposals should speak with proponents well in advance of the plenaries to see if they are willing to amend their own proposals before they come to the plenary floor.

Information For Candidates for Elected National Office

Each year, the NLG holds elections to choose the officers of the National Executive Committee (NEC). All current NLG members in good standing are eligible to run for an elected office, although it is recommended that candidates have one year of Guild membership before running for a position. If you are interested, please email a brief candidate statement to NLG President Elena Cohen at president@nlg.org before October 16, 2019. If you have any questions about the election process, please email NLG Director of Research and Education Traci Yoder at traci@nlg.org.

In 2021, the following office is up for election:

Secretary

  • Secretary is a three-year position and the term will end at the 2022 convention. This position is responsible for recording and sharing the institutional knowledge of the organization, and participating on the National Executive Council (NEC) and Executive Council (EC).

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.

Important Dates For 2021 Proponents & Candidates

May 1, 2021

  • Publicity begins for call for proposals & candidates

June 30, 2021 (Midnight Pacific Time)

  • Firm deadline to Submit Proposed resolutions & bylaw & constitutional amendments.
  • No extensions will be granted. Please submit early.

July 30, 2021

  • Deadline for Resolutions Committee’s initial response to proponent.

August 15, 2020

  • Deadline for proponent to complete procedural compliance (if needed).
  • Deadline for Members to suggest friendly amendments to proposals (no revisions are accepted on the plenary floor)
  • Members contact proponent, if proponent agrees to changes, proponent re-submits to Resolutions Committee.

September 11, 2021

  • Deadline for candidates to submit statements for inclusion on the NLG website.
  • Final proposed resolutions and bylaw amendments will be placed on the NLG website.

October 10, 2021

  • Deadline to submit emergency resolutions (24 hours before convention begins)

October 18, 2021

  • Online voting begins

December 18, 2021

  • Online voting closes; results will be posted after the holiday
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Call for 2021 Convention Programming

Call for Proposals: Major Panels and Workshops
DEADLINE: June 15, 2021

The NLG 2021 Law for the People Convention will be held virtually October 11-17. Unlike our usual five-day format, we’re spreading out events over a full week 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.

We are currently seeking proposals for Major Panels and Workshops. Major Panel applications not accepted will be automatically considered for workshop slots. Major Panels are 2 hours long and fewer in number than workshops (1.5 hours). Both major panels and workshops will be scheduled on weekday evenings or the weekend of October 16-17.

Please consider applying and forward widely! We are seeking new and innovative topics this year, and will be prioritizing proposals that do not repeat programming from the past few conventions. We encourage NLG members, committees, and entities to coordinate with allied organizations/activists in submitting proposals. If you have any questions about convention programming or the selection process, please email Traci Yoder at traci@nlg.org.

NOTE: Major panel and workshop proposals are open to NLG members only. To join the NLG, visit nlg.org/join.

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Call for Nominations: 2021 Goodman, C.B. King, and Legal Worker Awards

DEADLINE: June 1, 2021

We are opening the nomination period for Ernie Goodman, C.B. King (Law Student), and Legal Worker Awards. Please consider nominating a Guild attorney, law student, or legal worker who you have worked with! See below for details on each award. Please email Traci Yoder at traci@nlg.org with any questions about the awards or the nomination process.

2020 ERNIE GOODMAN AWARD NOMINATION

Each year at the National Lawyers Guild Convention, the Ernie Goodman Award is awarded to a Guild lawyer whose career and life’s work engaged them in legal struggle against financial, political or social odds to obtain justice on behalf of those who are poor, powerless or persecuted (or, most likely, a combination of these). The Guild lawyer receiving the award shall be selected by the National Lawyers Guild Goodman Award selection committee.

Please provide the following information:

  1. List nominee’s name, email address, and (roughly) how long the person has been a Guild member.
  2. Name of nominating person(s) and your relationship to nominee
  3. Reasons why the Guild member nominee meets the award qualifications, such as examples from the lawyer’s body of work over the course of their lives

Please mark “Goodman Award” in the subject line and send nominations by June 1, 2021 to Traci Yoder at traci@nlg.org.

 

2021 C.B. KING AWARD NOMINATION (Law Student Award)

Each year at the National Lawyers Guild national convention, the National Office gives the C.B. King Award to a law student whose commitment to justice is an example to others. The student furthers the mission of the Guild and honors the memory of C.B. King through organizing and agitating on academic and local levels. Throughout their time at the NLG, this person has demonstrated the kind of skill and passion that inspires other members and significantly contributes to our organization.

Please provide the following information:

  1. List nominee’s name, email address, and phone number; law school, graduation year, and (roughly) how long the person has been a Guild member.
  2. Name of nominating person(s) and your relationship to nominee (e.g., fellow chapter member, professor, and how long you have known the person).
  3. List and describe Guild chapter(s), committees and/or projects in which the nominee is involved and their role
  4. What qualities most stand out about the nominee?

Please mark “CB King Award” in the subject line and send nominations by June 1, 2021 to Traci Yoder at traci@nlg.org.


2021 NLG LEGAL WORKER AWARD NOMINATION

The annual NLG Legal Worker Award is given to a legal worker member of the Guild who has demonstrated leadership in the organization marked by one or more notable accomplishments and recognized by their peers. Legal workers are “any person who is currently working, or who has worked, or who is training to work in any office, collective, or other institution which has as its primary function the provision or administration of legal services, information or education; or who, as an individual, provides or administers legal services, information, or education as a major component of her or his work.”

Please provide the following information:

  1. List nominee’s name, email address, and (roughly) how long the person has been a Guild member.
  2. Name of nominating person(s) and your relationship to nominee
  3. What NLG projects and activities is the nominee involved with and how have they added to the work of the Guild?
  4. Examples of leadership and of a commitment to social justice

Please mark “Legal Worker Award” in the subject line and send nominations by June 1, 2021 to Traci Yoder at traci@nlg.org.

The post Call for Nominations: 2021 Goodman, C.B. King, and Legal Worker Awards first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

PRESS CONFERENCE 4/27: International Commission of Legal Experts Release Report on Racist Police Violence in the US

Finds US Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity and Other Violations of International Law

Event: Press conference for launch of the Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence against People of African Descent in the United States

When: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 12 pm Eastern time (9 am Pacific)

Where: Watch the livestream: https://www.facebook.com/internationalcommissionofinquiry  (Join the Facebook event: https://www.facebook. com/events/817774308945699/)

On Tuesday, April 27th 2021  the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence in the United States will release a final report of its investigations. The report is the culmination of weeks of live hearings of cases of people of African descent killed by police, as well as months of review of relevant documents. The report also contains findings of fact and recommendations addressed to national and international policy makers.

Hear from:

  • distinguished panel of international legal experts from eleven countries who served as Commissioners with extensive backgrounds in the fields of social justice and human rights
  • Collette Flanagan of Mothers Against Police Brutality; and Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner
  • Members of the Steering Committee that organized the Commission of Inquiry, including Lennox Hinds and Kerry McLean

The International Commission of Inquiry was organized by the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and the National Lawyers Guild. Special thanks to the NLG Foundation for its support for the Commission’s work.

During and after the report’s release, the full, 188-page document will be available at the Commission’s website, https:// inquirycommission.org/ .Videos and transcripts from the live hearings in 44 cases are available at the website.

For questions or more information about the press conference or the release of the report, please contact Kerry McLean, Esq. at kerrymclean@gmail.com

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In Response to Chauvin Verdict and Ongoing Police Violence, NLG Continues to Support Calls for Abolition

In response to the guilty verdicts of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for last summer’s murder of George Floyd, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) reaffirms its support for communities calling for the abolition of policing. As the verdict was being announced, Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old girl, was killed by a police officer in Columbus, Ohio, and just last week, police killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright 10 miles away from where Chauvin was being tried for murder. As Black-led movements have asserted for decades, policing is an inherently violent, racist institution that cannot be reformed. The NLG continues to be in solidarity with the families and communities of George Floyd, Ma’Khia Bryant, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, and too many others killed, hurt, and traumatized by police violence and racism. The NLG remains committed to supporting people’s movements in demand of a better world. 

As an abolitionist organization, the NLG is embracing the wide range of emotional responses to a guilty verdict for Chauvin. We continue to support calls for meaningful, systemic change—rather than superficial reform—as a matter of survival, and of justice for those murdered, harmed, and traumatized by this institution. We also reaffirm our support for survivors of police violence, both personally and communally, through all the complexities and tensions of navigating abolition and the trial of Derek Chauvin. 

Lawmakers threatened by the power of community organizing are actively attempting to quash peoples’ legal rights to dissent. Citing the uprisings for Black lives sparked by George Floyd’s murder last summer, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an “anti-riot” bill into law Monday, which would increase the severity and scope of punishments the state can use against protesters, raising serious civil liberties concerns and claims of unconstitutionality. 

In an attempt to mitigate the massive state repression of anti-racist protesters last summer, the NLG continues to call for support in demanding the Biden Administration to drop the charges against the more than 350 people facing federal charges for participating in last summer’s uprising for Black lives. Though an imperfect solution, it would be a means to reducing harm, and we are hoping to extend the bare minimum of freedom from legal trouble to those demanding an end to racism.

With 200 anti-protest bills across multiple states attempting to regulate protest and dissent, the need for abolition is past due. The NLG will continue supporting communities demanding liberation, using the law in service of the people.

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.

Featured image: George Floyd by Chad Davis /  CC BY 2.0

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The post In Response to Chauvin Verdict and Ongoing Police Violence, NLG Continues to Support Calls for Abolition first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

Letter to NLG Members on Legal Worker Membership

Dear NLG Members, 

Over the past four years and throughout the uprisings of 2020, many people joined the National Lawyers Guild through the selection of our “legal workers” membership category, in order to help with the vital mass defense efforts taking place in nearly every city around the country. For this reason, we wanted to take a moment to explain our interpretation of who is a “legal worker.”

According to the NLG ​National Constitution​, a legal worker is defined as: “​Any person who is currently working, or who has worked, or who is training to work in any office, collective or other institution, which has as its primary function the provision of administration of legal services, information or education; or who, as an individual, provides or administers legal services, information, or education as a major component of their work.”

In the local, non-staffed chapters for which the National Office administers membership, anyone can become a member of the Guild as a “legal worker” if they want to be a part of any chapter’s legal observing/mass defense efforts. Legal Observers (LOs) “work” (i.e. volunteer) in an “institution” (i.e. the NLG), which has its primary function the provision of administration of legal services and education (i.e. collecting LO notes in support of criminal defense and civil rights litigation for protesters). LOs play an extremely important function in our organization, and denying them membership is tantamount to extracting labor from people whom we are simultaneously disenfranchising in the organization, which contradicts all of our Guild principles.

We do not have a membership category that is entitled “Legal Observers.” We only have a category for “Legal Workers,” which is the category that includes legal observers. Our sliding scale suggested rates are different from our membership categories, which are still fixed to the four groups of lawyer, law student, legal worker, and jailhouse lawyer. Our membership rates are listed on the NLG website as a guide to suggest to someone what they might pay when joining and by no means represent their own membership categories. We added a sliding scale rate for Legal Observers because we wanted to grow our membership. There are too many people who are Legal Observers who aren’t members and we want that to change. We always want to make it very clear to our local chapters that if you have LOs who are not members you should get them signed up today!

We would also like to make it clear that there are no distinctions in professional status when it comes to who is considered a “voting” member, and therefore, anyone who joins as a member of the Guild through the National Office or through a staffed chapter  should have the ability to vote in local and national elections and receive all other member benefits (although some chapters may have their own restrictions on how long someone needs to be a member of their chapter in order to vote locally). There are no tiers. If someone joins the Guild and they are a legal observer, then they are a NLG member. Legal observers who have not joined the Guild are not members. It is not stated in any of our governing documents that LOs are not, or cannot be members. On the contrary, Legal Observing is one of the most vital actions we do as an organization, so LOs who sign up as members must be considered to be members both locally and nationally.

To be clear, chapters do have the autonomy to interpret the Guild constitution how they see fit for their chapter, as stated in the constitution. While chapters may choose to interpret our constitution’s definition of “legal worker” differently than the National Office, the Mass Defense Committee, and the Legal Worker Caucus leadership, it must be voted on as matter of local chapter policy. The NLG Constitution contains no provisions that unambiguously prevent LOs from being recognized as “legal workers;” to the contrary, an interpretation recognizing LOs’ contributions to the NLG as legal workers is the policy most consistent with the Guild’s mission and values. Our goal remains to grow the organization by including people who want to support our efforts, instead of being exclusionary. 

Signed onto by the following NLG entities (This is a running list and will be updated with additional endorsements through Wednesday, 4/21)

National Executive Committee

Mass Defense Committee

The United People of Color Caucus

Legal Worker Caucus

Anti-Racism Committee

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