Speakers and Awards

Keynote Speaker

Through her activism and scholarship over many decades, Angela Davis has been deeply involved in movements for social justice around the world.

Professor Davis’ teaching career has taken her to San Francisco State University, Mills College, and UC Berkeley. She is the author of nine books and has lectured throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. In recent years a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early 1970s as a person who spent eighteen months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.”

Angela Davis is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex. Having helped to popularize the notion of a “prison industrial complex,” she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st century abolitionist movement.

Ernie Goodman Award

At 26, Margaret Burnham was a lead attorney on the Angela Davis defense team. Burnham represented activists with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund before she became, in 1977, the first African American woman to serve in the Massachusetts judiciary. After five years on the bench as a Boston municipal court judge, she went to work as a partner in a Boston civil rights firm with an international human rights practice. In 1993, Nelson Mandela appointed Burnham to serve on a tribunal that was a precursor to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. And for the last decade she has taught civil rights law at Northeastern University. She and her students recently reached a settlement in a landmark federal lawsuit they brought against Mississippi police who the suit alleged helped Klansmen kill and torture two black teenagers in 1964.

Law for the People Award

Jim Lafferty has been a movement lawyer, political organizer, and legal worker for the past 50 years. He served as NLG executive director from 1963 to 1967, during the peak of Guild work in the South. In Detroit, he was a founding partner of Lafferty, Reosti, Jabara, James, Stickgold, Soble and Smith, a law firm which, according to his Red Squad file, represented “every left-wing, civil rights, anti-war, and black nationalist group in Detroit.” Jim is also a strident antiwar activist. He established numerous draft counseling centers in the Midwest, helped organized some of the largest Vietnam War protests, and, when Iraq invasions loomed in both the 90s and the aughts, he coordinated some of the largest anti-war coalitions. Jim has served as the Los Angeles chapter’s Executive Director for over two decades. Most recently, he headed his chapter’s well-publicized support for Occupy LA.

Debra Evenson Venceremos International Committee Award

Jeanne Mirer is Co-Chair of the International Committee.  She is currently President of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, a founding Board Member of the International Commission for Labor Rights and a Board Member of the Sugar Law Center. Additionally, Jeanne is a member of the Core and the National Board of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign. She has been a member of the NLG for 42 years and has held numerous positions in the Guild. She practices labor, employment and civil rights law  in New York City in the firm of Eisner & Mirer P.C. Among her clients are Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange who have taken to court the U.S. chemical companies that profited from manufacturing the poison. In addition to the Guild and the IADL, she is a member of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee, the National Employment Law Association, and the NAACP.  Jeanne has a deep and extensive history of work in both the international and domestic sphere, including the application of international laws, standards and treaties to the United States. She has authored and co-authored countless white papers, briefs, and articles on everything from the human right to peace, to Agent Orange, to drones, to women's rights, to labor law and international law.

Legal Worker Award

Neidi Dominguez is a legal worker and executive board member for the Guild’s Los Angeles chapter. Born in Mexico  and raised in Pasadena, she has been an organizer since the age of 14, and in 2010 became a national leader of the campaign to pass the DREAM Act. She has also remained active locally, building power among immigrant workers through Know Your Rights trainings at the Wage Justice Center. Today, she is lead organizer of the CLEAN Carwash Campaign, which has won major victories for some 10,000 underpaid and overworked car wash workers. As a Los Angeles Guild member, she has fostered strong relationships with the immigrant rights community by helping to plan marches and rallies.

C.B. King Law Student Award

Amy Lien Cross served as a board member of the Cardozo NLG chapter for two years. A Know Your Rights trainer with the NLG Street Law Project, she is one of a few members to have started an NLG CopWatch team in Brooklyn. Amy is a former public school teacher, and founded Cardozo's Suspension Representation Project so that law students could use their skills and privilege to represent students facing suspension. Outside of law school, she produced and directed a short video on the impact of race on mediation, and spent a summer working with Brooklyn communities using such alternative dispute tools.

Carol King Award

Nancy Hormachea is a devoted member of the National Immigration Project/NLG and the National Lawyers Guild. Her work, both legal and community-based, with progressive Iranian immigrants began when she defended anti-Shah Iranian student activists in Texas (Matter of Taerghodsi, 16 I&N Dec. 260 (BIA 1977); Adibi-Sadeh v. Bee County College, 454 F.Supp. 552 (S.D. Tex. 1978); Tashnizi v. INS, 585 F.2d 781 (5th Cir. 1978); Mashi v. INS, 585 F.2d 1309 (5th Cir. 1978)).  Her support for the progressive movement in Iran included traveling to Iran in the late 70s to participate in delegations to visit with representatives of civil society organizations and the families of political prisoners.

Nancy's work with the progressive Iranian community has continued through the present with her current activity as the founder of the non-profit Omid Advocates for Human Rights, an organization that promotes the legal and civil rights of Middle Eastern communities in the U.S. and the Diaspora.

Nancy has also led or participated in delegations organized by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and NLG to visit Palestinian refugees and political prisoners, and documented the fact-finding trips with reports, videos and presentations before the UN, European Parliament and Arab League. Most recently, Nancy's pro bono work on behalf of progressive Iranian refugees fleeing the current Iranian regime has led her to organize and participate in the Court Hearings of the Iran Tribunal in London in June 2012 and travel to Turkey to prepare Iranian refugees for UNHCR interviews.