2017 Keynote & Awardees

At every NLG #Law4thePeople Convention, we honor members and friends of the Guild whose exemplary work and activism capture the spirit of “law for the people.” Please join us in celebrating this year’s distinguished awardees! Whether or not you’ll be attending the convention, please consider becoming a sponsor or taking out an ad in our dinner journal to congratulate our honorees or include a message of your own—all while supporting the NLG!


Keynote Speaker: Winona LaDuke
Winona LaDuke is a rural development economist and author working on issues of Indigenous Economics, Food and Energy Policy. She lives and works on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota, and is the Executive Director of Honor the Earth (HtE), which she co-founded HtE with the Indigo Girls as a platform to raise awareness of and money for indigenous struggles for environmental justice. She works nationally and internationally on the issues of climate change, renewable energy, and environmental justice alongside Indigenous communities. In her own community, she is the founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, one of the largest reservation-based non-profit organizations in the country.

Law for the People Award: Water Protector Legal Collective

The Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) is the on-the-ground legal team for the ceremonial resistance camps at Standing Rock, North Dakota. We maintain a presence on-site and provide legal advocacy, jail and court support, criminal defense, and civil and human rights protection to the Native peoples and their allies gathered there. WPLC (formerly known as Red Owl) operates in partnership with the National Lawyers Guild. We are dedicated to protecting the sovereign treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and providing legal representation and coordination for Water Protectors engaged in resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Angela Bibens and Brandy Toelupe will accept the award on behalf of the WPLC.

Arthur Kinoy Award: Oscar López Rivera

Oscar López Rivera is the longest held Puerto Rican political prisoner in the history of Puerto Rico. After he served more than 35 years of his 70 year sentence for seditious conspiracy and related charges, and as the result of a broad, human rights based international campaign for his release, on January 17, 2016, just days before the end of his second term, President Barack Obama commuted his sentence, ordering it will end on May 17, 2017. He survived endless government efforts to break him, efforts he calls “spiriticide,” including more than 12 years of solitary confinement in supermax prisons Marion and ADX Florence, with his commitment to the independence of Puerto Rico intact.

Debra Evenson “Venceremos” Award: Abdeen Jabara and Jan Susler

In 1967 Abdeen Jabara was a founder and later president of the first national Arab American organization, a co-founder in the 1970s of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign, and in 1986 president of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. He was a defense consultant in the trial of Sirhan Sirhan and co-counsel in Sirhan’s appeal. Jabara represented the first Palestinian activist extradited to Israel.  In 1972, he led efforts challenging Operation Boulder, a U.S Government program targeting activists on Palestine in the U.S. Jabara was plaintiff in a lawsuit against the FBI which revealed for the first time National Security Agency spying on U.S. citizens.

Long time NLG member Jan Susler, partner at the People’s Law Office in Chicago, has represented the Puerto Rican political prisoners for over three decades, serving as lead counsel in the efforts culminating in the 1999 Clinton commutation of their disproportionate sentences and the 2016 Obama commutation of Oscar López Rivera’s sentence. Her work with the Puerto Rican Independence Movement and with progressive movements challenging U.S. foreign and domestic policies has been a constant throughout her 40+ years as  lawyer, activist and teacher. Her practice at PLO focuses on police misconduct civil rights litigation, including wrongful conviction, excessive force, and death in custody.

Ernie Goodman Award: Bruce Nestor

Bruce Nestor is a criminal defense, immigration and civil rights attorney in Minneapolis, MN. He graduated from the University of Iowa Law School in 1992, with highest honors. Bruce is a past President of the NLG (2000-2003) and of the NLG Minnesota. He is also a member of the National Immigration Project of the NLG, and a member of the Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. His community work and political organizing focuses on immigrant rights, criminal justice reform, and racial justice. He has also traveled to Nicaragua, Cuba, Palestine, Arizona, Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Egypt as a member of human rights delegations.

Carol Weiss King Award: Jayashri Srikantiah

Jayashri Srikantiah is the founding director of Stanford Law School’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. She has worked with students to represent scores of immigrants facing deportation, while also engaging students in multiple modes of advocacy to advance immigrants’ rights. Srikantiah and her students have also engaged in broader litigation, including to fight against prolonged immigration detention, to limit the immigration consequences of prior convictions, to protect the rights of immigrant survivors of domestic violence, and to expand public access to information about the federal government’s enforcement and removal machinery.

Legal Worker Award: Amreet Sandhu

Amreet Sandhu is currently serving as President of the NLG Sacramento Chapter. Sandhu earned her J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2009, where she was a member of her NLG student chapter. During law school, she served as Vice President of the Student Bar Association. She worked for the Metropolitan Public Defenders Office, the Oregon Court of Appeals, and a Portland solo-practitioner handling employment matters. In Portland, Sandhu also worked in the Mayor’s office. Prior to law school, she studied at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she graduated with honors in Community Studies & Politics. During that time, she interned for Amnesty International in Washington, D.C.

C.B. King Award: Aneesa Khan

Aneesa Khan is a native of Farmingdale, NY, and resides in Reston, VA. Aneesa is a student at the University of Baltimore School of Law, graduating in May 2017. After legal observing during Baltimore Uprising, she helped start a NLG Student Chapter at UB Law. Aneesa has served as President of that chapter for the last two years, which has grown from 6 to 60 members in their inaugural year. She helps to organize legal observer training and support in Baltimore and DC, and assisted in the J20 action. Her legal background includes civil rights and public defense.