2018 Major Panels & Workshops

Above: Longtime NLG member and past president Bill Goodman speaks about the Attica prison uprisings during a 2017 major panel on the history of the Guild. (Photo: Curtis McGuire)

Major panels (75 min) and workshops (60 min) serve as the backbone of every #Law4thePeople Convention, and each year address timely topics of movement law and organizing. See below for the 2018 major panels and workshops that will take place Friday (11/3) through Sunday (11/4) of the convention!

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2

Workshops I: 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Attacks Against the Labor Movement in the Americas and the Fight Back

This panel will address the significant repression and efforts to fight back by  the labor movements in the Americas. For more than a decade the International Labor Justice Working Group has been working with our counterparts in the Association of Labor Lawyers of Latin America and the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers/ACAMS on issues of common interest which this year highlights the problems faced by increasing repression against all progressive movements including the labor movement. Fashioning a fight back strategy is essential.

Speakers:

  • Luisa Fernanda Gomez Duque, President, Asociacion Laboral de America Latina (ALAL)
  • Guilermo Ferriol Molina, President of the Cuban Labor Law Society
  • Marie-Claude St-Amant (tentative), representative of the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers/Association Canadienne des Avocats du Mouvement Syndical (CALL/ACAMS)
  • Ashwini Sukthankar. Director of International Campaigns UNITE/HERE

Killing Gaza: A Man-Made Humanitarian and Human Rights Disaster

Brief review of the Israeli assaults of 2009 & 2014 (perhaps via 5 mins. of film by Max Blumenthal) and the prevailing situation in Gaza, which UN has said will be uninhabitable by 2020. This introduction will be followed by a discussion of the ongoing Israeli massacres of 2018 during the Great March of Return, the illegality (multiple violations of international human rights & humanitarian law), and immorality, as well as  of the possible avenues of redress – and their effectiveness in ending Israeli impunity. Emphasis on the role of the US in giving Israel carte blanche militarily, economically and diplomatically.

Sponsors: NLG International Committee and its Palestine Subcommittee

Speakers: Raji Sourani, Marjorie Cohn, Audrey Bomse,  Ramzy Baroud, Brad Parker (DCI-Palestine), and others TBA.

What it Means to do Movement Legal Support in Indigenous Communities

What it means to do movement legal support in indigenous communities and ongoing prisoner support for indigenous prisoners. For those of us who have done movement legal work in non-indigenous communities: what do we need to know to be better at this work. For those of us from indigenous communities who are newer to movement legal support work: what did we learn at Standing Rock that can inform how we can do better as we move forward from here. The role of prayer and ceremony in this work.

Sponsor: Water Protector Legal Collective

Speakers:

  • Leoyla Cowboy: Indigenous legal worker, WPLC staff member, wife of Little Feather who is a political prisoner from Standing Rock – one of the federal defendant who was just sentenced to 36 months.
  • Olive: Appalachian Water Protector, Two-spirit non-binary person, and partner of Rattler, another of the federal defendants. Olive lived in camp for over 5 months and was arrested 3 times.
  • Jaden Cowboy: Afro-indigenous legal worker, WPLC staff member, daughter of Lola Cowboy and step-daughter of Little Feather.
  • Sacheen Whitetail-Cross: Indigenous, legal worker, WPLC staff member, Standing Rock tribal member.
  • Other speakers TBA.

McCarthyism for Muslims: Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) in the US & UK

CVE in the US and UK (PREVENT) focuses almost exclusively on Muslims and other people of color, and uses profiling, surveillance and predictive policing to monitor suspect communities. Grassroots organizers from communities targeted by CVE programs will discuss how CVE programs are implemented on the ground in Boston, suburban Maryland, other US cities, and the UK. Panelists will focus on how the programs impact free speech and association, and what each community is doing to challenge the program and its underlying assumptions and how attendees can become involved.

Sponsors:  Muslim Justice League

Speakers: Fatema Ahmad – Muslim Justice League Deputy Director, CAGE International Director Muhammad Rabanni, and other panelists (TBA) will be people of color impacted by CVE.

US History in Korea and Japan: Instability & the Power of Activism

A broad and diverse panel of presenters from the NLG’s May 2018 delegation to Korea and Japan will lead discussion of the history and current status of peace negotiations, the power of a progressive lawyer as President of South Korea, the model of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution/its essential preservation and expansion, Korea’s national security law, the controversy over the US military presence in both countries, the “comfort women” issue, chemical testing and anthrax, the politics of the Peace movement, denculearlization of Korea and the obstacles to achieving a lasting peace agreement.

Speakers: NLG members and 2018 delegation participants Eric Sirotkin , Susanna Leon, Bruce Nestor, Phillip Fornaci, Daniel McGee and Japanese citizens TBA.

Major Panels II: 2:15 PM – 3:30 PM

Global Compact on Migration: Causes and Patterns of Forced Migration

In December 2018, the UN will adopt the “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration” (GCM). Within this web of migration are poor migrant workers who are forced to search for work outside of their home countries. They are often lauded as their country’s “heroes” for earning wages that keep their home economies afloat. However, policies still perpetuate keeping the Global South exploitable for cheap labor and raw resources. The panel will critique the UN’s neoliberal “migration for development” framework, and highlight the voices of grassroots migrant organizations demanding rights to livelihood free from exploitative labor.

Sponsors: NLG International Committee

Speakers:

  • Moderator – Jackelyn Mariano, NLG IC Co-Chair; Mission to End Modern Slavery (MEMS)
  • Monami Maulik, Global Forum on Migration; Founder of Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM)
  • Camilo Perez Bustillo, NLG
  • Catherine Tactaquin Executive Director of National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) (invited)
  • Terry Valen, International Migrants Alliance

From Dirty Wars to War on Immigrants, Black Bodies: Sanctuary in Past & Now

This panel will delve into history of the sanctuary movement in the US as well as the recent sanctuary movement in response to mass deportations and the current administration’s hostile policies towards immigrants and people of color. Panelists will discuss the history of the National Lawyers Guild National Immigration Project work to protect people of faith and churches who were providing to sanctuary to those fleeing US-supported dictatorships in Latin America. The panel will also provide an overview of the current landscape of sanctuary work in support of immigrants and people of color, with a focus on the efforts in Oregon and the South.

Sponsored by: National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild; TUPOCC; NLG Anti-Racism Committee; NLG International Committee

Speakers:

  • Andrea Williams, Causa Oregon Executive Director
  • Lena Graber, Immigrant Legal Resource Center Special Projects Attorney
  • Dan Kesselbrenner, NIPNLG Executive Director
  • Azadeh Shahshahani, Project South Legal & Advocacy Director
  • Others TBA

Disaster Capitalism, Colonialism & Climate Change: Societies after Disasters

In the face of economic collapse and increasingly frequent and forceful (un)natural disasters, cities and nations are facing the imposition of austerity regimes and the elimination of public goods, anti-democratic governance and the pillaging of local communities, especially communities of color, leading to  forced displacement and a re-population of gentrifying forces bent on reshaping societies.  Neoliberal policies green lighting disruptive infrastructure projects are causing deep harm to local ecosystems and economies while sweeping economic reforms that benefit the private sector and cut funding for public goods and services are implemented.

Sponsors: NLG International Committee, Puerto Rico Subcommittee, Environmental Justice Committee, Environmental Human Rights Committee, TUPOCC, Anti-Racism Committee, Louisiana NLG, Michigan NLG

Speakers:

  • Ariadna Godreau Aubert, Ayuda Legal Huracan Maria Director and Universidad del Sagrado Corazón adjunct professor, and attorney
  • Peter Hammer, Wayne State University Law School professor, Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights director
  • Alison McCrary, social justice attorney and former executive director of the National Police Accountability Project of the NLG
  • Annette Martinez, Founder and Director of the Human Rights Clinic at the Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico and Executive Director of the Caribbean Institute for Human Rights
  • Sarah Coffey, Co-Legal Worker Vice-President of NLG, and past recipient of the Law For the People Award
  • Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, NLG president, LatinoJustice PRLDEF Associate Counsel

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3

Workshops II: 9 AM – 10 AM

Teacher’s Strikes: Workers, Students & Our Communities

Public education and teachers unions have been under constant attack for the last quarter of a century by politicians and conservative lobbyists pushing an agenda of privatization and austerity. Now, teachers are striking back, waging some of the most exciting and innovative workplace actions of our time, not just on behalf of themselves, but for their students and indeed, the entire community. The West Virginia teachers’ strike and the similar campaigns have shown us how to fight for public education and public employees’ rights, while effectively countering the austerity measures championed by conservatives.

Sponsors: NLG Labor & Employment Committee

Speakers:

  • Christine Campbell, President of AFT-West Virginia
  • Sabrina Joy Stevens, Senior Manager of Campaign and Digital Strategies for the National Women’s Law Center
  • Gordon Lafer, Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon
  • Leaders from other rank-and-file campaigns in Arizona, Kentucky, Oklahoma and/or Colorado TBA.

Blood Money: Profiteering Off Death and Violence in a Militarized America

The workshop will focus on the corporate arms profiteers who make money making guns easily available and then using street / gang crime, terrorism, racism, and mass shootings to put fear in everyone, including teachers, and the police to arm themselves 24/7 so that the police are “at war” with the people, particularly people of color and from the Middle East, and the people are at war with each other.  As part of the militarization of America, the workshop will also examine the military’s increasing role and presence in our schools.

Sponsors: NLG International Committee and NLG Military Law Task Force

  • Ryan Holleran, a veteran and member of About Face/Vets Against War (formerly IVAW), active in anti-militarist work in Portland and a GI Rights Network counselor in training.
  • Libby Frank, NLG Military Law Task Force steering committee active in counter-recruitment work in Chicago high schools, and steering committee member of the National Network Opposing Militarism of Youth.
  • Samuel Sinyangwe, policy analyst and data scientist who co-founded We the Protestors to end police violence and systemic racism in America
  • Youth organizer of color for the March for Our Lives in Portland TBA
  • Jo Ann Hardesty, leading candidate for open position in Portland City Council, former state representative who lead challenges to police violence and shootings in Portland
  • Marjorie Cohn, professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former NLG president, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and advisory board member of Veterans for Peace

Movement Lawyering for Racial Justice

How can lawyers and legal workers work alongside communities to overthrow systems of oppression? This workshop will explore the theoretical grounding and practical application of Movement Lawyering for racial justice. Participants will reflect on the challenges of using the law as a tool of liberation and explore how we can adapt practices that support the building of power in our communities.  The workshop will be facilitated by movement lawyers and organizers, who will share experiences of collaboration and reflect on how the law can strengthen social movements.

Sponsor: Law for Black Lives

Speakers:

  • Amanda Alexander – Detroit Justice Center attorney
  • Derecka Purnell – Advancement Project attorney
  • Amna Akbar – Ohio State University attorney/professor
  • Marbre Stahly-Butts – Law for Black Lives attorney
  • Arissa Hall- National Bail Out Collective organizer

State Violence Against Black, Indigenous, Immigrant, and Palestinian People

This panel will look at state violence targeting black and brown communities, specifically: the Muslim Ban, expulsion of hundreds of thousands of TPS holders, police murders of black people, the Zionist backlash against Palestinian rights activists, the targeting of indigenous movements, and the continuation of US war making. We will address the impact of cross-movement building efforts that center anti-racism, anti-imperialism, and anti-Zionism. It will unpack the reemergence of organized white supremacy and state-sponsored repression. Panelists will highlight successful campaigns mobilizing against state policing and militarization.

Sponsors: NLG Anti-Racism Committee, TUPOCC, NLG International Committee, Palestine Legal, Arab Resource Organizing Center, Project South

Speakers:

  • Azadeh Shahshahani, Legal & Advocacy Director with Project South and past president of NLG
  • Suzanne Adely, NLG International Committee Co-Chair, human rights lawyer, labor and Arab-American community organizer)
  • Lara Kiswani, Director of the Arab Resources and Organizing Center and activist.
  • Law 4 Black Lives representative TBA
  • Tara Houska, attorney at Honor the Earth
  • Rahul Saksena, Attorney at Palestine Legal

Due Process or Deportation: Rapid Response & Immigrant Defense

Our workshop will focus on the creation of rapid response and long term deportation defense networks as means to counter changes in enforcement and the criminalization of immigrant communities by the Trump Administration. This includes an introduction to rapid response as a concept and an exploration of local rapid response networks as well as the regional model developed by the NCRRIDN. It also includes a description of how coordination techniques and discussion around the importance of  preventative education programs as well as sustainable paths to access to long term removal defense assistance.

Sponsor: Northern California Rapid Response Immigration Defense Network

Speakers:

  • Hamid Yazdan Panah, writer, Iranian activist and attorney from the San Francisco Bay Area who works on asylum and refugee rights
  • Lisa Weissman-Ward, Lecturer in Law and supervising attorney with the Stanford Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic
  • Adriana Melgoza, immigration rights organizer
  • Angelica Salceda, ACLU Northern California staff attorney

Major Panels II: 1:15 PM – 2:30 PM

Facing Fascism: What’s the NLG’s Role in Defending Resistance to Fascism?

From the advance of State-based fascism to the rise of street-based white nationalism, communities and movements are in a fight to defend themselves against attacks on civil liberties, the right to resist and basic safety. The panel will examine differences and similarities between today’s and yesterday’s State repression, permission for unrestrained police use-of-force, collaboration between State and “popular” forms of fascism, and the erosion of basic protections and “due process”. Panelists will offer cases to discuss this question and the role of legal defense and offensive strategies in protecting resistance and community defense.

Sponsors: International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Herman Bell Defense Committee, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Critical Resistance, Catalyst Project, Queer as Fuck, BAYAN-USA, Anti-Fascist Work Group

Speakers:

  • Moderator: Sara Kershnar, NLG attorney
  • Dequi Kioni Sadiki, Co-Coordinator of the Sekou Odinga Defense Committee and Co-Chair of the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee
  • Carey Lamprecht, NLGSF legal worker and Anti-Fascist Work Group
  • Jacklyn Mariano NLG International Committee Co-Chair and attorney with Gabriela- US
  • Lara Kiswani, Arab Resource and Organizing Center Executive Director
  • Malkia Cyril, Center for Media Justice Co-Founder and Executive Director

Envisioning A World Without Police or Prisons: Shaping Goals for a Movement

It is often said that prison industrial complex abolition provides a vision for shifting the way society is structured. So what does that vision entail? What does a world without policing and prisons look like? What sorts of radical transformations in existing movements would we need to get us there? What lessons have already been learned by this movement? And what work still needs to be done to support those leading the way? These are the sorts of questions our panel of radical organizers and lawyers will seek to address, and help the NLG strengthen its commitment to abolition made at the Oakland convention in 2015.

Sponsors: Mass Incarceration Committee, TUPOCC, Queer Caucus, Lewis & Clark Law School NLG,

Speakers:

  • Moderator: Ria Thompson-Washington, NLG Executive Vice President
  • April Goggans, organizer with Black Lives Matter DMV
  • Joey Mogul, attorney with People’s Law Ofifce
  • Derecka Purnell, attorney with Advancement Project
  • Maggie Ellinger-Locke, NLG Executive Vice President, Greenpeace staff attorney

The Law as a Tool Towards Liberation in the Trump Era

As the US experiences escalated state and corporate repression, lawyers have emerged as one bulwark against abuses of the powerful. Litigation is a necessary tool to challenge basic human rights violations, but as lawyers for the people, we must remember that the law can never produce all the social change the people seek. As lawyers, we remain complicit in a corrupt, racist, hierarchical system. Nevertheless, many celebrate us as beacons of justice, saviors of the downtrodden, and leaders of the resistance. In a culture that both lionizes and demonizes us, how do we maintain our humility and accountability to directly impacted communities?

Sponsor: TUPOCC

Speakers:

  • Pooja Gehi – moderator, NLG Executive Director
  • Oren Nimni – Lawyers’ Committee as a Civil Rights  fellow
  • Carl Williams – attorney, Political Research Associates
  • Gabriel Arkles, staff attorney, ACLU LGBT and HIV Project
  • Kris Hayashi – Executive Director, Transgender Law Project

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3

Workshops III: 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Colonial Debt: Puerto Rico and the Crisis of Capitalism and Colonialism

Puerto Rico remains in the stranglehold of cripplinnewg colonialism and Wall Street control of an odious debt. The island continues to face massive displacement and depopulation, deep austerity, cuts to essential public goods and services and an economy in service of the US. This workshop will focus not only on the colonial imposition and the use of debt to control the population and deprive citizens of their fundamental rights, but also on ongoing legal and community strategies to fight these impositions and to further the demands for human rights and economic and environmental justice.

Sponsors: NLG International Committee and its Puerto Rico Subcommittee

Speakers:

  • Ariana Godreau Aubert, human rights attorney with Ayuda Legal Huracan Maria, Puerto Rico
  • Tom Stevens
  • Alison McCrary
  • Annette Martinez, Director, Human Rights Clinic, Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico

Land and Water Defense: Strategies for Resistance to Extractive Industries

People around the world are rising up to resist the destruction of their land and water by extractive industries. Many of these struggles are led by indigenous peoples for whom this is a continuation of resistance to centuries of colonization and displacement. It involves challenging powerful corporations and governments that work in collusion to advance their profits. How can lawyers and legal workers support grassroots land and water defense? Panelists will discuss varied approaches including protest campaigns, domestic legal challenges, international law, and divestment campaigns.

Sponsors: Mass Defense Committee and Environmental Justice Committee

Speakers:

  • Kendra Pinto (WOC activist), Navajo / Diné activist in the Greater Chaco Coalition/Frack Free New Mexico campaign
  • Michelle Cook, Navajo/ Diné student in University of Arizona Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program
  • Monique Verdin, Houma Nation artist and land and water protector
  • Kelsey Skaggs, director of the Climate Defense Project

Decolonizing Law from North America to Palestine and the Philippines

The 2018 NLG International Committee retreat in Arizona featured strong presentations from presentations from indigenous colleagues. One discussion introduced the theoretical framework of legal institutions as institutions of colonialism. This panel seeks to breakdown this theoretical framework and its manifestations in the lives of indigenous people, migrants and refugees in North America, Palestine, and the Philippines and explore how the legal community reinforces & challenges these tropes of colonialism and white supremacy. What are strategies being employed on a community, national and international level?

Sponsors: NLG International Committee and its Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Subcommittee

Speakers:

  • Natali Segovia – NLG International Committee, Indigenous Rights Subcommittee
  • Tupac Enrique Acosta  – Tonatierra
  • Nada Ellia – Seattle based Palestinian Organizer, USACBI
  • Angélica Cházaro – University of Washington School of Law
  • Rhonda Ramiro – BAYAN USA

Dissent Under Attack: Infiltration and Anti-Protest Legislation

The workshop will feature activists and legal thinkers discussing the crackdown on dissent we’re seeing in the form of increased infiltration and surveillance of activist movements, including the nearly 70 anti-protest bills  filed in state assemblies across the nation since the election of Donald Trump. What lessons can we draw for advocates of free speech? What sort of analysis should we bring to our discussions around these issues? And what sort of legislative advocacy has been most effective to combat this trend?

Sponsor: NLG National Office

  • Traci Yoder – moderator, NLG Director of Education and Research
  • Maggie Ellinger-Locke, NLG Executive Vice President, Greenpeace staff attorney
  • April Goggans, organizer with Black Lives Matter DMV
  • Nathan (Nash) Sheard, legal worker with Black Movement Law Poect
  • Rahul Saksena, Palestine Legal staff attorney
  • Tara Houska, Couchiching First Nation, tribal attorney and National Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth

The Confederacy at the Border: The Criminalization of Migration

In April, Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy instructing federal agencies to arrest and criminally charge all migrants at the southern border, building on a more than decade-long trend of growing use of federal criminal prosecutions and incarceration of migrants. Criminal immigration prosecutions now consume the majority of the US Attorney’s docket. This panel will update attendees with the impact of zero tolerance and provide information on how communities and attorneys are challenging the prosecutions, through organizing or litigation.

Sponsors: National Immigration Project of the NLG

Speakers:

  • Jacinta Gonzales, organizer with Mijente
  • Dan Kesselbrenner, executive director of the National Immigration Project of the NLG
  • Julie Mao, staff attorney with National Immigration Project of the NLG
  • Others TBA

Workshops IV: 1 PM – 2 PM

Human Rights of Children Parents, and Families

This panel will explore the role of race, class, and LGBTQI status in adoption, foster care, and child removal by institutions, the courts, or local, state, or federal governments. This panel will discuss how these issues effect the integrity of families as well as human rights violations in the foster care and adoption systems here in the U.S. This panel will discuss all relevant laws including international law. Advocacy and litigation strategies will be discussed.

Sponsors: Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, NLG International Committee, Queer Caucus, TUPOCC

Speakers:

  • Katie Stickles-Wynan, MSW, Adoption Case Manager, LGBTQ Advocate with PACT an Adoption Alliance
  • Prenal Lal, immigration attorney and clinical law professor, founder of DreamActivist
  • Danielle King, family law attorney, Co-chair of TUPOCC
  • David Beauvais, civil rights attorney in lawsuits against Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services
  • Martha L. Schmidt, Attorney & Counselor, international human rights law
  • Steven DeCaprio, moderator, Interim Executive Director of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute

Civil Rights for Deported Migrants

In this workshop we will discuss strategies to ensure that deported migrants have access to justice in the US for civil rights violations suffered during arrest, detention and removal, even after they have been deported. Copies of the Challenges in Transnational Litigation substantive practice manual (6th edition) will be available for workshop participants.

Speakers:

  • Nan Schivone, Legal Director of Justice in Motion
  • Karen Hoffman, Aldea-the People’s Justice Center attorney
  • Anza Abbas, law student with UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Andrew Free, Law Office of Andrew Free

The U.S.-Duterte Regime & Their Three Wars Against the Filipino People

After his visit to the Philippines in November 2017,  President Trump expressed support to Philippine President Duterte’s “War on Drugs”, war on indigenous people, and counter-terror war. Meanwhile — Duterte’s extrajudicial killings have risen to the level of 20,000, and U.S. support of the Philippine police and military has grown through “Operation Pacific Eagle,” which has called for further U.S. military involvement in the Philippines over the next two years. As Trump  spends U.S. tax dollars in support of the Duterte regime as a part of the U.S.’s global war on terror, resistance is our right and solidarity is our duty.

Sponsors: NLG International Committee and its Philippines Subcommittee, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines

Speakers:

  • Dr. Alma Trinidad, Professor at Portland State University, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines
  • Dante Haruna, Organizer and Cultural Worker, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines
  • Drew Elizarde-Miller – European Organizer, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines
  • Rhonda Ramiro, Secretary General of BAYAN-USA

NOTE: Two additional “hot topic” workshops on Sunday TBD!