At the #Law4ThePeople Convention each year, we honors members and allies whose work embodies extraordinary commitment to our mission of human rights and the rights of ecosystems over property interests. We’re thrilled to announce this year’s honorees! Learn more about each of them below. CONGRATULATIONS, EVERYONE! 🥳
Law for the People Award: Noura Erakat
Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and assistant professor at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She has served as legal counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives and as a legal advocate for Palestinian refugee rights at the United Nations. Noura’s research interests include human rights and humanitarian, refugee, and national security law. She is a frequent commentator, with recent appearances on CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NPR, among others, and her writings have been widely published in the national media and academic journals.
Debra Evenson “Venceremos” Award: Kerry McLean
Awarded by the NLG International Committee
Kerry McLean is an international human rights lawyer and social justice activist. An NLG member since 2003, Kerry is the founder and Chair of the NLG Africa Subcommittee, a former NLG national board member, former VP of the NLG-NYC Chapter, Co-Chair of her law school’s NLG chapter, and NLG Anti-Sexism Committee Chair for several years. Kerry has represented the Guild in advocacy for the Jena 6, Marissa Alexander and Troy Davis. She also helped coordinate support for migrants of African descent in Mexico. Kerry is also a Steering Committee member of and Spokesperson for the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States.
Ernie Goodman Award: J. Ashlee Albies
J. Ashlee Albies has been practicing civil rights and employee-side employment law for over fifteen years, including providing legal support to democratic workspaces and local cooperatives. Ashlee has devoted her legal career to providing zealous advocacy for clients harmed by discrimination, retaliation, and unfair treatment by an employer or the government. She believes in client-centered practice: providing her clients with the ability to make informed decisions about major life choices. Ashlee is a past Co-Chair of the NLG Portland Chapter and past chair of the Oregon State Bar Civil Rights Section, and currently sits on its Labor and Employment Section steering committee. She has presented on the First Amendment, free speech, creative uses of the law, trial advocacy, and civil rights litigation.
Legal Worker Award: Ría Thompson-Washington
Ría Thompson-Washington is an anti-racist activist, organizer, and Black queer feminist living in the metro Washington, DC area. As the granddaughter of a sharecropper from South Carolina and the daughter of an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, Ría is committed to expanding access to our democracy to those living at the margins. Ría joined the NLG in 2015 as a student at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law and shortly thereafter, was elected NLG national vice president and executive vice president. She has served as Queer Caucus chair and is currently a Mass Defense Steering Committee member and The United People of Color Caucus co-chair. Since 2016, Ría has been a Legal Observer coordinator and trainer in the NLG DC Chapter. She is the senior manager of the Voting Rights & Democracy Program at the Center for Popular Democracy.
Carol Weiss King Award: Carlos Moctezuma García
Carlos Moctezuma García is a member at García & García Attorneys at Law, P.L.L.C. Carlos tries all types of immigration cases in addition to state and federal criminal cases. Carlos has received awards for his pro bono work from three organizations: the Texas Civil Rights Project (2016), ProBAR (2015), and the Hidalgo County Bar Association (2013). Carlos dedicates much of his time serving as the chair of the Board of Directors of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and the vice chair of the Board of Directors for the Texas Civil Rights Project.
C. B. King Award: Kendall Lawrenz
Kendall Lawrenz is a third-year law student at The George Washington University Law School, where she is an active member of the GW NLG Chapter. Kendall became involved with protest defense as a DC NLG legal observer and Law 4 Black Lives DC jail support volunteer during the summer of 2020. She currently serves as a DC NLG Executive Board member and Legal Observer Coordinator. As a law student, Kendall has interned with the Office of the Public Defender for Arlington County, Bread for the City, and The Bronx Defenders. She currently works as a research assistant with Professor Kate Weisburd, analyzing the privacy implications of electronic monitoring surveillance in the carceral system.
Daniel Levy Award: Project South
Project South was founded as the Institute to Eliminate Poverty & Genocide in 1986. Our work is rooted in the legacy of the Southern Freedom Movement, and our mission of cultivating strong social movements in the South powerful enough to contend with some of the most pressing and complicated social, economic, and political problems we face today. Three Strategic Directions guide Project South’s work: Neighborhood Organizing to Grow Community Power; Movement Organizing to Grow Regional Power; and Movement Support to Grow Grassroots Leadership.