FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2017
NEW YORK—The National Lawyers Guild (NLG), founded in 1937 as the first racially-integrated, human rights bar association, is committed to ending white supremacy in all its forms. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Heather Heyer, who was murdered while standing up to racism and fascism, as well as the 19 additional counter-protesters injured at the “Unite the Right Free Speech Rally” in Charlottesville, VA this weekend.
Primarily through local NLG chapters, the NLG provides mass defense legal support for anti-racist community organizers participating in protest actions and other demonstrations. In Charlottesville, this support included:
- Know Your Rights trainings
- NLG Legal Observers
- Legal representation and jail support for arrestees
- Legal support hotline (see full list of local hotline numbers)
As an organization committed to human rights, the NLG categorically refuses to provide legal support to white supremacists or other hate groups.
“The Charlottesville community experienced multiple waves of horror this weekend. NLG trained Legal Observers were on the ground watching as those who terrorized our community by fulfilling their promises to enact violence were protected by the city and law enforcement agencies. Our hearts our broken but our chapter is united and resolute in our determination to provide legal support to organizers who will continue to protect Charlottesville,” said Andrew Mahler, NLG Central VA Chapter Chair.
While the hateful rhetoric and policies of President Donald Trump and his administration have emboldened racists to assert their “right” to hate speech and violence, the United States was founded in white supremacy—it is nothing new. It is in the spirit of dismantling this oppression that we move forward in the struggle to liberate our institutions, society, and culture.
Photo: NLG Legal Observers in Charlottesville, VA, August 12, 2017.
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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.