We are so grateful to all our members in joining us to fight back against the increasing attacks on our lives and communities. As we look back on 2018, we are overwhelmed by how much you have made possible with your support! By making a year–end donation today, you will ensure we can continue to defend human rights over property interests in the years to come.
Here are just some of the ways you helped support organized resistance in 2018:
The NLG mobilized legal support for the thousands of asylum seekers who have been arriving at the border in caravans from Central America. Working with local grassroots organizations, such as Al Otro Lado, hundreds of NLG lawyers, law students and legal workers are legal observing, leading know your rights trainings, and staffing legal clinics to help protect and uphold the human rights of the refugees fleeing violence and political crisis.
Since 1968, NLG Legal Observers have been protecting protesters’ constitutional right to demonstrate by monitoring and documenting law enforcement activity and deterring police misconduct at demonstrations and protests. Under the current administration there has been a dramatic increase in national protests and we have been scaling up accordingly. In the last year alone, we trained over 5,000 new legal observers to protect and defend activists standing up against racism and fascism and fighting for our environment.
As part of a national coalition to protect the right to dissent, we have been monitoring and challenging legislation limiting the right to protest. Since the end of 2016, nearly 60 bills have been proposed in state legislatures. This year, we produced a webinar, published an article and fact sheet, and presented a workshop to provide more information about the contents of these bills, their political implications, the interest groups behind them, and how to stop them from becoming laws. We also examined the limits of free speech in a panel discussion examining the history of power dynamics around First Amendment jurisprudence. Internationally, we responded to the global repression of dissent in our ground-breaking webinar focusing on Palestine, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
The NLG continued to support activists resisting racist demonstrations and rhetoric. The Guild trained and deployed legal observers for protests at white supremacist rallies in Washington DC, Charlottesville, and Portland and continued to fight the repression and racist targeting and harassment of counter-protesters who bravely confront white supremacist violence.
The Guild’s International Committee continued to work in solidarity with resistance struggles across the world to uphold human rights. In addition to our calls for justice in Honduras, Palestine, and Puerto Rico, we supported South Korean efforts towards self-determination and peace. Even our Mass Defense Committee got involved with our international efforts when, following police retaliation against anti-government protesters in Haiti, the Guild worked with Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) to implement Haiti’s first legal observer program.
The Supreme Court’s devastating rulings on collective bargaining, discrimination against LGBTQ people, and the Muslim Ban reinforced how the judicial system works to maintain white supremacy and capitalism. We provided an insightful analysis of the far right’s takeover of the Supreme Court, spoke out on the role of the judiciary in resistance movements, and fought against Trump’s patriarchal and misogynistic takeover of the courts.
With NLG members on the ground to provide legal support, Executive Director Pooja Gehi participated in a trans and queer #AbolishICE action to demand an end to the detention and deportation of trans migrants. We continued to be proudly in solidarity with the trans community when the NLG’s Queer Caucus spoke out against Trump’s attempt to deny the recognition of trans people under federal civil rights law
Our student members continued to be the voice of justice in law schools across the US! NLG law students spoke out against hate and xenophobia and organized a national strike against Kavanaugh. Law school chapters across the country participated in our annual week of action, “Mass Incarceration and Immigration” in coordination with the National Immigration Project. This summer, our Haywood Burns Fellows worked with legal projects focused on racial justice, immigrant justice, housing rights, economic justice, and prison law reform.
As the only bar association that admits jailhouse lawyers as members, the NLG supports prison abolition through nationwide efforts to alleviate some of the harm inflicted by mass incarceration and the prison-industrial complex. This year, we endorsed the August 21 National Prison Strike to protest steadily deteriorating conditions of confinement in United States prisons while NLG’s PLAN mounted a legal response to the reports of prisoner abuses stemming from the strike. We provided new resources for lawyers and legal workers joining us in the fight to end mass incarceration, including a webinar on bail funds and a critical analysis on the limits of using legal recourse to improve conditions in prison. We also collaborated with the National Bail Fund Network to create a resource guide for setting up legal defense funds.
While NLG attorneys worked to successfully dismiss all charges against defendants in the draconian targeting and arrest of protesters at the J20 inauguration demonstrations, it became clear that the state colluded with far-right groups and infiltrated activist organizing spaces. The NLG and Defending Rights and Dissent filed a FOIA request to expose this illegal surveillance and abuse of state power.
NLG members joined us for movement building, skill sharing, and political discussion at our 81st Law for the People Convention in Portland Oregon. Featuring addresses by Kshama Sawant and Herman Bell, the conference covered topics representing a wide range of the Guild’s work: immigration, environmental justice, mass incarceration, international human rights, reproductive justice, protestor defense, fighting fascism, and much more.