Here’s your round-up of all the NLG’s been up to these past couple weeks!
NLG Chicago Virtual Celebration 2020 / Saturday, Dec. 5, 7 P.M. – 9 P.M. CST
Presented by the NLG Chicago Chapter.
Running a hotline for thousands of arrestees, spending hours in the streets legal observing, and showing up for jail support at all hours of the night – sounds like just another day for NLG Chicago in 2020. While protesters have filled the streets in support of the Black Lives Matter uprising, NLG has been holding down legal support in the streets and in the courts. As the year comes to a close, join us in celebrating NLG Chicago, reflecting on the work of the past year, and building our vision for a better future.
Join lawyers, legal workers, law students, and all our friends and comrades as we share space virtually. Keynote speech will be given by Mariame Kaba. Program will include scholar Adam Green, Chicago-based grassroots organizer Ariel Atkins, and jazz virtuoso Dee Alexander accompanied by pianist Miguel de la Cerna. With MC Barbara Ransby.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!
Holding the US Accountable for Human Rights Violations: The UPR Process and International Advocacy / Tuesday, Dec. 8, 4 P.M. EST
REGISTER ONLINE: https://bit.ly/uprprocess
Over the past year National Lawyers Guild members have worked to bring urgent human rights violations in the United States to international attention through the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. The UPR is a unique process through which the human rights record of a country is reviewed by other United Nations member States. Countries are reviewed every 4-5 years. The member States then make recommendations to the country under review, which the country should in theory accept and implement. The United States was reviewed on November 9, 2020.
Join the NLG International Committee to learn more about key takeaways, strategies and organizing to challenge U.S. violations of human rights and uphold the right to an adequate standard of living in international fora. NLG members who have been involved in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process at the UN Human Rights Council will present about their experiences and analysis of the process and what more can be done to draw attention to U.S. domestic and international human rights violations.
Description: The United States Africa Command, or AFRICOM, was established in 2007. The United States government claimed that part of AFRICOM’s mission was to promote peace and security in Africa. Yet in the years since its inception AFRICOM has launched military strikes in African countries, and has faced accusations that some of its activities have amounted to war crimes. Join us for a discussion exploring the scope and reach of AFRICOM , and the struggle to get US military forces out of Africa.
Professor Horace G. Campbell is an internationally-known peace and justice activist. He holds a joint Professorship in the Department of African American Studies and the Department of Political Science at Syracuse University.
Kerry McLean is an international human rights lawyer who has lived and worked in East, West, Central and southern Africa. She chairs the NLG Africa Subcommittee and is a member of the Steering Committee of the International Committee. Watch the recording here!
National and Committee Updates
As was sent in a message to all NLG members earlier this week, Pooja Gehi has announced that she will be transitioning out of her role as NLG Executive Director to focus on her writing and movement lawyering. She writes: While leaving this position is not easy, it feels good to know that the NLG is now stronger than I found it. I appreciate the NLG and have every confidence that NLG board, staff, and members will continue to lead and build in ways the world needs in coming years. I look forward to aiding the transition process and participating as an NLG member. Read her full message here.
The National Office is deeply grateful for Pooja’s leadership, compassion, and political vision over her five years as Executive Director, and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors!
National Police Accountability Project member Ronald Kaye has been appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. […] Kaye is renowned for challenging and prevailing over public officials who have violated the rights of his clients. He has successfully received substantial damage awards for plaintiffs in cases involving wrongful imprisonment, inadequate medical and mental health care in custodial facilities, and excessive force.
With co-plaintiffs CLINIC Legal, Pangea Legal, and Dolores Street Community Services, and with counsel from the National Immigration Project of the NLG, the Immigrant Defense Project, Harvard Refugee and Immigration Clinic, and Deportation Defense & Legal Advocacy Program of Dolores Street Community Services, the CAIR Coalition is challenging new asylum rules. These new asylum rules cast an incredibly broad net, banning people from receiving asylum for minor misdemeanors such as using a fake ID out of necessity. If implemented, they will prevent thousands fleeing violence from accessing the life-saving relief asylum is meant to provide.
NLG In The News
12/03/20 | The Appeal | Why Los Angeles Activists Don’t Want their Mayor in Biden’s Cabinet
“As part of the 2007 settlement in Jones v. City of Los Angeles, the city agreed that, with few exceptions, police would stop enforcing the ordinance until 1,250 more units of permanent supportive housing were built for chronically homeless people. The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the National Lawyers Guild had filed the suit in 2003 on behalf of several people without homes. In 2018, Garcetti said the city had met its obligation, so arrests could resume.”
12/02/20 | Washington Post | Undoing Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ could take minutes, but results could take months or years
“There’s a large group of people who would have applied for visitor visas, student visas, a variety of other temporary visas, and they’re probably going to start from scratch,” said Sirine Shebaya, executive director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. “So people who might have otherwise gotten a multiple-entry visitor visa I think are probably at step zero.”
11/19/20 | New York Times | Why Charges Against Protesters Are Being Dismissed by the Thousands
“But not all jurisdictions in Los Angeles County are dismissing cases. Beverly Hills is pursuing misdemeanor charges against a group of 25 people stemming from one protest in June and plans to pursue others from another protest in July, said Rachel Steinback, the coordinator for the National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles’s Mass Defense Committee.”
11/13/20 | Harpers Bazaar | So, Joe Biden Won. Now, Activists Look at the Work That Still Lies Ahead
Harper’s Bazaar reached out to 7 organizations asking what struggles lie ahead in a post-Trump world, and the NLG was one of them. Here’s is our response:
“It is the hard work of community organizing—not any single politician, celebrity, or political party—that has led us to this moment. We are breathing a collective sigh of relief as we welcome an end to the Trump administration, but we remain vigilant and will not let this election fool us into complacency. We refuse to return to the status quo and will continue to fight for a world in which everyone can thrive. Our demands for transformative justice, accessible health care and education, and an end to the carceral state remain as urgent as ever, even as the country changes leadership.”—National Lawyers Guild
11/07/20 | Davis Vanguard | More than 600 Arrested During Peaceful ‘Count the Votes’ Protest in Minnesota
According to legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild, law enforcement never gave orders to disperse, and sprayed the crowd with pepper spray, arrested them, and dropped the arrestees off at random locations around Minnesota including Bloomington, Lake Harriet, Bank Stadium, and even the University of Minnesota campus.
The Minnesota Chapter of National Lawyers Guild (NLG-MN) worked with local community activist groups to organize and provide shuttles for arrestees to safely return to Minneapolis.
Resources & Publications
Check out this comic by an NLG Colorado Legal Observer, outlining the purpose and function of the Legal Observer program!
#CagingCOVID is an effort led by the Nation Inside team, in partnership with the incarcerated and their families on the outside. We seek to empower the affected by providing a platform wherefrom they can share their stories with the world, thereby raising awareness about the cruelty and neglect suffered by those cut off within correctional facilities across the nation.
It can become a little too easy to forget those locked away, “out of sight and out of mind.” But we can’t allow ourselves to forget them — lives are on the line. We hope that by bringing those voices to the forefront of public awareness, we can remind people of their needs and make the changes necessary to protect the vulnerable among us.