Editor’s Preface, Vol. 78, No. 1 (Fall 2021)

Editor’s Preface
By Dalia Fuleihan

It is with great excitement that I write this preface to our re-launch issue of the NLG Review! After a year-long hiatus, my colleagues on the Editorial Board and I are thrilled to be with you once again. The past year and a half have been tumultuous to say the least. We have had to endure the fear, uncertainty, and loss brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with widespread social upheaval. The events of the last year and a half have emphasized  the inequalities and injustices that plague society, not only in the United States, but worldwide.

As wealthy western countries hoarded vaccines and inoculated their populations, most of the world desperately waits their turn. In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, we saw the momentous outpouring of support for Black lives across the country while simultaneously witnessing the brutally violent government crackdown on Black Lives Matter protests. In complete contrast, when hordes of white supremacists stormed the capital in an attempt to violently overthrow the government, the law enforcement response was nonexistent to the point of suggesting cooperation. And most recently, the shameful acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse for the shootings of two people during the protests against the killing of Jacob Blake. This issue of the Review brings you three exceptional articles that discuss the themes of inequality, racial justice, and the devastating effects of western imperialism—themes with which this past year’s upheaval have forced us to reckon.

In Perpetual War in Paradise, Andrew Reid reviews Dr. Keanu Sai’s book Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom. Reid discussed the bloody history of the American conquest of the Kingdom of Hawaii in the late nineteenth century, the complete lack of legal foundation for the United States’ continued occupation, and documents the movement to restore independent rule to Hawaii—a movement which continues to this day. Reid’s review comes at a particularly relevant time as the Kingdom of Hawaii recently filed a complaint in federal court challenging the United States’ unlawful occupation, and the NLG International Committee, along with partner organizations, filed an amicus brief in support of the Kingdom of Hawaii*. At such a time, Sai’s book laying out the legal argument for Hawaiian independence is of particular importance.

In her article Ready for the Phone Booth: Strategizing Movement Lawyering for Local Climate Justice Policy, Mary Claire Kelly argues for the implementation of movement lawyering practices in the climate justice movement. Kelly demonstrates the importance of using movement lawyering to facilitate the ongoing involvement of affected communities in advocating for and forming climate justice policies. As Kelly explains, marginalized communities—especially low-income, indigenous, and communities of color—are disproportionately affected by climate change and pollution. It is our responsibility as individuals with unique access to the systems of power to use our influence and abilities to center the voices of these communities so they can take their rightful place leading advocacy and formation for the policies that their communities need.

In the last article of this issue, How to Suppress Student Speech: The Harvard Law School Playbook, Amanda Chan meticulously documents the concentrated and systematic effort of Harvard Law School to prevent students—especially students of color—from expressing political speech on campus. Ever since the Reclaim movement occupied Belinda Hall in 2015, the Harvard Law School administration has been tireless in their efforts to discourage and suppress student speech that sheds light on the institution’s racist history and its central role in preserving the racist systems that plague our society today. Chan’s article provides a useful case study that mirrors the dynamics between those with power and those pushing for change at institutions and in communities across the globe.

As we hope for an end to the pandemic in the near future and reflect on the social injustices the pandemic has forced to the forefront of our collective consciousness, these wonderful articles provide thoughtful analyses some of the movements for justice in our communities and provide useful insights into our path forward towards a more just world.

*Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden, 2021 WL 4956507 (D. Haw. Sep. 30, 2021).