Above: A scene from the 2016 convention in NYC. (Photo: Shanna Merola)

Major panels (75 min) and workshops (60 min) serve as the backbone of every #Law4thePeople Convention, and each year address timely topics of movement law and organizing. See below for the 2018 major panels and workshops that will take place Friday (11/3) through Sunday (11/4) of the convention!


Workshops I: 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Attacks Against the Labor Movement in the Americas and the Fight Back

This panel will address the significant repression and efforts to fight back by  the labor movements in the Americas. For more than a decade the International Labor Justice Working Group has been working with our counterparts in the Association of Labor Lawyers of Latin America and the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers/ACAMS on issues of common interest which this year highlights the problems faced by increasing repression against all progressive movements including the labor movement. Fashioning a fight back strategy is essential.


  • Luisa Fernanda Gomez Duque, President, Asociacion Laboral de America Latina (ALAL)
  • Guilermo Ferriol Molina, President of the Cuban Labor Law Society
  • Marie-Claude St-Amant (tentative), representative of the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers/Association Canadienne des Avocats du Mouvement Syndical (CALL/ACAMS)
  • Ashwini Sukthankar. Director of International Campaigns UNITE/HERE

Killing Gaza: A Man-Made Humanitarian and Human Rights Disaster

Brief review of the Israeli assaults of 2009 & 2014 (perhaps via 5 mins. of film by Max Blumenthal) and the prevailing situation in Gaza, which UN has said will be uninhabitable by 2020. This introduction will be followed by a discussion of the ongoing Israeli massacres of 2018 during the Great March of Return, the illegality (multiple violations of international human rights & humanitarian law), and immorality, as well as  of the possible avenues of redress – and their effectiveness in ending Israeli impunity. Emphasis on the role of the US in giving Israel carte blanche militarily, economically and diplomatically.

Sponsors: NLG International Committee and its Palestine Subcommittee

Speakers: Raji Sourani, Marjorie Cohn, Audrey Bomse,  Ramzy Baroud, Brad Parker (DCI-Palestine), and others TBA.

What it Means to do Movement Legal Support in Indigenous Communities

What it means to do movement legal support in indigenous communities and ongoing prisoner support for indigenous prisoners. For those of us who have done movement legal work in non-indigenous communities: what do we need to know to be better at this work. For those of us from indigenous communities who are newer to movement legal support work: what did we learn at Standing Rock that can inform how we can do better as we move forward from here. The role of prayer and ceremony in this work.

Sponsor: Water Protector Legal Collective


  • Leoyla Cowboy: Indigenous legal worker, WPLC staff member, wife of Little Feather who is a political prisoner from Standing Rock – one of the federal defendant who was just sentenced to 36 months.
  • Olive: Appalachian Water Protector, Two-spirit non-binary person, and partner of Rattler, another of the federal defendants. Olive lived in camp for over 5 months and was arrested 3 times.
  • Jaden Cowboy: Afro-indigenous legal worker, WPLC staff member, daughter of Lola Cowboy and step-daughter of Little Feather.
  • Sacheen Whitetail-Cross: Indigenous, legal worker, WPLC staff member, Standing Rock tribal member.
  • Other speakers TBA.

Extremism is in the Eye of the Beholder: How CVE and BIE Undermine Liberation Struggles

Panelists will explain the connection between the DHS/DOJ Countering Violent Extremism (“CVE”) program, which targets Muslim and other communities perceived to be Muslim, and the FBI’s so-called “Black Identity Extremist” designation. CVE and BIE are tools to silence liberation struggles by criminalizing activism and dissent, portraying Muslims and Blacks as uniquely susceptible to engaging in political violence, and deputizing teachers, police, faith leaders and other community leaders to look out for signs of ‘radicalization,’ particularly in young people. Learn how CVE and BIE are connected, how they constitute not new but renewed forms of state violence and policing, how communities are organizing to challenge the underlying assumptions, and how NLG can become more engaged.

Sponsors: Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, DC BIE Collective, Defending Rights and Dissent, Muslim Justice League


  • Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, co-coordinator of the BIE Collective in Washington, DC
  • Fatema Ahmad, Deputy Director of the Muslim Justice League in Boston, MA
  • Hammad Alam, Equal Justice Works Fellow in Washington, DC
  • Rakem Balogun, Community Activist who was prosecuted as a BIE in Dallas, TX
Moderator: Sue Udry, Executive Director of Defending Rights & Dissent, Washington, DC


Workshops II: 9 AM – 10 AM

Teacher’s Strikes: Workers, Students & Our Communities

Public education and teachers unions have been under constant attack for the last quarter of a century by politicians and conservative lobbyists pushing an agenda of privatization and austerity. Now, teachers are striking back, waging some of the most exciting and innovative workplace actions of our time, not just on behalf of themselves, but for their students and indeed, the entire community. The West Virginia teachers’ strike and the similar campaigns have shown us how to fight for public education and public employees’ rights, while effectively countering the austerity measures championed by conservatives.

Sponsors: NLG Labor & Employment Committee


  • Christine Campbell, President of AFT-West Virginia
  • Sabrina Joy Stevens, Senior Manager of Campaign and Digital Strategies for the National Women’s Law Center
  • Gordon Lafer, Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon
  • Leaders from other rank-and-file campaigns in Arizona, Kentucky, Oklahoma and/or Colorado TBA.

Blood Money: Profiteering Off Death and Violence in a Militarized America

The workshop will focus on the corporate arms profiteers who make money making guns easily available and then using street / gang crime, terrorism, racism, and mass shootings to put fear in everyone, including teachers, and the police to arm themselves 24/7 so that the police are “at war” with the people, particularly people of color and from the Middle East, and the people are at war with each other.  As part of the militarization of America, the workshop will also examine the military’s increasing role and presence in our schools.

Sponsors: NLG International Committee and NLG Military Law Task Force

  • Ryan Holleran, a veteran and member of About Face/Vets Against War (formerly IVAW), active in anti-militarist work in Portland and a GI Rights Network counselor in training.
  • Libby Frank, NLG Military Law Task Force steering committee active in counter-recruitment work in Chicago high schools, and steering committee member of the National Network Opposing Militarism of Youth.
  • Samuel Sinyangwe, policy analyst and data scientist who co-founded We the Protestors to end police violence and systemic racism in America
  • Youth organizer of color for the March for Our Lives in Portland TBA
  • Jo Ann Hardesty, leading candidate for open position in Portland City Council, former state representative who lead challenges to police violence and shootings in Portland
  • Marjorie Cohn, professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former NLG president, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and advisory board member of Veterans for Peace

Movement Lawyering for Racial Justice (CLE credit pending)

How can lawyers and legal workers work alongside communities to overthrow systems of oppression? This workshop will explore the theoretical grounding and practical application of Movement Lawyering for racial justice. Participants will reflect on the challenges of using the law as a tool of liberation and explore how we can adapt practices that support the building of power in our communities.  The workshop will be facilitated by movement lawyers and organizers, who will share experiences of collaboration and reflect on how the law can strengthen social movements.

Sponsor: Law for Black Lives


  • Amanda Alexander – Detroit Justice Center attorney
  • Derecka Purnell – Advancement Project attorney
  • Amna Akbar – Ohio State University attorney/professor
  • Marbre Stahly-Butts – Law for Black Lives attorney
  • Arissa Hall- National Bail Out Collective organizer

State Violence Against Black, Indigenous, Immigrant, and Palestinian People

This panel will look at state violence targeting black and brown communities, specifically: the Muslim Ban, expulsion of hundreds of thousands of TPS holders, police murders of black people, the Zionist backlash against Palestinian rights activists, the targeting of indigenous movements, and the continuation of US war making. We will address the impact of cross-movement building efforts that center anti-racism, anti-imperialism, and anti-Zionism. It will unpack the reemergence of organized white supremacy and state-sponsored repression. Panelists will highlight successful campaigns mobilizing against state policing and militarization.

Sponsors: NLG Anti-Racism Committee, TUPOCC, NLG International Committee, Palestine Legal, Arab Resource Organizing Center, Project South


  • Azadeh Shahshahani, Legal & Advocacy Director with Project South and past president of NLG
  • Suzanne Adely, NLG International Committee Co-Chair, human rights lawyer, labor and Arab-American community organizer)
  • Lara Kiswani, Director of the Arab Resources and Organizing Center and activist.
  • Law 4 Black Lives representative TBA
  • Tara Houska, attorney at Honor the Earth
  • Rahul Saksena, Attorney at Palestine Legal

Due Process or Deportation: Rapid Response & Immigrant Defense

Our workshop will focus on the creation of rapid response and long term deportation defense networks as means to counter changes in enforcement and the criminalization of immigrant communities by the Trump Administration. This includes an introduction to rapid response as a concept and an exploration of local rapid response networks as well as the regional model developed by the NCRRIDN. It also includes a description of how coordination techniques and discussion around the importance of  preventative education programs as well as sustainable paths to access to long term removal defense assistance.

Sponsor: Northern California Rapid Response Immigration Defense Network


  • Hamid Yazdan Panah, writer, Iranian activist and attorney from the San Francisco Bay Area who works on asylum and refugee rights
  • Lisa Weissman-Ward, Lecturer in Law and supervising attorney with the Stanford Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic
  • Adriana Melgoza, Watsonville Law Center


Workshops III: 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Colonial Debt: Puerto Rico and the Crisis of Capitalism and Colonialism

Puerto Rico remains in the stranglehold of cripplinnewg colonialism and Wall Street control of an odious debt. The island continues to face massive displacement and depopulation, deep austerity, cuts to essential public goods and services and an economy in service of the US. This workshop will focus not only on the colonial imposition and the use of debt to control the population and deprive citizens of their fundamental rights, but also on ongoing legal and community strategies to fight these impositions and to further the demands for human rights and economic and environmental justice.

Sponsors: NLG International Committee and its Puerto Rico Subcommittee


  • Nicole Diaz
  • Mariana Nogales, human rights layer in Puerto Rico and co-fo9under of the Brigada Legal Solidaria (BLS) that provides free legal representation for groups resisting austerity and PROMESA.
  • Eva Prados, human rights lawyer in Puerto Rico and spokesperson for the Citizens’ Commission to Audit the Debt campaign

Land & Water Defense: How Can the NLG Support Resistance To Extractive Industries

People are rising up around the world to resist the destruction of their land and water by extractive industries. Many of these struggles are led by indigenous peoples for whom this is a continuation of resistance to centuries of colonization, displacement and desecration of sacred lands and waterways. It involves challenging powerful corporations and governments who work in collusion with them. How can NLG lawyers and legal workers support grassroots land and water defense? Panelists will discuss varied approaches including protest and direct action campaigns, domestic legal challenges and policy work, international law, and divestment campaigns.

Sponsors: Mass Defense Committee and Environmental Justice Committee


  • Kendra Pinto is a Diné educator and storyteller from Counselor Chapter, Navajo Nation, in northern New Mexico near Chaco Canyon. She is an activist in the Greater Chaco Coalition/Frack Free New Mexico campaign and has testified before the Department of the Interior and House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. in support of halting fracking infrastructure in the “checkerboard” area.
  • Michelle L. Cook is human rights lawyer born of the Honagháahnii (One Who Walks Around You) Clan of the Diné (Navajo) Nation. She is a current Commissioner on the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission and Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) Candidate at the University of Arizona’s Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program. Her dissertation concerns the intersections of indigenous human rights, divestment, and gender in the United States. She is also the founder and co-director of the Divest, Invest, Protect program.
  • Kelsey Skaggs is the Executive Director of Climate Defense Project, a legal non-profit that serves climate activists. Born and raised in Alaska, she has seen the impacts of climate change firsthand. She has worked in the areas of environmental law, freedom of expression, family law, and international human rights law in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. Kelsey holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of California, Davis, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
  • Jessi Parfait is a graduate student of anthropology at Louisiana State University. On a fellowship funded by the National Academy of Science, she studies the adaptive capacity of her tribe The United Houma Nation. Combining traditional ecological knowledge, historical research, and mapping she has learned about the true cost of oil and gas production and its role in land loss in her home state. While Louisiana is losing land faster than anywhere in the country, Jessi has become an ardent supporter of the opposition of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. The pipeline is being constructed by Energy Transfer Partners, who also constructed the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  • Speaker TBA on litigating against extractive industries

Dissent Under Attack: Infiltration and Anti-Protest Legislation

The workshop will feature activists and legal thinkers discussing the crackdown on dissent we’re seeing in the form of increased infiltration and surveillance of activist movements, including the nearly 70 anti-protest bills  filed in state assemblies across the nation since the election of Donald Trump. What lessons can we draw for advocates of free speech? What sort of analysis should we bring to our discussions around these issues? And what sort of legislative advocacy has been most effective to combat this trend?

Sponsor: NLG National Office

  • Traci Yoder – moderator, NLG Director of Education and Research
  • Maggie Ellinger-Locke, NLG Executive Vice President, Greenpeace staff attorney
  • April Goggans, organizer with Black Lives Matter DMV
  • Nathan (Nash) Sheard, legal worker with Black Movement Law Poect
  • Rahul Saksena, Palestine Legal staff attorney
  • Tara Houska, Couchiching First Nation, tribal attorney and National Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth

Workshops IV: 1 PM – 2 PM

Human Rights of Children, Parents, and Families (CLE credit pending)

This panel will explore the role of race, class, and LGBTQI status in adoption, foster care, and child removal by institutions, the courts, or local, state, or federal governments. This panel will discuss how these issues effect the integrity of families as well as human rights violations in the foster care and adoption systems here in the U.S. This panel will discuss all relevant laws including international law. Advocacy and litigation strategies will be discussed.

Sponsors: Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, NLG International Committee, Queer Caucus, TUPOCC


  • Katie Stickles-Wynan, MSW, Adoption Case Manager, LGBTQ Advocate with PACT an Adoption Alliance
  • Prenal Lal, immigration attorney and clinical law professor, founder of DreamActivist
  • Danielle King, family law attorney, Co-chair of TUPOCC
  • David Beauvais, civil rights attorney in lawsuits against Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services
  • Martha L. Schmidt, Attorney & Counselor, international human rights law
  • Steven DeCaprio, moderator, Interim Executive Director of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute

Civil Rights for Deported Migrants (CLE credit pending)

In this workshop we will discuss strategies to ensure that deported migrants have access to justice in the US for civil rights violations suffered during arrest, detention and removal, even after they have been deported. Copies of the Challenges in Transnational Litigation substantive practice manual (6th edition) will be available for workshop participants.


  • Nan Schivone, Legal Director of Justice in Motion
  • Karen Hoffman, Aldea-the People’s Justice Center attorney
  • Anza Abbas, law student with UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Andrew Free, Law Office of Andrew Free

The U.S.-Duterte Regime & Their Three Wars Against the Filipino People

After his visit to the Philippines in November 2017,  President Trump expressed support to Philippine President Duterte’s “War on Drugs”, war on indigenous people, and counter-terror war. Meanwhile — Duterte’s extrajudicial killings have risen to the level of 20,000, and U.S. support of the Philippine police and military has grown through “Operation Pacific Eagle,” which has called for further U.S. military involvement in the Philippines over the next two years. As Trump  spends U.S. tax dollars in support of the Duterte regime as a part of the U.S.’s global war on terror, resistance is our right and solidarity is our duty.

Sponsors: NLG International Committee and its Philippines Subcommittee, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines


  • Dr. Alma Trinidad, Professor at Portland State University, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines
  • Dante Haruna, Organizer and Cultural Worker, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines
  • Drew Elizarde-Miller – European Organizer, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines
  • Rhonda Ramiro, Secretary General of BAYAN-USA

Just announced: “Hot Topic” Workshops! (also in Workshops IV slot)

Northwest Unions at the Cutting Edge

In recent months, AFSCME Local 88 (Multnomah County) ratified a union contract which allows members to grieve, and potentially arbitrate, disputes involving workplace microaggressions. This is the second Northwest union which has achieved this outcome–the first was UAW at University of Washington. Get copies of these contract provisions and learn to identify micro aggressions. Be ready to advise unions about these advances in the post-Janus world.

Speakers: Barbara J. Diamond, NLG member, filmmaker, and union lawyer; Marina Moro, organizer; both equity trainers for union clients

Detention Crisis Response: Collaborative Rep. and Community Mobilization

In May 2018, over 120 asylum­‐seekers were transferred to a rural federal prison in Sheridan, OR and denied legal access while across the state in the Columbia Gorge, the number of immigrants held under an ICE contract in a rural jail skyrocketed. Oregonians responded by leveraging community power, technology, impact litigation, and mass representation to raise the voices of those objecting to the “zero tolerance” policy and family separation, both inside and outside of detention. A coalition of community activists, clergy, political leaders, attorneys and legal workers fought back, and will talk about how they did it and lessons learned.


  • Isela Ramos Gonzalez – attorney, Innovation Law Lab
  • Stephen Manning – attorney, Innovation Law Lab
  • Nadia Dahab – Stoll Berne, pro bono counsel
  • Hannah Harrod – Rural Organizing Project
  • “Clergy Ready” response Member, Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice TBA