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Protests are "solemn declarations of opinion and usually of dissent" or "a complaint, objection, or display of unwillingness usually to an idea or a course of action" (Source: Merriam Webster Dictionary). This section shares resources containing stories of protests from noteworthy causes, information about how lawyers can engage with or help protesters, organizations involved in direct action and protests, and resources for protesters' rights.
In these newly collected essays, interviews, and speeches, world-renowned activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis illuminates the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world. Reflecting on the importance of black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today's struggles, Davis discusses the legacies of previous liberation struggles, from the Black Freedom Movement to the South African anti-Apartheid movement. She highlights connections and analyzes today's struggles against state terror, from Ferguson to Palestine. Facing a world of outrageous injustice, Davis challenges us to imagine and build the movement for human liberation. And in doing so, she reminds us that "Freedom is a constant struggle." Angela Y. Davis is a political activist, scholar, author, and speaker. She is an outspoken advocate for the oppressed and exploited, writing on Black liberation, prison abolition, the intersections of race, gender, and class, and international solidarity with Palestine. She is the author of several books, including Women, Race, and Class and Are Prisons Obsolete? She is the subject of the acclaimed documentary Free Angela and All Political Prisoners and is Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz. One of America's most provocative public intellectuals, Dr. Cornel West has been a champion for racial justice since childhood. His writing, speaking, and teaching weave together the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics, and jazz. The New York Times has praised his "ferocious moral vision." His many books include Race Matters, Democracy Matters, and his autobiography, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. Frank Barat is a human rights activist and author. He was the coordinator of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine and is now the president of the Palestine Legal Action Network. His books include Gaza in Crisis and Corporate Complicity in Israel's Occupation.
Congressman John Lewis (Georgia) is an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper's farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president. Now, to share his remarkable story with new generations, Lewis presents March, a graphic novel trilogy, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell (winner of the Eisner Award and LA Times Book Prize finalist for Swallow Me Whole). March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book One spans John Lewis' youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.
Finalist, 2016 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award One of Bustle's Books For Your Civil Disobedience Reading List Examines the key role dissent has played in shaping the United States, emphasizing the way Americans responded to injustices Dissent: The History of an American Idea examines the key role dissent has played in shaping the United States. It focuses on those who, from colonial days to the present, dissented against the ruling paradigm of their time: from the Puritan Anne Hutchinson and Native American chief Powhatan in the seventeenth century, to the Occupy and Tea Party movements in the twenty-first century. The emphasis is on the way Americans, celebrated figures and anonymous ordinary citizens, responded to what they saw as the injustices that prevented them from fully experiencing their vision of America. At its founding the United States committed itself to lofty ideals. When the promise of those ideals was not fully realized by all Americans, many protested and demanded that the United States live up to its promise. Women fought for equal rights; abolitionists sought to destroy slavery; workers organized unions; Indians resisted white encroachment on their land; radicals angrily demanded an end to the dominance of the moneyed interests; civil rights protestors marched to end segregation; antiwar activists took to the streets to protest the nation's wars; and reactionaries, conservatives, and traditionalists in each decade struggled to turn back the clock to a simpler, more secure time. Some dissenters are celebrated heroes of American history, while others are ordinary people: frequently overlooked, but whose stories show that change is often accomplished through grassroots activism. The United States is a nation founded on the promise and power of dissent. In this stunningly comprehensive volume, Ralph Young shows us its history.
One of the most important African American leaders of the twentieth century and perhaps the most influential woman in the civil rights movement, Ella Baker (1903-1986) was an activist whose remarkable career spanned fifty years and touched thousands of lives. A gifted grassroots organizer, Baker shunned the spotlight in favor of vital behind-the-scenes work that helped power the black freedom struggle. She was a national officer and key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and a prime mover in the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Baker made a place for herself in predominantly male political circles that included W. E. B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King Jr., all the while maintaining relationships with a vibrant group of women, students, and activists both black and white. In this deeply researched biography, Barbara Ransby chronicles Baker's long and rich political career as an organizer, an intellectual, and a teacher, from her early experiences in depression-era Harlem to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Ransby shows Baker to be a complex figure whose radical, democratic worldview, commitment to empowering the black poor, and emphasis on group-centered, grassroots leadership set her apart from most of her political contemporaries. Beyond documenting an extraordinary life, the book paints a vivid picture of the African American fight for justice and its intersections with other progressive struggles worldwide across the twentieth century.
"Part I begins by defining a goal for immigrant advocates. Setting a goal or purpose is a crucial first step for any group engaged in a strategic plan…At its foundation, success must embody justice for immigrants, which entails a legislative and political system that embraces fairness through membership identity…Part II then explores past efforts to craft immigration narratives for pro-immigrant reform and the ways in which these strategies consistently fell short. Despite well-intentioned efforts, each strategy failed in part by not confronting the deep history of racism and discrimination against immigrants that essentially makes comprehensive change only possible when the change mechanisms also benefit the political and societal majority. With this recognition, Part III emphasizes that immigrant advocates need to shift the strategy away from a passive normative framing and capitalize on the robust resistance movement currently moving reform conversations between new collaborators…Part III provides case studies of organizations and movements that have successfully created connectivity between non-traditional partners and exhorts immigrant advocates to consider similar processes. Finally, Part IV provides a roadmap on what the new immigrant rights narrative strategy may contain."
"This essay takes a new look at legal ethics issues salient to 'movement lawyers' who maintain a sustained commitment to social movement goals and collaborate with social movement organizations over time to achieve them. The essay provides a historical overview of movement lawyering, tracing its development to current practice in which movement lawyers work in collaboration with mobilized social movement groups, though not always in traditional lawyer-client relationships. As this analysis reveals, contemporary movements employ a sophisticated array of strategies, which may pull lawyers away from traditional representation paradigms. We argue that the legal ethics literature on movement lawyering must adapt to these new developments. To advance this project, we highlight two under-explored ethical dimensions of movement lawyering practice, which we term intra-movement dissent and temporality."
"Part I of this Article outlines the scholarly debate surrounding the capacity of civil litigation to produce social change...Part II seeks to glean ethical principles from the demosprudence framework...In Part III, I explore how the demosprudential movement lawyering work done in Ferguson by civil litigators on the debtors' prisons issue shows how, even in the time of vanishing trials, social movement lawyers can engage in work that meets our highest professional ideals."
"This Article explores an important development in American legal theory and practice over the past decade: the rise of 'movement lawyering' as an alternative model of public interest advocacy focused on building the power of nonelite constituencies through integrated legal and political strategies."
"This essay offers a reflection on how social movement lawyering is an essential paradigm within the larger framework of rebellious lawyering. By supporting and advancing the building and exercising of collective power, led by the most directly impacted, movement lawyering can contribute to systemic institutional and cultural change."
"Collective forms of participation in criminal justice from members of marginalized groups-for example, when people gather together to engage in participatory defense, organized copwatching, community bail funds, or prison labor strikes-have a profound effect on everyday criminal justice. In this Essay I argue that these bottom-up forms of participation are not only powerful and important, but also crucial for democratic criminal justice. Collective mechanisms of resistance and contestation build agency, remedy power imbalances, bring aggregate structural harms into view, and shift deeply entrenched legal and constitutional meanings. Many of these forms of contestation display a faith in local democracy as a tool of responsive criminal justice, while simultaneously maintaining a healthy skepticism of the law and existing legal institutions that maintain the status quo."
"This article presents a critical reflection on the disconnect between conventional legal training and the skills needed by lawyers to support low-income communities of color, among others, in addressing U.S. systems of oppression. It is intended to assist aspiring "movement lawyers" in developing their capacity to align their strategic and tactical decision-making with the power dynamics faced by the communities they serve."
"This paper will explore class tensions that have bedeviled the civil rights movement since its very beginning, yielding conflicting narratives and patterns of activity, and ultimately resulting in the disorder we see today. This paper will also address how we might identify the best these narratives and patterns of activity have to offer, marshalling, and synthesizing them into a more productive approach."
“As a research and action think tank, Center for Policing Equity (CPE) produces analyses identifying and reducing the causes of racial disparities in law enforcement. Using evidence-based approaches to social justice, we use data to create levers for social, cultural and policy change.” - About Page
“Unicorn Riot is a decentralized, educational 501(c)(3) non-profit media organization of artists and journalists...dedicated to exposing root causes of dynamic social and environmental issues through amplifying stories and exploring sustainable alternatives in today’s globalized world.” - About Page
“The Bail Project, Inc. is a non-profit organization designed to combat mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system ‒ one person at a time. They work nationally, including several cities where protests are taking place, including Los Angeles, Louisville, and New York City.” - About
“The First Amendment protects your right to assemble and express your views through protest. However, police and other government officials are allowed to place certain narrow restrictions on the exercise of speech rights. Make sure you’re prepared by brushing up on your rights before heading out into the streets.” - About. This guidance is available in English and Spanish.
This page includes a video outlining basic rights of protesters, discussions about what divesting from police might look like, and other embedded videos about how to protect one’s privacy at a protest and how to hold police accountable.
Resources about rights shared by the nation’s largest civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Includes resources about employment rights, immigration, and discrimination.
A training guide on protesters and activist rights from the Civil Liberties Defense Center, an organization that “provides litigation, education, legal and strategic resources to strengthen and embolden [a movement’s] success.”
Tips for lawyers on how to advise a client engaged in civil disobedience. This article shares the six main law practice areas that are commonly needed in civil disobedience cases, how to advise clients before they protest, and what to do if the lawyer learns of their client’s arrest.
"The complimentary Protesters’ Rights Resource Kit from Practical Guidance® features LexisNexis-related content and links to publicly available content from various U.S.-based legal advocacy groups including the ACLU, The Legal Aid Society, and other organizations that are working to increase police accountability, promote civil rights, equal rights, and access to justice."
"The toolkit offers detailed legal analysis suitable for municipal and state attorneys, as well as more general legal guardrails, best practices, and frequently asked questions intended to be more easily accessible to non-lawyer elected and appointed officials, concerned residents, and activists."
This 2017 PBS documentary outlines the life of John Lewis, a civil rights activist and congressman. The film explores his young life growing up in Alabama, his engagement in non-violent direct action as a means of protesting racial segregation in the Jim Crow South, and his long tenure as a U.S. congressman.