Join us April 7 to April 9, 2017 as the NLG Chicago Chapter hosts the NLG Midwest Regional Conference! For more information, including how to register, click here.
**Access the annotated agenda here.**
Join us for an exciting panel of speakers discussing Avodah’s work in restorative justice in Chicago, as well as small group discussion led by their Service Corps Members.
The JMLS student chapters of the National Lawyers Guild, the American Constitutional Society, the Latino Law Students Association, and the Black Law Students Association hosted a Teach-In on Immigration and Sanctuary Cities, featuring Lilian Jimenez.
Lilian Jimenez is Policy Director for Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. she has been a community organizer for over a decade and as an attorney she specializes in an array of public interest areas, including immigrant rights, civil rights, and juvenile justice. Ms. Jimenez spoke on federal immigration policy and Chicago’s Sanctuary City status, which was followed by a group discussion.
Members of NLG Chicago, Chicago Action Medical, and Tilted Scales Collective discussed ways of strengthening radical/revolutionary struggle and improving community self-defense when faced with criminal charges and the ravages of the prison-industrial complex. This event held on February 26, 2017 was inspired by the newly published book “A Tilted Guide to Being a Defendant,” written by Tilted Scales Collective to help radicals figure out how to handle serious criminal charges in ways that strengthen movements rather than allowing the state to use them to disrupt and destroy our movements.
Tilted Scales Collective wrote “A Tilted Guide to Being a Defendant” after noticing that the state is highly skilled in using criminal charges to neutralize, disrupt, and destroy radical/revolutionary social movements–-and that most defendants are ill-equipped to handle those charges in ways that advance their struggles. They reached out to around 100 people across the country, including current and former political prisoners/prisoners of war, to provide radicals with the best tools and insights for fighting criminal charges while continuing their struggles. You can download a free e-book of the Tilted Guide to Being a Defendant at the link here!
Jude has been involved in anarchist legal support organizing and prisoner support since he joined a legal collective in Minneapolis prior to the 2008 RNC. Since then, he has been part of many legal support efforts ranging from local one-off direct actions to summits such as the RNC/DNC, NATO, and G20. He has also been involved in defense committees for numerous prisoners across the country. Jude helped form Tilted Scales Collective after an Anarchist Black Cross conference in 2012. In 2016, he took on the position of chair of the Mass Defense Committee with the National Lawyers Guild, through which he helps with legal support efforts at protests and uprisings across the country.
Brent Betterly was arrested and charged in connection with an elaborate conspiracy authored by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office during the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago. The case was later revealed to be a part of a larger effort by CPD to infiltrate and criminalize the anarchist community in Chicago. He was acquitted of several state-level terrorism charges and served three years of a six year prison sentence for possesion of incendiary devices, which were also revealed to have been manufactured and planted by CPD. Brent is an activist involved in organizing around antifascism and prisoner support work.
Members of Chicago Action Medical (CAM) were present to discuss their work locally and at other actions and uprisings around the country. CAM is a group of volunteers who are trained in basic first aid and has been working in Chicago since 2002, providing medical support at direct actions for social change. Free grassrooots medical care at protests is a tradition going back centuries worldwide. CAM also frequently holds down jail support in Chicago. Read more about CAM’s work: https://
Volunteers with NLG Chicago and Chicago Community Bond Fund also shared information about and reflections on our existing infrastructure for supporting movements in Chicago.
Also, please consider writing to, sending books to, or supporting with commissary funds Jay Chase, the NATO 3 prisoner still inside. Updates are at Free the NATO 3, and you can write to Jay here:
Jared Chase M44710
Pontiac Correctional Center
PO Box 99
Pontiac, Illinois 61764
More resources from Tilted Scales: Free access to the zine and book are available at titledscalescollective.org and you can request a copy of the Prison Activist Resource Center resource list be sent to prisoners via prisonactivist.org.
Follow Chicago Action Medical‘s Facebook page to learn about their upcoming street medic trainings. CAM is also available to do health and safety trainings for organizations that request them!
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) organized a day of action for the legal community to express our solidarity with the growing movements against the new regime and its white supremacist agenda. On February 17 at noon, lawyers, legal workers, law students, and law professors gathered in front of the US District Court in Federal Plaza along with other actions around the country in coordination with the nationwide #GeneralStrike planned for the same day.
“We are facing unprecedented attacks on our most fundamental human rights and are seeing the unfolding of authoritarianism before our eyes. The legal community has no choice but to show up, to defend our communities and to fight back by holding our institutions accountable,” said NLG President and LatinoJustice PRLDEF Associate Counsel Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan.
In the three weeks since Donald Trump has taken office, we have seen a flurry of executive orders targeting immigrants and intensifying law enforcement; racist, unqualified millionaires appointed to the nation’s highest positions; assaults on the press, and “alternative facts” presented as truth. However, we have also witnessed communities engaging in profound organizing and direct action—from the streets to airports and schools—to reject the current administration and disrupt business as usual. On February 17, we’re taking the resistance to courthouses.
“It is crucial for the legal community to come together to provide support for resistance movements against the current administration. We must fight back against the legitimization of racial and religious bigotry, xenophobia, Islamophobia and misogyny that violate the core principles of democracy,” said NLG Executive Director Pooja Gehi.
The speakers at the rally were:
Dima Khalidi, Palestine Legal
Joey Mogul, People’s Law Office
Max Suchan, NLG Chicago’s Mass Defense Committee
Nieves Bolanos, Potter Bolanos
Vickie Casanova Willis, FDLA
Ben Meyer, FDLA
MiAngel Cody, The Decarceration Collective
Diane O’Connell, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
Megan Davis, Northern Illinois Justice for our Neighbors
Lam Nguyen Ho – CALA
— Palestine Legal (@pal_legal) February 17, 2017
— Palestine Legal (@pal_legal) February 17, 2017
The Chicago rally was co-sponsored by:
People’s Law Office
Thedford Garber Law
CALA (Community Activism Law Alliance)
Uptown People’s Law Center
American Constitution Society JMLS Student Chapter
Potter Bolaños LLC
Northern Illinois Justice For Our Neighbors
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
First Defense Legal Aid
The Decarceration Collective
National Conference of Black Lawyers – Chicago Chapter
For more photos check out: https://www.facebook.com/events/1915782851969046/
For more info, read the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin article on the event here.
In 1942, Fred Korematsu resisted detainment under an executive order that placed Japanese Americans in internment camps through the western and southwestern United States. Two years later, Fred courageously challenged his internment before the United States Supreme Court. Tragically, the Court upheld the internment order. However, almost 40 years later, Fred, his attorneys, and community activists prevailed before the Northern District of California federal court reversed Korematsu’s conviction under the internment order. The court held that the government knew that no military necessity had justified the internment, but lied about this before the Supreme Court. On the day his case was to be decided, Fred stated: “I would like to see the government admit that they were wrong and do something about it so this will never happen again to any American citizen of any race, creed, or color.”
The Loyola University Chapter of the NLG hosted a celebration of Korematsu Day and a discussion of how Fred’s legacy informs the current fight on January 30. The film ‘Korematsu and Civil Liberties’ was screened, followed by a panel discussion featuring Fred Tsao from Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights Sufyan Sohel from Council on American Islamic Relations-Chicago, Bill Yoshino from Japanese American Citizens League and Andy Kang from Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago, moderated by Sameena Mustafa, Managing Director at Bradford Allen
The Loyola event was co-sponsored by the Loyola chapters of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Latino Law Student Association, Black Law Student Association, Immigrant Rights Coalition, Women Law Students, Muslim Law Students Association, Public Interest Law Society, Cultural Impact Initiative, and American Constitution Society.
On Wednesday, February 22, 2017 the DePaul Asian Pacific American Law Students Association hosted a Special Screening “Of Civil Wrongs & Rights,” followed by a Panel Discussion in honor of Fred Korematsu. Panelists discussed the historical background of the Japanese American internment camps and how that experience relates to current civil rights issues faced by the nation today.
The event was hosted by the National Lawyers Guild-Chicago (NLG-Chicago), Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago, Japanese American Citizens League, Council on American Islamic Relations-Chicago, Asian American Bar Association of Chicago (AABA), Chinese American Bar Association of Chicago (CABA), Arab American Bar Association of Illinois (AABAR), Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago (FALA). The DePaul Student Org Co-Sponsors were: Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, ILS, MLSA, NLG, SAIL