We, the Executive Board of Harvard Law School’s Advocates for Human Rights (“HLS Advocates”), resolutely condemn the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police officers on May 25, 2020. We extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family and to the loved ones of the most recent victims of systemic anti-Black violence, including Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Dreasjon “Sean” Reed, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, and so many others. Their murders follow in the centuries-long history of anti-Blackness and police violence against Black individuals without accountability.
HLS Advocates stands in solidarity with the Black community and the continued struggle against the institutionalized racism that has remained in place throughout the history of this country. We stand behind the Black Lives Matter movement and its efforts to end anti-Black violence and police brutality. HLS Advocates also unequivocally supports and endorses the recent statement released by Harvard’s Black Law Students Association (“BLSA”), which can be read in full here.
Despite attempts to politicize the murder of George Floyd and other cases of police brutality against the Black community, this is, simply put, a matter of basic human rights. As an organization committed to building and contributing to a strong human rights community on campus and beyond, HLS Advocates stands behind anti-racism movements and community efforts to dismantle deeply-ingrained societal structures of oppression against members of the Black community, including those that are transgender, queer, non-binary, as well as disabled, low-income, or otherwise further marginalized within society.
On behalf of HLS Advocates, we categorically say: Black lives matter.
HLS Advocates calls on its members and all HLS students to not only educate themselves and engage in dialogue with their peers on this human rights issue, but also take direct action and elevate Black voices. This can take on many forms, including, but not limited to, the ideas provided below.
1. Reading List
- “So You Want To Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo
- “How To Be Anti-Racist” and “Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” by Ibram X. Kendi
- “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander
- “Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do” by Jennifer L. Eberhardt
- “Between The World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- “Your Silence Will Not Protect You” by Audre Lorde
- “Beloved” by Toni Morrison
2. National Lawyers Guild: Upcoming Direct Action and Legal Observer Trainings
This week the Northeastern chapter of NLG is hosting two Legal Observer trainings and one Direct Action training via Zoom to support BLM and the protests against police violence. The Legal Observer trainings will take place Thursday (6/4) at 6pm and Friday (6/5) at 12pm. The Direct Action training will take place on Friday (6/5) at 6pm. Register here at least one hour in advance of the training: https://forms.gle/Esw8mTh67aRjo1iB7.
3. Safety Precautions for Protesters
If you are joining a protest, take care and keep safety precautions and recommended social distancing guidelines in mind. A helpful reference guide from Amnesty International can be accessed here. See also Louryn Strampe & Lauren Goode, How to Protest Safely: What to Bring, What to Do, What to Avoid.
1. Law for Black Lives
“Law For Black Lives is a Black femme-led national network of nearly 4,000 radical lawyers and legal workers committed to building a responsive legal infrastructure for movement organizations and cultivating a community of legal advocates trained in movement lawyering.” If you are interested in assisting organizers with legal support, please fill out this form: http://bit.ly/LegalSupportVolunteer.
2. Movement for Black Lives: Week of Action
“The Movement For Black Lives, and organizers mobilizing across the country, invite you to take part in a week of action June 1st to 7th in defense of Black lives. This is an opportunity to uplift and fight alongside those turning up in the streets and online.” For more info, visit https://m4bl.org/week-of-action/.
1. Community Bail Funds & Legal Aid
The National Bail Fund Network is made up of over sixty community bail and bond funds across the country. For a community-sourced list of bail funds and legal aid organized by city, see Bail Funds and Legal Aid By City.
2. Personal Drives
3. Black-led Organizations
- Black Visions Collective is a Black, trans, and queer-led social justice organization and legal fund based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
- Campaign Zero is an online platform & organization that utilizes research-based policy solutions to end police brutality in the United States.
- The National Police Accountability Project was created by the National Lawyers Guild to “protect the human and civil rights of individuals in their encounters with law enforcement and detention facility personnel.”
For additional resources, please refer to the public statements of BLSA, found here.