Direct action or activism work is a critical element of Advocates, with more or less emphasis at different times in the organization’s history. Activism was an especially strong part of Advocates during the Bush administration.Recently, Advocates has sought to refocus activism. Advocates formally renewed its commitment to social justice by restarting the creating Executive Board roles to lead activism within the organization beginning with the 2020-21 school year.
The main goals of Advocates’ Activism wing are the following:
- To utilize Advocates’ institutional position in order to elevate marginalized voices and advance causes that address human rights issues and systemic injustice both domestically and abroad
- To provide students at HLS with opportunities to become more actively involved in human rights advocacy through direct action
- To institutionalize social justice work as a core tenet of Advocates
- To cultivate a stronger human rights culture at HLS
Since March 2020, Advocates has worked particularly close with Rayhan Asat, a Uyghur human rights lawyer and Harvard Law School’s first and only Uyghur graduate, in her fight to free her brother Ekpar from a Xinjiang concentration camp.
In addition to our work with Rayhan, Advocates also sought to bring attention to the fate of four Yemeni journalists detained since 2015 and sentenced to death in April 2020 in a campaign that included reaching out to President Joe Biden.