The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLGSF) stands with the thousands of activists across the country taking a stand for Black lives. For decades, we have defended the Black Panther Party and its members in the courts and on the streets, and we will continue to work in principled solidarity with our comrades in struggle and defend activists who take a stand for racial justice today.
Across the United States and throughout the world, communities have risen up to protest the repeated, brutal murder of Black Americans by law enforcement agencies. According to the Guardian, 136 Black people have been killed by law enforcement from January to July 2016 alone, nearly one person per day.
The murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the most recent victims of law enforcement violence, are examples of the brutality unleashed against Black communities in the United States for hundreds of years. Police forces, which are the descendants of slave patrols and night watches, were established to protect property. This “property,” as defined by law, originally came in the form of Africans who were enslaved and of the land stolen from indigenous peoples and settled by Europeans. Today’s police forces continue to play a similar role, brutalizing Black communities in order to maintain a white supremacist, capitalist order and colonial control of the land.
Thus, as the largest chapter of the NLG, located in the very state which gave birth to Black Lives Matter in 2013 and the Black Panther Party 50 years ago, we firmly reject any attempt to scapegoat Black Lives Matter or any other Black activist organization in light of recent events in Dallas. We also reject government surveillance, monitoring, prosecution and incarceration of activists and will continue to stand side by side with all those who advance racial and economic justice.
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is a human rights bar association founded in 1937. The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLGSF) has hundreds of members – lawyers, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers and law students – throughout Northern California. For decades, the NLGSF has provided legal support to activists and urged greater accountability and transparency for law enforcement. Click here to see our Know Your Rights and other resource.