The National Lawyers Guild International Committee congratulates Kerry McLean, the 2021 honoree of the Debra Evenson Venceremos International Award. The Award will be presented during the NLG Law For the People Convention, which will be held virtually between October 11-17, 2021.
Kerry McLean is the recipient of the 2021 Debra Evenson Venceremos International Award. She is an international human rights lawyer and social justice activist. An NLG member since 2003, Kerry is the founder and Chair of the National Lawyers Guild’s Africa Subcommittee, a former NLG national board member, former VP of the NLG-NYC Chapter, and was a Co-Chair of her law school chapter. She also chaired the NLG Anti-Sexism Committee for several years.
Kerry has represented the Guild in advocacy for the Jena 6, Marissa Alexander and Troy Davis. She also helped to coordinate support for migrants of African descent in Mexico.
Kerry has played a leading role as spokesperson for and member of the Steering Committee of the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States.
Over the past 17 years Kerry has lived in Africa, Europe and Asia, working with local and international organizations on human rights and international development. She has engaged in significant United Nations advocacy, including litigation with treaty monitoring bodies, writing shadow reports concerning compliance with CERD, CEDAW and CAT, contributing to UPR reports and working with UN Special Rapporteurs. She has provided trainings on and delivered lectures on international human rights in the US and other parts of the world
Kerry has served as an election observer in Cambodia, Honduras, Venezuela, El Salvador and Abkhazia. She has also served as a trial observer in Turkey for trials involving persecuted lawyers and human rights defenders, and organizes solidarity activities for Turkey with multiple organizations. She represents the NLG in the Geneva Support Group for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Western Sahara, an international advocacy coalition that supports the fight of the Saharawi people for independence and self-determination.
The Debra Evenson Venceremos International Award is presented on an annual basis as a national award of the National Lawyers Guild to honor outstanding international legal work, legal solidarity, international advocacy, and justice beyond borders, in the tradition of Debra Evenson. Former Guild President Debra Evenson was a leading expert on Cuba’s legal system, a law professor and a pioneering advocate of international solidarity in legal work. The recipient of the annual award is selected by the Steering Committee of the International Committee and is presented annually at the NLG Law for the People Convention.