Retaliation and gov't dossiers on lawyers at the Southern Border
Our clients at Al Otro Lado recently began to be harassed and detained by officials at the U.S.-Mexico border. Al Otro Lado is an organization that provides legal services and know-your-rights training to immigrants. Suddenly the lawyers were being detained and questioned for hours, having alerts placed on their U.S. passports, and getting travel documents revoked without explanation. One was detained with her seven-year-old daughter in a cell with no food or water for more than eight hours. It was clear that the harassment was in retaliation for their legal work helping people seeking asylum and our lawsuit around it, but then the news broke that the government has created dossiers on activists, lawyers, and journalists they think are causing trouble along the Southern Border, and our clients were on the list. The dossiers are shared among multiple agencies and raise the specter of COINTELPRO and past government campaigns of intimidation, infiltration, harassment and worse against activists fighting for social justice. We are seeking more information with the court.
Register now for the 2019 NYC Gaza 5k - CCR is a proud sponsor!
The Center for Constitutional Rights is a proud sponsor of the 2019 NYC Gaza 5K. The Gaza 5K is an annual walk/run hosted by UNRWA USA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, which is the largest service provider to Palestinians and the largest UN operation in the Middle East. Funds from the race are donated to the UNRWA Community Mental Health Programme (CMHP), which employs counselors, locally recruited from the refugee population, to support thousands of Palestine refugee children in the Gaza Strip affected by post-traumatic stress and other psychological trauma.
Over a decade of blockade has cut Gaza's population and economy off from the world, resulting in high rates of unemployment, poverty, and food insecurity. Most people now must rely on international assistance to meet their most basic needs. With the U.S. government defunding of the agency in 2018, UNRWA, the main services provider, was forced to change the status of many of its counselors from full-time to part-time, limiting their ability to respond to mental health needs caused by trauma and repeated exposure to violence. But this decision to defund UNRWA doesn't have to put an end to the agency's Community Mental Health Programme. The funds raised through the NYC Gaza 5K can allow UNRWA to continue employing counselors, providing jobs to refugees, and critically needed mental health care to children.
Listen to our latest podcast, Transformative justice in an era of mass criminalization
On the twelfth episode of The Activist Files, Senior Legal Worker Leah Todd talks with educator, organizer, and director of Project NIA Mariame Kaba and journalist, author, and organizer Victoria Law about their work on issues of violence, incarceration, gender, criminalization, and transformative justice. Mariame and Victoria share the personal experiences that brought them to their social justice work. They discuss the cycles of violence created by carceral solutions to social problems, and talk about the growing phenomenon of mass criminalization, including how the term allows us to think beyond just the impacts of incarceration and see ways that surveillance and punishment affect people's lives even outside of prison walls.
In a comment that may remind Activist Files listeners of our last episode, Victoria and Mariame discuss the ways that prisons and carceral solutions have "stripped away our imagination," providing a one-size-fits-all response to harm that often causes more harm without providing resolution, safety, or healing. This episode highlights the importance of thinking in new ways about healing and providing accountability for harm, which is explored in Mariame's project transformharm.org. Episode 12 of The Activist Files is vital listening for anyone interested in how to go beyond punishing harm, to healing from, being accountable for, and preventing it.
If you haven't noticed, we have a new landing page for The Activist Files! It's easier to search, to listen, to read transcripts, and, of course, to share our podcast. You'll also see more photos, videos, links, and transcripts, beginning with this episode.
Subscribe on iTunes or listen to our podcast here!