Twenty years after the U.S. declared its “War on Terror,” civil rights lawyers and advocates sent the Biden administration a memorandum covering a range of federal policies and programs, all justified under the guise of protecting “national security,” but which unjustly surveil, profile, and criminalize Black, African, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (BAMEMSA) communities.
Together with a coalition of leading civil rights organizations, we’ve drafted a memo titled Unconstitutional and Unjust: Dismantling 20 Years of Discriminatory ‘National Security’ Policy, documenting many of these discriminatory policies, all of which continue today. Now we’re calling on the Biden administration and policymakers across the country to dismantle the post-9/11 national security frameworks driving the policies covered in the memo and commit to repairing the harms they have inflicted.
Learn more about the memo on our website.
Recent images of white, cowboy-clad Customs and Border Protection officers on horseback, whipping terrified Black refugees, reminiscent of the practices of overseers of enslaved people, plainly reveal the deadly ideology of white supremacy at play. These actions underscore a belief, in the way the Biden administration's predecessors perceived Haitians in 1991 or Muslims in 2002, that these Haitian refugees — fleeing horrific political and environmental disasters at home — are less than human, and thus do not possess human rights, including the right to enter the United States to make a claim for asylum.
We have joined calls with others demanding the end to the systematic discriminatory treatment of Black migrants and the wildly overbroad and pretextual use of public health measures (like the use of Haitians’ HIV status in 1991) to effectuate mass exclusions of those who are most vulnerable and most in need of the protection afforded by law.
In 1987, we created the Ella Baker Summer Internship Program to honor the legacy of Ella Baker, a hero of the civil rights movement, and to train the next generation of social justice lawyers. Through our program, interns gain practical litigation experience and sharpen their theoretical understanding of the relationship between social change, organizing, and lawyering. Ella Baker Interns also become connected to a global community of social justice law students and lawyers through our Ella Baker Alumni Network.
We’ve now started our search for the 2022 cohort of Ella Baker interns. For more information, and to apply, head to our website.
In case you missed it, last week we hosted a virtual performance, Letters from Detention: Performance and Talk-Back.
We believe in the transformative power of art and storytelling, and Monday night was… magic. We were moved by the brilliant performances of Laith Nakli, Hadi Tabbal, and narrator Sara Haider, which brought the story of our clients and brothers Yasser Ebrahim and Hany Ibrahim to life.
When asked for his reflections on the performance, Yasser told the audience that it brought him back to 20 years ago and how he and his brother felt in that moment. Yet despite all that they endured, Yasser shared why he decided to speak out after the experience was behind him, and why he continues to do so today:
You can watch the video of the talk-back with Yasser, his attorney Rachel Meeropol, and host of Al Jazeera’s podcast “The Take” Malika Bilal on our YouTube channel. Please share it with friends and colleagues!
As we look back on the past 20 years since 9/11, certain issues come to the forefront – the toll of the war in Afghanistan; the torture of detainees in CIA custody; the worldwide drone program; the ongoing 19-year detention of detainees at Guantánamo. The list goes on.
In “Reflecting on 20 years of the ‘War on Terror’ at home: federal prosecutions,” the 42nd episode of “The Activist Files,” our staff attorney Pardiss Kebriaei talks about it with three guests who have been at the forefront of advocacy, organizing, and reporting on these cases for more than a decade – Faisal Hashmi, whose brother Fahad spent thirteen years in prison on a bogus "material support" conviction at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, Jeanne Theoharis, professor of political science at Brooklyn College, and Murtaza Hussain, reporter at The Intercept.
Listen on our website.
October 13, 2021