Follow us online as we join the inaugural session of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent in Geneva
From December 5-8, Center for Constitutional Rights staff is attending the first session of the UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent. Established in August 2021, the Permanent Forum is a “consultative mechanism for people of African descent and other relevant stakeholders as a platform for improving the safety and quality of life and livelihoods of people of African descent.” CCR Board Member Justin Hansford is one of the 10 human rights experts who comprise the Forum and are pursuing a primary goal of combating discrimination against of people of African descent.
We will be uploading stories, sharing information, and uplifting the work of our partners at the Permanent Forum daily on social media. Follow us on Instagram at @ccrjustice, Twitter at @theCCR, and on the Center for Constitutional Rights Facebook page.
Today, Staff Attorney Samah Sisay will be arguing a motion for compassionate release on behalf of our client Charles Watts, who was sentenced to “stacked” 92 years due to a Clinton era punitive sentencing provision, which added 75 years to his underlying sentence, to be served consecutively because of the presence of an unloaded gun. If he were convicted today of the same crimes, he would receive a prison sentence of about 35 years. Mr. Watts is now 50 years old, having served nearly 30 years already.
In 2018, Congress passed the First Step Act, which both eliminated the most punitive features of the stacking provisions and opened up the grounds by which courts can consider releasing federal prisoners. In Mr. Watts' case, which our four Bertha Justice Fellows worked on collectively, we argue that his release is justified because of the change in law regarding stacking, because of his rehabilitative transformation, and because of a strong re-entry plan, which includes a promise of a full-time job, housing with his sister and a loving family support network. Please support our quest for justice for Mr. Watts and his family.
The case is set for today at 12 p.m. in Judge Matsumoto's courtroom in the Eastern District of New York, at Cadman Plaza.
Mr. Watts will be present, as will much of his family. Learn more about Charles Watts on our website.
We are excited to support the screening of Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power at Firehouse: DCTV’s Cinema for Documentary Film, from TODAY December 2 to Thursday, December 8, 2022.
In a county that was 80 percent Black but had zero Black voters, laws were just paper without power. This isn’t a story of hope but of action. Through first-person accounts and searing archival footage, Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power tells the story of the local movement and young Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organizers who fought not just for voting rights, but for Black Power in Lowndes County. Our Board Member, Catherine Coleman Flowers, is featured in the film.
Visit DCTV’s website for a list of screening times and to purchase tickets. Center for Constitutional Rights supporters can get 15 percent off tickets by entering the promotional code LowndesCountyCCR on the page with the seat selection.
Vince Warren, the Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, makes an appearance in the documentary Boycott, screening on December 5, 2022. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Jerome McDonnell, MC Former Host of Worldview, WBEZ; Rebecca Glenberg, Senior Supervising Attorney, Illinois ACLU; and Dima Khalidi, Director, Palestine Legal.
Over the past six years, unbeknownst to most Americans, 34 states passed laws intending to silence boycott and other nonviolent measures aimed at pressuring Israel on its human rights record. These dangerous bills remove the legal protection given boycotts for generations, granting governments the power to condition jobs on political viewpoints. Boycott chronicles one of the most consequential First Amendment battles of the past few decades and investigates the question – how did we get here?
December 21, 2022