In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down affirmative action on college campuses, we issued a response which states in part:
The full statement can be read on our website.
Last week on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, released a 23-page report on her visit to the detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba – the first by any UN expert. This important report can be found on the UN Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights's website. You can also view excerpts and our response to the report in this Twitter thread. There were many key findings in the report, including:
The report was covered extensively in the media, and you can read pieces that include reactions by our staff experts and clients in Middle East Eye and Common Dreams, and an NBC broadcast segment featured Senior Staff Attorney J. Wells Dixon.
In addition to the release of the UN report last week, we also joined partners Muslim Counterpublics Lab, No More Guantanamos, Witness Against Torture, and the Guantánamo Survivors Fund for a virtual conversation, "It follows you every place you go”: The Aftermath of Guantánamo. The recording of this powerful discussion can be viewed on YouTube. All of the men who spoke touched on the "long shadow" of Guantánamo that has followed them after release and the need for accountability for what they and others endured. The same sentiment is echoed by the Special Rapporteur in her report. "The world has and will not forget. Without accountability, there is no moving forward on Guantánamo,” she said.
We are energized, and hope these developments will bring new momentum to this fight. Our message is unwavering: we urge the Biden administration to work urgently and meaningfully to transfer men, including our clients Sharqawi Al Hajj and Guled Duran, and to finally close the prison.
We demand accountability for U.S. government officials responsible for torture and abuse, and reparations and repair for the survivors. Indeed, the Special Rapporteur explained:
You can watch the recording of the event on YouTube.
This Wednesday, July 5 at 2 p.m. ET, please join us, Palestine Legal, and the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) for a webinar: Resisting Lawfare: What USCPR's Win Means for the Movement. You can register for the webinar on zoom. Our client, USCPR, recently won its case against the Jewish National Fund, which attempted to attack its essential work for Palestinian human rights. This victory is a testament to the growing power of our movement for Palestinian liberation, as well as growing support for the right to boycott. In this webinar, we’ll celebrate this win and break down what it means for our activism and advocacy across movements, from the U.S. to Palestine. Join us! Featured speakers include Diala Shamas, Senior Staff Attorney; Darryl Li, legal scholar and anthropologist; and Lina Assi, Advocacy Manager at Palestine Legal. The discussion will be moderated by USCPR Executive Director Ahmad Abuznaid. You can read more about the case, Jewish National Fund v. US Campaign for Palestinian Rights on our website.
Last week, after not being together in the same place for three years, the our staff and board gathered for its first in-person community convening. It was a glorious reunion for people who haven't seen each other in years and an inspiring moment for those who hadn't yet met in person. As in most social justice organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic was a major disruptive factor in building, strengthening, and maintaining the culture and working relationships that are essential to our work. Although we work very well from our various locations, we are stronger when we have opportunities to connect in person.
The weeklong convening started with a Juneteenth celebration and the honoring of our staff, focusing on our operations and development team members who have consistently been in the office over the full course of the pandemic. Next, we had a staff day where we set the stage for building a vibrant, inclusive and safe work culture, and how we might reorganize ourselves to strengthen our movement advocacy. The following day, the board and staff met to discuss our upcoming program of work and what the future of transnational and international litigation and advocacy might look like in the rapidly changing global environment. Finally, the board held its June meeting at the end of the week, fueled by what most felt was an inspiring and joyous week of being and working together.
At the beginning of June, the New York City Council LGBTQIA+ Caucus released The Marsha and Sylvia Plan, a policy agenda named in honor of the late LGBTQIA+ freedom fighters Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, which proposes solutions in relation to nine areas of need for the LGBTQIA+ community in New York City: arts and culture; education; government operations; health; housing and homelessness; older adults; public safety; sex work; and youth and foster care. Read more about the plan launch in this article from Gay City News.
We are happy that the housing and homelessness section of the plan acknowledges the work we have done in collaboration with our client Mariah Lopez to support trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming (TGNC) shelter residents by proposing to codify the reforms we secured in our settlement with the Department of Homeless Services in 2021. Mariah’s organization, the Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform (STARR), continues the work started by Marsha and Sylvia to support trans rights and house LGBTQIA+ New Yorkers experiencing homelessness. You can read the full plan released by the City Council LGBTQIA+ Caucus.