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Monday, September 21 • 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Abolition is Not Conditional: Connecting Across Issue Areas (CLE)

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UPDATE 9/23 - RECORDING AVAILABLE: Watch the recording of this program here. Password is (includes exclamation mark):


(NOTE: This recording is only meant to be accessed by convention registrants. Please do not circulate.)

A reminder if you're an attorney seeking CLE credit for this program, please complete and submit the following forms that were emailed to you:-----------------------------------------------------

CLE Credit: 1.5  Hours for General (Topical content, skills training, law practice management)

As the movement to dismantle policing and shut down prisons continues to gain steam, this panel will connect contemporary struggles to the theoretical and practical underpinnings of the abolitionist movement in the US. Panelists will highlight connections across areas of work with both social movements and NLG committees, addressing mass criminalization and incarceration, immigration enforcement, militarism, and colonialism. We will examine recent victories, provide attendees with ways to evaluate different reform and policy proposals, and discuss how the NLG as an abolitionist organization can lend support to social movements on the ground.

In 2015, NLG adopted a resolution supporting prison abolition. At the time, many members were still new and some even hostile to the idea of abolition, even as NLG chapters and members mobilized to support the first wave of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests. Now, as a new wave of BLM protests again forces the United States to reckon with police violence against Black people, abolition is significantly more influential in the formation of mainstream demands such as the call to defund police.

This major panel will help deepen NLG members’ understanding of abolition as both a political analysis and an organizing principle. We will explore the role of abolition in shaping both immediate responses to police violence domestically and as an overarching goal for organizers and the NLG itself. This ultimately deepens our individual and collective commitments to abolition and better prepares members to support the current grassroots movements led by Black, Brown, Indigenous people and other People of Color.

(CLE Credit will be given through the State Bar of CA. After the convention, we'll be emailing out attendance verification forms to all attendees.)


Sponsors: Mass Incarceration Committee, Mass Defense Committee, International Committee, National
Immigration Project, TUPOCC (The United People of Color Caucus of the NLG)


Moderator: Pooja Gehi (she/her), Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild. Pooja has worked for immigrant and racial justice, trans and queer liberation, transformative justice, youth leadership, and cross-movement coalition building throughout her life. Currently, she serves as the Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild. For over eight years, she worked as a Staff Attorney and Director of Immigrant Justice at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP). There she provided direct legal services to hundreds of low-income transgender and gender nonconforming clients, and achieved major victories like access to transition-related healthcare for New York State Medicaid recipients through litigation and coalition work.

Benji Hart (any pronoun), Author, Artist, & educator, Chicago IL. Benji Hart is an author, artist, and educator from Amherst, Massachusetts, living in Chicago. They hold a bachelors in African American Studies from Wesleyan University, and a masters in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. The writer behind the blog Radical Faggot, their essays and poems have appeared in numerous anthologies including Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work of Grief (AK Press), and Trans Bodies Trans Selves: Second Edition (forthcoming from Oxford University Press). Their commentary has been published at Teen Vogue, In These Times, The Chicago Reader, The Advocate, Autostraddle, Out of Print, and others.

Setareh Ghandehari (she/her), Advocacy Manager, Detention Watch Network. Setareh leads Detention Watch Network's advocacy team by collaborating with our membership and coalition partners to advance DWN's mission to abolition immigraiton detention. Prior to joining DWN, Setareh was the Director of the Labor & Employment Committee of the National Lawyers Guild and was previously a Program Associate for the Legal Orientation Program at the Vera Institute of Justice. Setareh received her Bachelor's degrees from the University of Maryland and J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.

Sharlyn Grace (she/her) is a founding member of Chicago Community Bond Fund and currently serves as CCBF’s Executive Director. Before joining CCBF full-time in 2018, she was the senior criminal justice policy analyst at Chicago Appleseed. Sharlyn has also previously managed a school-based restorative justice program in Back of the Yards and coordinated the Juvenile Expungement Help Desk at the Cook County Juvenile Center. Sharlyn has been part of supporting several abolitionist projects, including We Charge Genocide, Tamms Year Ten, and anti-eviction work. Sharlyn is a former national Executive Vice-President of the National Lawyers Guild and a co-author of the NLG’s 2015 Resolution Supporting the Abolition of Prisons. Sharlyn was recognized as one of eleven 2020 Leaders for a New Chicago by The Field Foundation for her campaign work with CCBF and the Coalition to End Money Bond.

Dominique Morgan (she/her), Executive Director, Black & Pink. Dominique Morgan is an award-winning artist, activist, and TEDx speaker. As the Executive Director of Black and Pink, the largest prison abolitionist organization in the United States, they work daily to dismantle the systems that perpetuate violence on LGBTQ/GNC people and individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Partnering her lived experience of being impacted by mass incarceration (which included 18 months in solitary confinement), with a decade of change-makin

Monday September 21, 2020 7:00pm - 8:30pm EDT