ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

December 18, 2017

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Monday, December 18, 2017 12:16 PM
Subject: FYI: Tomorrow: Rally to Save the Right to Know Act


Rally to Save the Right to Know Act
Tuesday, Dec. 19 fr/ 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM  Public · Hosted by NYC Democratic Socialists of America

Ritchie Torres, in coalition with the Mayor and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA), is now pushing a toothless version of his part of the #RightToKnowAct, which is not even remotely what was initially agreed to. He is pushing a new piece of the legislation called Intro.182D, which seeks to undo the protections we’ve fought for and undermine our neighbors’ safety in daily police encounters.

HOWEVER, the better news is that Council Member Reynoso has followed through with his half of the Right to Know Act: Intro.541C is finally up for a vote on Tuesday! We need the City Council to vote YES on Intro541C to help end unconstitutional searches by the NYPD.

The next council meeting will be Tuesday, December 19th at City Hall.

Our partners at CPR are asking everyone to show up from 11:00AM to 2:00PM on Tuesday for this final push to save the Right to Know Act, urging a NO vote on Torres’ bill and a YES vote on Reynoso’s bill.

WE NEED EVERYONE WHO IS ABLE TO SHOW UP TO SEND A STRONG MESSAGE TO CITY COUNCIL: We won’t tolerate backroom deals or bills that serve the NYPD at the expense of the public!
Share In Messenger
Add a message…

About NYC Democratic Socialists of America
NYC Democratic Socialists of America
Political Organization
NYC chapter of the largest socialist organization in the country. We fight, and organize, for more democracy in more places with activism and education.


November 29, 2017

Tonight FYI: The Criminalization of Home: Organizing to Protect Communities from NYC to Palestine

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2017 10:49 AM
Subject: Tonight FYI: The Criminalization of Home: Organizing to Protect Communities from NYC to Palestine

Moderated by Bina Ahmad (CDP Manhattan). Sponsors include the Center for Constitutional Rights.



The Criminalization of Home: Organizing to Protect Communities from NYC to Palestine

Wednesday, November 29 at Verso Books, 20 Jay St., Suite 1010, Brooklyn, NY
Doors open at 7 p.m., panel begins at 7:30

Sahar Francis of Addameer
Darializa Avila-Chevalier of Black Youth Project–100
Mujahid Farid of Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP)
And moderated by Bina Ahmad

This panel explores the different ways criminalization fractures communities and separates people from the place(s) they call home. Bringing together activists from New York City to Palestine, it looks at how state violence enforces a system of racialized dispossession, whether through eviction, deportation, incarceration, or colonization and ethnic cleansing. We’ll also learn how people are protecting their communities by fighting back against the increasingly militarized policing of their neighborhoods, supporting prisoners’ rights, and advancing a vision of freedom and self-determination.

DARIALIZA AVILA-CHEVALIER is an organizer with the NYC chapter of Black Youth Project 100, a member-based organization of radical 18-to-35-year-old people that work toward the liberation of Black people. BYP100 works to center the most marginalized, which includes incarcerated people and trans/gender non-conforming people. Their work is done via direct action, political education, and internal leadership development. Their current long-term project is Campaign H.O.M.E. (Housing Over Monitoring and Evictions), which seeks to end the racist NYCHA policy of Permanent Exclusion. Before joining BYP100, Darializa organized with Students for Justice in Palestine and helped launch the Columbia University Apartheid Divest campaign.

MUJAHID FARID is the lead organizer for the Release Aging People in Prison Campaign (RAPP), which aims to decarcerate US prisons by accelerating the release rate of elderly people. Farid himself was confined for 33 years in New York State and released in 2011, after entering the system in 1978 with a sentence of 15 years to life. While confined, Farid earned four college degrees, including two Master’s, and was part of a trio that created the first HIV/AIDS peer education program in NYS prisons, which later developed into the widely acclaimed PACE (Prisoners AIDS Counseling & Education) program. In 2013 he was awarded an Open Society Soros Justice Fellowship, a joint NYS legislative commendation, and a Citizens Against Recidivism, Inc. award for social activism. In 2016 RAPP was awarded the New York Nonprofit Media’s Cause Award.

SAHAR FRANCIS has been the director of Addameer (Arabic for conscience), a prisoner support and human rights advocacy organization, since 2005, and has been a human rights legal advocate since 1994. She specializes in issues of Palestinian political prisoners, including ill treatment and torture, administrative detention, prison conditions, and prisoners’ rights. She has extensive litigation experience in the Israeli military court system as well as in Israeli civil courts.

Co-organized by Adalah-NY: Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, Addameer Prisoner Support & Human Rights Association, BYP100 NYC chapter, and the Center for Constitutional Rights

Verso Books is wheelchair accessible.

September 21, 2017

FYI: 9/28: Book Talk: Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2017 10:17 AM
Subject: FYI: 9/28: Book Talk: Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971

Join us on [Thursday] 9/28 when @hthompsn presents
“Blood In The Water: The #Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy”:
$5 tix:
@brooklynhistory 718.222.4111
Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in History, Heather Ann Thompson shares the complicated and gripping tale of the five-day prison uprising, as well as the muddied investigations, lawsuits, and untold stories that followed.

Book Talk: Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971
Thursday, September 28
Doors: 6:00 pm
Event: 6:30 pm
$5 General Admission / Free for Members

BHS Members: to reserve tickets at the member price, click on “Tickets” and enter your Member ID on the following page after clicking on “Enter Promotional Code.”

REFUND POLICY Brooklyn Historical Society requires 24 hours notice before the date of the event to refund a ticket. No refunds are provided after that point. No refunds are provided on the day of the event and all subsequent days.

Thu, September 28, 2017
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Brooklyn Historical SocietY
128 Pierrepont St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Organizer of Book Talk: “Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971”

Founded in 1863, Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) is a library, museum, and urban education center dedicated to the people of Brooklyn, providing opportunities for civic dialogue and thoughtful engagement.

. Transparency, Journalism, and the White House tickets
Tue, Oct 3 6:30 PM
Transparency, Journalism, and the White House

. Criminalizing Poverty, Community Organizations, and Fighting Back tickets
Thu, Oct 5 6:30 PM

© 2017 Eventbrite

March 7, 2017

The Black Panthers, Then & Now: Kathleen Cleaver Speaks | 3/7 6PM NYU Law VH210

From: Sampeur, Jane-Roberte
Sent: Tuesday, March 07, 2017 2:40 PM
Subject: The Black Panthers, Then & Now: Kathleen Cleaver Speaks | 3/7 6PM NYU Law VH210

Happing tonight if folks are interested. Should be great.

The Black Panthers, Then & Now: Kathleen Cleaver Speaks.

The NYU Law National Lawyers Guild will host former communications secretary of the Black Panther Party & professor of law at Emory University Kathleen Cleaver on March 7th at6PM at the NYU School of Law, Vanderbilt Hall Rm. 210.

Professor Cleaver will speak on the Black Panther Party, which just marked its 50th anniversary, and the implications and lessons that can be drawn from the Party’s experience in the age of Trump.

Professor Cleaver will join Palestinian-American youth organizer Aber Kawas and Black Lives Matter organizer Kei Williams to discuss what lessons young community organizers and grassroots activists can learn from the legacy of the Panthers in the struggle against racism, mass incarceration, imperialism, and police violence today.

Professor Cleaver has not only an important and unique perspective on the power of revolutionary black resistance in America, but a necessary one. We are in a time of unprecedented state violence against black and brown people in America — from Muslim bans and threats to deport millions of people, to the return of the Dakota Access Pipeline, to the explicit calls for racial profiling in policing, to the rise of right-wing extremists within the new administration. At the same time, the United States has threatened greater aggression abroad, from threats of war with Iran and the return of the use of torture to unyielding support for the violation of Palestinian rights, all expanding policies that are intricately linked with domestic abuses.

Please join us for a monumental opportunity as revive and expand the tradition of connecting anti-racist resistance at home with the fight against state violence abroad in line with the practice of the Black Panther Party.


NYU Black Allied Law Students Association
NYU Law & Social Change
NYU Coalition on Law & Representation
NYU South Asian Law Students Association
Arab-American Association of NY
NYU Students for Justice in Palestine
New York City Students for Justice in Palestine
NYU Women of Color Collective

(Full & Updated list of sponsors here:


February 18, 2017

Talking to New Yorkers Who Went on Strike to Protest Trump


Talking to New Yorkers Who Went on Strike to Protest Trump


“I’m just really sad for the country and I want to register my dissent wherever possible.”

Ever since Donald Trump’s inauguration, protests have been cropping up in America’s large cities, as one vulnerable population after another voices opposition to the new president’s discriminatory policies and rhetoric. In late January, when Trump issued his executive order barring citizens from seven Muslim majority countries from entering the US, demonstrators swarmed the nation’s airports to show solidarity with those caught up in the ban. Two weekends ago, New York’s Yemeni and LGBTQ communities held separate rallies. Thursday marked a “Day Without Immigrants,” as Latinos and immigrants stayed home from work to demonstrate how much the country relied upon them and their labor. And on Friday, a nationwide general strike brought anti-Trumpers out of the offices and workplaces to the streets.

The action, known as #F17 for the date, was organized by a number of groups, including one called Strike4Democracy, and included more than 100 events in towns and cities across the country. The idea was simple: Go on strike and participate in a day of action from 1 to 8 PM. Those who couldn’t take the whole day off to protest were encouraged to spend their lunch breaks at a rally.

The National Lawyers Guild organized the first rally I attended in New York. These are the lawyers who help protesters navigate the law if they are detained by police—I know the group’s work and have stayed connected with the NLG since 2015, when I was arrested while covering a Freddie Gray march in Baltimore for VICE.

From 1 to 3 PM, about 200 people rallied in front of the Manhattan Supreme Court. Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, spoke to the crowd: “We’re not accustomed to being the law and order guys. But that son of a bitch is turning us into the law and order guys. And we’re telling him that nobody, especially him, is above the law. So we’re going to hold him accountable, we’re going to stand with the people.”

Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, the president of the NLG, took the megaphone said, “We live in, and are from, these communities—it is our communities that are also under attack and we are willing to lend out titles, our positions, and our skills in defense of who we are and where we come from.”

I took Bannan’s portrait in front of the courthouse and asked her how people looking to become active in advocacy can participate. “Anyone can be a legal observer,” she told me. “On you can sign up for training, which means that you can observe and document the interaction between law enforcement and the people at rallies and protests, spaces that are likely to become increasingly criminalized.”

(From left) Helena Sarber, Stephanie Olszewski, and Stephanie Johanssen

I also met three Global Justice Center Employees. Stephanie Johanssen told me, “I’m a human rights lawyer from Germany and I feel quite passionate about the rule of law being upheld. No matter who the government is, no one, even the president, is above the law.”

Micheleen C. Karnacewicz is a corporate finance lawyer who had to close her practice due to health reasons. She came to the rally to offer her knowledge and experience. “This is about human dignity, human rights, human potential—we all have that,” she told me. “But if we don’t have representation and support, none of us can survive.”

Adan Soltren (right) is a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society, where he is a part of the Attorneys of Color Caucus. “We need all hands on deck to fight for our clients, for our communities, for justice, for the principles our democracy were founded on,” he said.

Jane Sampeur (left), also with the Attorneys of Color Caucus, told me, “Today we are organizing a lawyers’ resistance. We want to make sure that lawyers are participating in the struggle and the resistance to oppose these racist Trump policies. We want to make sure that we’re not leaving our communities hanging. I want to make sure I’m in a position to help protect my community.”

Around 3 PM I headed to Washington Square Park, where strike participants and dissenters of all kinds were partaking in a rally.

Some students linked arms and chanted anti-Trump slogans.

“This is a very integral part of the First Amendment,” said Richard L. Entrup. “When totalitarianism encroaches on us I have the humanistic instinct to rise up.”

“I came out to show my outrage and my disappointment that somebody who is so un-American was elected president,” said Erica Zurer, a retired Brooklynite. “I’m just really sad for the country and I want to register my dissent wherever possible too.”

An easel was set up with free paints to allow demonstrators a different way to express their feelings.

“I try to take part in every way that I possibly can at every occasion. Like all of my colleagues, friends, and family I’m horrified by what has happened and in shock. I think we all need to express ourselves to overturn the tragedy that is happening in our country,” said Amy Yoes, an artist. “We’ll keep going, even though we all have busy lives. I think this is the most important moment of my political life and I think it’s crucial for us to all stand together and defeat this travesty.”

February 14, 2017

FYI: Urgent Appeal From Standing Rock

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 12:43 PM
Subject: FYI: Urgent Appeal From Standing Rock

(Latest news bulletin: Judge rejects Standing Rock request to block Dakota Access pipeline drilling)

Labor for Standing Rock Emergency #NoDAPL Support

No automatic alt text available.

FEB 14, 2017 — Labor for Standing Rock has been asked to recruit skilled volunteers to help clean up Oceti camp and move to higher ground. Please fill out the form at to indicate your skills and availability to help. Water is life!

Appeal from ‘We are calling all able bodied, prepared Water Protectors to the frontlines! Come to camp prepared! The conditions are hazardous and North Dakota State Legislature is passing laws that target Water Protectors! Be prepared for these conditions. Several contingents of US Veterans are on their way back to camp. Join us! We need you now! This is our last stand!’
#NoDAPL #L4SR #MniWiconi

February 8, 2017

FYI: 4-7pm Today: #NoDAPL ! No Dakota Access Pipeline

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Wednesday, February 08, 2017 2:15 PM
Subject: FYI: 4-7pm Today: #NoDAPL ! No Dakota Access Pipeline

Legal observers please!

No Dakota Access Pipeline
Today at 4 PM – 7 PM
Thomas Paine Park (Foley Square)
Worth St, New York, New York 10013


Water Protectors Call for Global Mass Mobilizations as Army Plans to Approve Dakota Access Pipeline (Democracy Now)
On Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday it will greenlight the final phase of construction of the pipeline. Amnesty International called the announcement “an unlawful and appalling violation of human rights.” In recent months, police have launched an escalating and violent crackdown against the resistance at Standing Rock. Last week, more than 70 people were arrested after militarized police raided a new resistance camp set up on historic Sioux treaty land. Among those arrested was award-winning Pueblo journalist Jenni Monet, who was on assignment for Indian Country Media Network.

February 2, 2017

FYI: Two More Events Today: Protest Uber & Labor for Standing Rock

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Thursday, February 02, 2017 10:59 AM
Subject: FYI: Two More Events Today: Protest Uber & Labor for Standing Rock

Thursday, 5-6pm in NYC:
Protest at Uber’s Headquarters NoBanNoWall
Location: 3100 47th Ave, Long Island City, NY
Facebook event page

Join us to protest Uber on the day before Uber CEO Travis Kalanick meets with Donald Trump as part of his advisory council.

**** PLEASE NOTE: We’ve updated the our protest end time to 6 PM so that folks can head over to Foley Square for the Rise Up for #RamarleyGraham protest****

Now is the time for all those who value justice and equality to join together in holding Uber accountable, not only for its complicity with Trump’s hateful policies but also for impoverishing workers.

Backed by billions from Wall Street, gig economy corporations like Uber and Lyft are upending labor standards for which workers have spent centuries fighting.

Let’s send Uber and its gig-lord allies a message: workers’ rights and democracy come before profit. #NoBanNoWall



ALIGN New York

Black Lives Matter Greater New York

Center for Popular Democracy

DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving

Labor for Palestine

Make the Road New York

Muslim Democratic Club

National Lawyers Guild Labor and Employment Law Committee

New York Communities for Change

New York Immigrant Action Fund

New York Immigration Coalition

New York Progressive Action Committee

New York Taxi Workers Alliance

New York Worker Center Federation

New York Working Families Party

Strong Economy for All


Thursday 8-9pm EST:
Urgent Labor for Standing Rock Conference Call with Water Protectors 

In recent days, Donald Trump has met with pro-DAPL building trade leaders and AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, and pressured the Army Corps of Engineers to grant a final easement for DAPL. Today, highly militarized police made mass arrests of 76 water protectors.

In response, Chase Iron Eyes of the Lakota People’s Law Project and Last Real Indians will speak about what those of us in organized labor can do at this point to support water protectors at Standing Rock.

Call times in US/Eastern: Thursday, Feb 02, 2017, 8pm (1 hour). To participate, please register here.


November 17, 2016

FYI: How We Can Stand With Standing Rock

From: Letwin, Michael
Date: Thu, Nov 17, 2016 at 12:31 PM
Subject: FYI: How We Can Stand With Standing Rock

Despite brutal state violence so familiar to NYC communities of color, Water Protectors at Standing Rock are continuing to engage in nonviolent mass resistance against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) on Sioux treaty land.

As the harsh northern winter sets in (with temperatures plummeting into the teens this week), here are some ways that each of us at Legal Aid can help:

  • Sign the Urgent Call on the AFL-CIO: Reverse Support for the Dakota Access Pipeline (14k+ signers and rising).
  • Join, or donate to, the NYC labor/community delegation going next week to build a winterized camp and deliver a vehicle to Standing Rock for sustained solidarity.
  • Donate and/or offer legal assistance to the Water Protector Legal Collective/NLG, a nonprofit organization coordinating criminal and civil litigation for water protectors in Standing Rock, in partnership with the National Lawyers Guild.

October 25, 2016

From Labor for Standing Rock: Urgent Mobilization This Weekend

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 5:02 PM
Subject: From Labor for Standing Rock: Urgent Mobilization This Weekend

Pipeline arrest

During the past few days, highly-militarized police in North Dakota have escalated brutality and arrests against Native American opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

To demand an end to this growing repression, defend indigenous rights, and stop DAPL, Labor for Standing Rock has called Union Camp this weekend (October 29-30) at Standing Rock.

To support this historic campaign, please:

*Sign Urgent Call on the AFL-CIO: Reverse Support for the Dakota Access Pipeline
*RSVP Union Camp and like Labor for Standing Rock on Facebook
*Contribute to Labor for Standing Rock

For more info:

Next Page »

Blog at