Our next Justice Initiative Saturday Session will be held on this Saturday March 25th, 2023. 

The session will bring many of this year’s Justice Initiative themes and lessons to examine the repression and resistance unfolding in Atlanta around Cop City.

The session will bring together a remarkable group of activists, organizers, and lawyers who will teach us about the role that lawyers and law play in producing and resisting the urgent ongoing injustices associated with “Cop City.”  They will unearth the roots of that crisis, describe the organized resistance to it, explore what it all reveals about our system, and consider what it means for justice-centered law students and lawyers.

Here are speaker bios and some related video links:

Kamau Franklin: Founder of Community Movement Builders, Inc.

Kamau has been a dedicated community organizer for over thirty years, beginning in New York City and now based in Atlanta. For 18 of those years, Kamau was a leading member of a national grassroots organization dedicated to the ideas of self-determination and the teachings of Malcolm X. He has spearheaded organizing work in various areas including youth organizing and development, police misconduct, and the development of sustainable urban communities. Kamau has coordinated and led community cop-watch programs, liberation/freedom schools for youth, electoral and policy campaigns, large-scale community gardens, organizing collectives and alternatives to incarceration programs. Kamau was an attorney for ten years in New York with his own practice in criminal, civil rights and transactional law. He now lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and two children.

Andrew Free: Founder of #DetentionKills

Andrew Free is an Atlanta-based lawyer, researcher, writer, teacher, advocate, and strategy consultant. He founded #DetentionKills, a transnational abolitionist project formed to support families and communities affected by deaths in DHS custody by organizing people in motion to demand transparency, accountability, and decarceration. He served as class counsel for more than a hundred thousand current and formerly detained immigrant workers challenging involuntary work for unjust pay in ICE detention facilities. He is a 2010 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School and a 2004 graduate of Kennesaw State University.

Micah HerskindMicah is an organizer, policy advocate, and writer based in Atlanta, GA.

The Rev. Mekko Chebon Kernell

The Rev. Kernell, an ordained Elder in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, is formerly the executive secretary of Native American and Indigenous Ministries for the denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries. In this role, he has worked with the World Council of Churches, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops assisting in a denominationally mandated effort to improve relationships with Indigenous communities through dialogue, study and local or regional acts of repentance acknowledging harms inflicted upon Indigenous communities.

Lauren Regan, Civil Liberties Defense Center, Executive Director & Senior Staff Attorney

After five years of public interest environmental law, Lauren Regan went on to create the Civil Liberties Defense Center and is currently the executive director and senior staff attorney. Over the past 18 years, Lauren and CLDC have defended over 4,000 activists from around the country for free. Lauren is a national expert in the defense of political activists, particularly those engaged in the climate, environmental, indigenous and animal rights movements. She is a trial lawyer who handles state and federal criminal defense, SLAPP defense, grand jury resistance, and federal civil rights litigation against police and government agencies for violating the rights of activists and organizations. Lauren and CLDC provide over 100 Know Your Rights trainings a year to activists, immigrants, and other at risk groups. Lauren is also an Oregon State Bar leadership fellow, a volunteer Teen Court judge, and has been given dozens of public interest attorney awards over more than two decades of activist lawyering. She is always mentoring law students and new attorneys, and trains and co-counsels others lawyers to use their legal skills to support lefty causes.

Sample of Videos about “Stop Cop City” (note: some of these videos discuss police violence, including a deadly police shooting):

Justice Initiative Saturday Session Basic Information -- Repeating the text on the page