Lipou Laliemthavisay’s Experience at the 2023 NLG-Mass Testimonial Dinner

For the love of people over property —this is why I joined the NLG and collaborated with friends to start the student chapter of the NLG at Roger Williams University School of Law back in 2011.  I was warmly reminded of this sacred truth at this year’s NLG Testimonial Dinner and I felt my fire reignited by the dedicated comrades who were honored, and by everyone else who was there to celebrate the warriors. 

Law students Ruchi Ramamurthy & Nick Adams were recognized for their tenacious fight for reproductive justice and workers’ rights just to name a couple.  Extinction Rebellion (XR) was honored with the Legal Worker award for their “disruptive protests to raise awareness of the urgency around climate crisis – they even put up a big sign to cover the CITGO sign on a night when there was a game at Fenway!  Housing Practice Group of Massachusetts Law Reform Initiative received the Rob Doyle Award – very fitting because both Rob Doyle and the MLRI Housing Practice Group fought the machines that oppress those in living in poverty.  The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Ron Fox, who throughout his 60-year legal career has made it his goal to work for the people, whether it be in divorce mediation, supporting Palestinian human rights or advising dissatisfied lawyers.  And last, but certainly not least, my friends, mentors and colleagues Makis Antzoulatos & Josh Raisler Cohn received the Lawyer Awards for being the beasts they are in both capacities as NLG Mass Defense Committee Coordinators and Defenders!

Emcees Jennifer Stewart (recent winner in state rep election against incumbent in Pawtucket, RI!) and my mentor and friend, Benjamin Evans kept the crowd engaged with their wit and challenging trivia questions about activists from years past born on May 19th. They also managed to garner donations from several tables including ours – the Massachusetts Bail Fund!

This year, the Dinner was held at the Arts at the Armory in Somerville, MA, the original homeland of the Pawtucket peoples.  For many in the room, including myself, this was the first Guild gathering they’d attended since before the pandemic, and the vibe was pretty chill.  Friends and family from near and far enjoyed a spread of nourishment from fruit and cheese spread, salad, cooked and roasted vegetables, chicken, salmon, rice and beans & macNcheese.  Dessert and coffee/tea were available, of course!  I can’t wait to see all the pictures taken!!

If you missed this year but wonder if you can still show love and support, the MA Chapter of the NLG welcomes donations of any amount.  And if you can, join the dinner next year – I am sure it will be a night to remember!  

I’m so glad I made it this year and congrats again to the warriors recognized this year – you’re all truly inspirational!

Lipou Laliemthavisay