Mass Defense Committee Update: Straight Pride Protest and the Fight for Immigrant Rights

This will not be the most artful update, because I am trying to write it between 1000 other tasks. But I wanted our membership to know about the incredible work of the Mass Defense Committee in the last month. 
As folks probably know, there were over 30 people arrested demonstrating against the far-right “Straight Pride” event. The NLG along with a partnership with MACDL secured representation for every single activist that wanted representation from us. A number of the cases have already resolved favorably, but there are approximately 10 cases that are still being litigated. As everyone at this point is well aware, we were up against an incredibly antagonistic judge who made multiple rulings that were at odds with any sense of justice, and which clearly were designed to intimidate our clients and their lawyers. This culminated in the holding of Susan Church on allegations of contempt for zealously representing her client. The MDC is proud to be representing these activists, and is exploring additional strategies to address the horrendous behavior those two days by Judge Richard Sinnott. The MDC is also working with a coalition of LGBTQ groups to address the violence perpetrated by the Boston Police that day.
Right on the heels of Straight Pride, our movement partners at Cosecha and the Never Again Coalition have been busy fighting for immigrant rights. The Never Again coalition had an awesome action at the headquarters of Amazon protesting their  cooperation with ICE and profiteering off the caging of our immigrant brothers and sisters. 13 activists were arrested and represented by Lee Goldstein. Those charges were dismissed. MDC has done two know your rights trainings for this coalition in the last month. 
There was also a week long camp-out outside the State House as part of the fight to get driver’s licenses for all residents of Massachusetts. The MDC was on call for that action. This culminated in a sit in at Speaker DeLeo’s office, where 13 people were arrested and represented again by Lee Goldstein. Those charges were also all dismissed. 
In addition, activists fighting a pipeline carrying fracked gas through Weymouth had a protest at the DEP, where one activist was arrested. Andy Fischer represented this person and those charges were dismissed. 
Lastly, I am really excited that NLG helped out with an amazing march and rally put on by the Boston Users Union (BUU). BUU is a group of drug users and former drug users, along with allies in the medical field and other activists, who have come together in response to the horrifically repressive activities of the City of Boston as part of Operation Clean Sweep. They are fighting for an end to the War on Drugs, an adoption of Harm Reduction policies like safe consumption sites, decriminalization of drugs, and a humane approach to addressing substance use disorder. It was super inspiring to watch this group marching down Mass Ave. and demanding that drug policy be informed by drug users and their allies, instead of by hysteria and public opinion. 
Until next time
See you in the streets…or in court
Written by Makis Antzoulatos