NLG-Mass Chapter Summer Retreat 2019

On Saturday, July 13thNLG-Mass Chapter members gathered at the Old Oak Dojo in Jamaica Plain to discuss the present state and future trajectory of the Chapter. In addition to Guild members, several community organizers also came and presented their goals and hopes in continuing to work with the Guild. Those included: Kayla Degala Paraiso of Matahari Women Workers Center, Heide Solbrig of BIJAN (Boston Immigrant Justice Network), Mallory Hanora of Families for Justice as Healing, Olivia Dubois of MassPower and Mario Paredes  of Centro Presente 

Over the course of the discussion, three main issues were brought to the table: criminal law reform, the fight against ICE and for the rights of immigrants, and the need for increased communication with student NLG chapters and membership building therein.  Ultimately, plans for action were drawn up and presented for consideration.  

In addressing criminal law reform, it was concluded that a need for more direct involvement with organizations fighting for reform was important for progress.  Additionally, establishing connections with lawyers beyond the confines of the Guild’s membership was discussed as a way of bolstering support.  

On the subject of rebuilding and expanding membership amongst college students, a multifaceted effort was proposed and included: a private Facebook group for NLG members to organize and publicize NLG-related meeting and events, member-lead talks at law schools and universities to drive interest, student days hosted by on-campus chapters, potential for co-ops and making efforts to engage with pre-law students, especially students of color.  

Finally, the plan to bolster the continued struggle against ICE was proposed. There was an emphasis placed on establishing a rapid response network that immigrants could turn to in times of need as well as a potential early warning system against raids.  Additionally, it was proposed that the Chapter regain a constant presence in the immigration courtroom via Chapter trained Court Observers, as well as reach out to lawyers who would be willing to take part in the intake process at immigration detention centers 

By the end of the meeting, there was a sense of focus and determination that would, without doubt, carry forth into the Chapter’s ongoing fight for the rights of the people.  

Photos by: Urszula Masny-Latos and Roberto Patterson

Summer Retreat

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