Emceed by Victoria Burton-Harris.
Musical performances by artists who are also
Detroit Will Breathe organizers.
HONOREE: The amazing Detroit Will Breathe is an organization and movement formed on the streets of Detroit this past summer. Detroit Will Breathe is waging powerful, collective, and persistent struggle against police brutality, racism, and systemic inequality.
UNSUNG HERO: Michigan Liberation is building empowering and dynamic campaigns to end the criminalization of Black families and communities of color throughout Michigan. In 2020, in addition to working for the release of people imprisoned during the COVID pandemic, MI Liberation organized Street and Jail Teams which provided extraordinary support to the movement for Black lives - every day and night with the marches on the streets, and at the jails, for hundreds of arrested protesters. And anytime, its Mental Health Team has been available for activists dealing with pain and trauma.
OUTSTANDING LAW STUDENT HONOREES
(WSU Law School)
STUDENT HONOREE, Lauren Pereny
As a brand new 1L, I did not know many lawyers and had no idea what kind of law I wanted to practice. I did know, however, that I wanted to surround myself with people who shared similar beliefs and do work that aligned with my values. I learned quickly that most law students do not see the law as a tool to help the most vulnerable among us, but as a way to wield power. The Wayne Law chapter of the NLG was the place where I found solace from the often-competitive environment of law school and had the empowering opportunity to further causes that are important to me.
STUDENT HONOREE, McKenna Thayer
I joined the NLG because law school wasn’t teaching me how to be a radical lawyer (quite the opposite, actually). The NLG is the community I had been searching for, and I’m thankful to be a part of it as I figure out where I can best help support the movement for liberation and abolition. I will probably work as a public defender after graduation, but hope to continue the work that the NLG is doing no matter where I end up. I know that as long as I’m fighting with the NLG, I’m fighting on the right side.
STUDENT HONOREE, Emily VanBarr
I joined the National Lawyers Guild after I watched the police beat a young man two feet from me at a protest. I had attended protests before law school, but I had never witnessed such severe police brutality. As a law student, I wanted to use my legal education in any way I could to advance the movement, so I joined the Guild to volunteer as a legal observer and then as an arrestee caller and hotline volunteer. I hope to continue working as an advocate during my internship this summer with the State Appellate Defender Office of Michigan and in my future career.
STUDENT HONOREE, Davi Lebow
I chose to attend law school because I ultimately wanted to help people who are rendered powerless and disenfranchised by our society's institutions, particularly the carceral system and the capitalization of basic survival. It is for this reason that one of the first things I did upon starting law school was to join Wayne State's chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and the Detroit chapter. My goal is to work in criminal defense and hopefully work as a public defender after law school.
STUDENT HONOREE, Brandon Wright
I read the Dis-Orientation Manual before law school and knew I had found my people. I was hesitant to go to law school because I didn’t want to lose my radical imagination (or carry water for ineffectual liberals). The Guild assured me that, while law school is a strong space of indoctrination, radical students can always find allies in the struggle. I hope to join my Guild allies in labor, employment, and immigration law, shaking up those contingent arrangements which have been thrust upon us as second nature.