Plenaries, workshops and panels will explore how legal advocates can work collaboratively with activists and organizers on a range of matters--from defending the civil rights of protesters to drafting transformative local and federal policy to advancing innovative international human rights advocacy strategies. The convening will also surface current legal needs from the ground and start to identify legal strategies and tactics. Finally, the space will stitch together a community of like-minded individuals and build a deeper collective understanding of how legal advocates can build the power of movements.

You will leave this gathering with a clearer sense of pressing legal needs, more confidence about how law can be used to support movements, and new friends and colleagues to inspire you to play a continuing role in this historic movement.


JULY 30 – THURSDAY - Riverside Church - Harlem

6:30 - 9:00 PM        FREEDOM FLICKS - FILM SCREENING & TALK BACK Assembly Hall

Concerning Violence: Nine Scenes from the Anti-Imperialist Self-Defense: Chronicling 9 rending scenes from Africa’s anti-imperialist movements in the 1950s and 1960s, Concerning Violence is based on Frantz Fanon’s enduring essay of the same title from his seminal 1961 publication, The Wretched of the Earth. Narrated by Lauryn Hill, Concerning Violence is a prescient documentary in light of Ferguson, Baltimore, New York and countless other struggles for liberation. It insists we think critically about the change that we want to see and how to achieve it in the face of systemic racism, patriarchy and oppression. Talk back afterward with:

  • Mireille Fanon Mendès-France, Franz Fanon’s daughter & Chief Rapporteur, UN Working Group on People of African Descent
  • Ejim Dike, Executive Director, US Human Rights Network
  • M. Adams, Organizer, Freedom, Inc.

JULY 31- FRIDAY - Riverside Church - Harlem




8:30 - 9:00 AM               REGISTRATION & BREAKFAST South Hall Lobby 

9:00 – 9:30 AM              WELCOME & OPENING South Hall 

9:30 – 11:00 AM             PLENARY: STATE OF OUR MOVEMENTS South Hall 

In this grounding plenary, grassroots organizers from Los Angeles to Ferguson and Madison to New York City will reflect on the current state of the movement, speak to the urgency of building the power of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, share their forecasts of what is likely coming in the next year, and talk about what is needed from radical legal advocates.

  • Tef Poe, Artist/Organizer, Hands Up United
  • Patrisse Cullors, Organizer/Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter
  • Thenjiwe McHarris, Campaign Director, US Human Rights Network/Co-Founder, BlackBird
  • M. Adams, Organizer, Freedom, Inc./Young Black & Gifted Coalition
  • Elle Hearns, Field Coordinator, GetEqual
  • Moderators: Purvi Shah, Bertha Justice Institute Director, Center for Constitutional Rights & Marbre Stahly-Butts, Policy Advocate, Center for Popular Democracy

11:00 – 12:30 PM            CONCURRENT SESSIONS (9 to choose from)

  • Defending the Accused: Radical Approaches to Criminal Defense Room 10T
  • From Civil Rights to Human Rights: International Accountability for Police/State Violence in the U.S. Room 430 MLK
  • Reforming The Police: Movement-Based Litigation & Policy Strategies Room 9T
  • Self Determination: Building Economic Power in the Black Community Room 20T
  • #AllBlackLivesMatter 3rd Floor Chapel
  • Lawyering in Support of Youth Movements South Hall
  • Building Political Power from the Grassroots Multipurpose Room
  • Protecting Activists & Movements From Repression, Surveillance & Retaliation Room 411 MLK
  • Legal Observing For Uprisings Room 423 MLK 

12:30 – 1:30 PM               LUNCH South Hall Lobby

1:30 – 3:30 PM                CONCURRENT SESSIONS (8 to choose from)

  • Movement Lawyering 101: How To Collaborate with Organizers/Activists Room 430 MLK
  • Immigrant, Black & Muslim: Bridging the Gap Between Communities Under Attack 3rd Floor Chapel
  • Building Movement-Based Local Policy Campaigns Room 411 MLK
  • 10 Crimes Our People Can Start Defending Themselves Against Room 20T
  • Rapid Response to Uprisings: Building Jail Support & Legal Observing Systems Room 10T
  • Building a Law Student Movement for #BlackLivesMatter Room 9T
  • Encrypt By Any Means Necessary Room 423 MLK
  • Free Your Body: Recognizing and Releasing Trauma Multipurpose Room 

3:30 – 4:30 PM               IDENTITY CAUCUSES 

In these identity based caucuses participants will get a chance to discuss:  how anti-black racism manifests within the legal community, what real solidarity looks like, and how we can challenge anti-black racism and promote black leadership within the legal community.

  • Black Caucus South Hall
  • People of Color Caucus Room 411 MLK
  • White Caucus Room 9T 


Established in 1968 to serve as the legal arm for Black liberation and to protect the human rights of all African people in the diaspora, the National Conference of Black Lawyers heeded the call of developing unique and unorthodox legal remedies to address the legal, social and economic injustices endured by Black people. This tradition of radical organizing in the black community is far from new; it traces back to the Antebellum period, where the likes of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass helped to spearhead the end of black physical enslavement in this country.  In recent history, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and Black Panther Party, known as the more radical branches of the Civil Rights Movement, took the charge and, under the rubric of Black power, demanded justice, self-reliance and equal rights for all of Black America.

In this plenary, we consider the tradition and contribution of these radical groups to the Black liberation movements in this country and abroad; examine some of the unconventional strategies they used to resist state sanctioned anti-black violence and racism; survey how the #BlackLivesMatter movement can move forward with its mission to oppose the out-right assault and devaluing of Black lives in a world that heralds we live in a post-racial society; and discuss important takeaways that legal practitioners and organizers can use from these approaches of the past. 

  • Moderator: Soffiyah Eliijah, Executive Director, Correctional Association
  • Lennox Hinds, Senior Partner, Stevens, Hinds & White, P.C. 
  • Michael Tarif Warren, Attorney, Central Park Five
  • Elandria Williams, Education Team, Highlander Center
  • Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, Pastor/Organizer/Theologian
  • Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele, Senior Community Organizer, NAACP-LDF/ Organizer, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement           

6:00 – 6:30 PM             CLOSING South Hall

8:00 – 12:00 PM           LAW FOR BLACK LIVES AFTER PARTY MIST Harlem, 46 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026 





10:00 -10:30 AM             OPENING & WELCOME Lerner Hall Auditorium Lobby 

10:30-12:00 NOON         CONCURRENT SESSIONS (10 to choose from)

  • Economics of Police Violence: Police Unions, Private Prisons, Municipal Fees Lerner Hall 555
  • Fighting Mass Incarceration from Inside & Outside Prison Walls Lerner Hall Party Space
  • The Role of Law Schools in the Movement for Black Lives Hamilton Hall 602
  • #HighImpactLowEgo: Leadership Lessons from Black Women Hamilton Hall 517
  • Global Solidarity: Racism & Police/State Violence Around the World Hamilton Hall 702
  • Working While Black: Building the Power of Black Worker Movements Hamilton Hall 717
  • Copwatch Training Hamilton Hall 302
  • Encrypt By Any Means Necessary Hamilton Hall 303
  • Trauma & the Law: Healing for Our Clients, Ourselves & Our Communities Mathematics Hall 203
  • Movement Lawyering 101 - How to Collaborate with Organizers/Activists Mathematics Hall 312 

12:00 -1:00 PM                LUNCH Lerner Auditorium Lobby 

Optional follow up to yesterday’s identity-based caucuses.

  • Black Caucus Lerner Auditorium
  • People of Color Caucus Lerner Hall 555
  • White Caucus Lerner Hall Party Space

1:00 – 2:30PM                 REGIONAL STRATEGY SESSIONS

Participants will have the opportunity to meet with others delegates from their cities/state and work together to assess local needs, map local resources, and develop concrete next steps to advance collaborative strategies/tactics on behalf of local community partners/movements to ensure #BlackLivesMatter.

  • New York Lerner Auditorium
  • New Jersey, Connecticut Hamilton Hall 303
  • Washington DC, Maryland Hamilton Hall 702
  • Washington (state), California Hamilton Hall 302
  • Illinois, Massachusetts Hamilton Hall 717
  • Pennsylvania, Indiana Hamilton Hall 517
  • Texas, Arizona Lerner Hall 573
  • Florida, Louisiana, Virginia, Missouri Lerner Hall 555
  • All other cities/states Lerner Hall Party Space 

2:30 – 2:45 PM                BREAK

2:45 – 4:15 PM                 PLENARY: RAD TALKS Lerner Auditorium 

Closing series of inspiring and radical talks by visionary legal and movement leaders. RadTalks surface radical ideas, deepen radical imagination and inspire radical action. Theme for this series of RadTalks will be "What Is Possible When The Legal Community Stands With Black Lives"

  • Colette Pichon Battle, Executive Director, Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy
  • Vince Warren, Executive Director Center for Constitutional Rights
  • Alicia Garza, Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter/Special Projects Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance
  • Elle Hearns, Field Coordinator, GetEqual
  • Carl Williams, Racial Justice Staff AttorneyACLU of MA
  • Norris Henderson, Executive Director, Voice of the Ex-Offender (V.O.T.E) 
  • Umi Selah fka Phillip Agnew, Organizer and Mission Director, Dream Defenders
  • Maurice Moe Mitchell, Co-Founder Blackbird/ Organizer, Movement for Black Lives

4:15 - 5:30 PM                REFLECTION SESSIONS

Wind down the convening with reflective and intimate conversations with fellow participants about the past two days. This space will provide opportunities to discuss, debate, and debrief the RadTalk visions, your reflections on movements past and present, work/life balance, what inspires you, fears and challenges, and what is next in your personal and political work. 

Group A Lerner Auditorium
Group B Lerner Hall 555
Group C Lerner Hall Party Space
Group D Hamilton Hall 517
Group E Hamilton Hall 602
Group F Hamilton Hall 702
Group G Hamilton Hall 717
Group H Hamilton Hall 302
Group I Hamilton Hall 303
Group J Mathematics Hall 203
Group K Mathematics Hall 312 

5:30 – 5:45 PM              CLOSING CELEBRATION & THANK YOU Lerner Auditorium