Over 400 members, supporters and friends celebrated Champions of Justice Alan Schlosser and Bobbie Stein, Unsung Hero Rachel Lederman, and Partners in Liberation the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee, this past weekend in Oakland.
Alan and Bobbie have teamed up before as co-counsel in 2003 as part of the legal team that forced the Oakland Police Department to implement sweeping reforms to end the use of "less lethal weapons" after the indiscriminate use of wooden bullets, rubber bullets, tasers, and pepper spray had been unleashed on anti-war protesters at the Port of Oakland.
Both Bobbie and Alan have been leaders of the National Lawyers Guild as well as leading civil liberties lawyers. Alan was an NLG Regional Vice President and a full time NLG organizer back in the Seventies, organizing defense committees for Wounded Knee and Attica activists. Bobbie was our Chapter President in 1991. She has served on the Executive Board and a host of committees throughout the years, promoting the Guild's criminal justice work as well as laying the ground work for the Demonstrations Committee, which provides legal support for political protesters. She received the chapter's Unsung Hero Award at the 1990 Testimonial Dinner.
In addition to their NLG work, both Alan and Bobbie have had outstanding careers defending the rights of protesters, criminal defendants, immigrants, and the homeless. Alan came to the Bay Area in 1976, after working for the United Farm Workers, AFL-CIO. He has been Staff Counsel, Managing Attorney, and Legal Director at the ACLU Foundation of Northern California, litigating major First Amendment cases protecting the right of privacy and preserving the right to protest in shopping centers, on sidewalks, and in the streets. The commemorative journal will detail some of these landmark cases. Several of his landmark cases also protected the rights of immigrants from detention and arrest in factory raids ("The Molders Case") and the rights of pretrial detainees to be free of unreasonable jailhouse monitoring of conversations. Like Bobbie, he challenged San Francisco's attack on the homeless with its "Matrix" program. Alan has inspired a generation of law students while teaching at USF, Brooklyn, and Columbia law schools and while supervising interns and young lawyers at the ACLU.
Bobbie has been on the front lines of protecting the rights of protesters, by organizing the defense of demonstrators, suing the police, drafting police crowd control manuals, and training other lawyers to take on the massive defense efforts for anti-war demonstrators. Through her skillful and creative legal motion work, Bobbie has successfully ended the prosecutions of literally thousands of demonstrators and homeless people. Many more Bay Area activists owe their acquittals to Bobbie and the cadre of lawyers that she has organized and trained to work on their behalf. Bobbie has also inspired a generation of law students while teaching at New College, JFK, and Boalt Hall (UC-Berkeley). In addition, Bobbie has maintained a private criminal defense law practice while continuing to protect demonstrators' rights. She frequently writes about criminal justice issues for both local and national publications.
Unsung Hero Rachel Lederman
Rachel Lederman has been active in the Guild for more than twenty years, building the demonstrations work as one of the chapter's main programs. Rachel was also instrumental in setting up the Post-9/11 Hotline and creating Know Your Rights materials. Working with colleagues such as Bobbie Stein, Alan Schlosser (who the chapter is honoring as well) and Dennis Cunningham, she has represented thousands of activists in criminal proceedings, and in several civil rights actions that have impacted police practices and helped preserve the space for dissent.
Partners in Liberation San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee
The San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee is a growing alliance of immigrant rights advocates, labor groups, faith leaders, youth advocates, and LGBT activists. The Committee has been a leader in building a movement to support the opting out of "Secure Communities" and opposing policies that refer immigrant youth to Immigration and Customs Enforcement without a court hearing.