It has been three months since George Floyd protests began in North Carolina, and Emancipate NC has worked tirelessly to connect anti-racist protestors arrested to volunteer attorneys across the state. North Carolina has seen protests in almost 100 communities across the state, and Emancipate NC has so far arranged for the pro bono representation of eighty arrested protestors in four different counties.
The Freedom Fighter Bond Fund, another project of Emancipate NC, has posted over $90,000 in bail since the protests began. Between this fund and the more than forty volunteer lawyers which the organization has helped organize, Emancipate NC is working to ensure that financial limitations are never a reason why North Carolinians can’t stand up to injustice and for Black lives.
“Knowing that there are people and resources who are ready to help in case of arrest makes a huge difference,” said Kerwin Pittman, a community organizer for Emancipate NC. “Organizations doing support behind the scenes are what make it possible for all types of activists to get involved in the movement for Black liberation.”
Dawn Blagrove, Emancipate NC Executive Director, is encouraged by the enduring energy of North Carolina’s activists.
“We know that in order for our state to undergo the sort of transformative change it needs, this movement must stretch far beyond this summer and we must fight to protect our constitutional rights,” Blagrove said. “Unfortunately, we’re seeing disturbing behavior intended to chill protest and political speech, from police violence to retaliatory charges against protesters.”
As cities continue to enstate curfews and police continue to arrest protesters, the need for committed volunteer defense attorneys remains.
“We need more attorney volunteers,” Protest Defense Coordinator Amelia O’Rourke-Owens said, “if lawyers are interested in protecting first amendment activities in North Carolina, we could use some extra hands.”
Attorneys interested in volunteering can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.