The Southern Center for Human Rights through our new First Amendment Lawyer Bridge by working to ensure that Georgians who express dissent are protected from criminalization. The Bridge project, housed within SCHR’s Public Policy Unit, will support the expansion and maintenance of mass protester support infrastructure in Atlanta. For years, SCHR has collaborated with community organizations to support criminalized protesters and defend protesters’ first amendment right to freedom of expression and dissent, and now SCHR is working with partners to formalize and maintain a robust protester support infrastructure that will challenge repression for as long as it exists. This is especially important in light of extreme escalation from state actors related to the movement to stop Cop City.
SCHR is staffing the project with a Fellow who will work to refine, support, and expand existing systems for recruiting and pairing attorneys with criminalized protesters and provide technical and logistical assistance related to the representation of protesters. The Bridge will support attorneys by providing access to information that supports their effective representation of their clients, including information about relevant training, correctional facility practices and court management processes. The Bridge will support the community by creating public education materials and events and coordinating with local and national legal organizations and grassroots organizers as they use their skills and networks to protect dissent.