80 years of meaningful social change in the Bay Area.
For over 80 years, the National Lawyers Guild has served as the legal arm of movements leading the fight for meaningful social change in the United States. As a progressive and leftist legal organization, the NLG has represented and defended activists in the courtrooms and on the streets.
In these highly charged political times, the work of the Guild has never been more urgent. From attacks on our most marginalized communities to an escalating effort to suppress dissent, the need for progressive resistance – and protections for those who choose to resist – is dire.
The San Francisco / Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLGSF) has met this need for the past 50 years. Our chapter has played a significant role in supporting the resurgence of social movements demanding racial and economic justice in the Bay Area. With a membership of over 700 progressive law students, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers and attorneys, NLGSF is the largest NLG chapter in the country.
If you would like NLGSF to endorse your action or campaign, please email Sara Kershnar, Interim Executive Director, at email@example.com.
NLGSF Chapter Specifics
Interim Executive Director
After her father tested positive for HIV, Sara became involved in ACT-UP and started a life-long commitment to social justice activism and organizing. Sara has a background in reducing drug-related harm, transformative justice, prisoner solidarity and anti-racist organizing. She was part of building two youth centers – Youth Uprising in East Oakland and RYSE Center in Richmond. Sara has been involved in the NLG-SF for over a decade as a Board member and legal worker. She’s a founder of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and GenerationFIVE (an organization committed to preventing and responding to child sexual abuse through transformative justice approaches). Sara is a queer mother of a five-year old.
Sara has relied on the National Lawyers Guild across her activist work and is deeply committed to its role in defending activism and organizing towards humanity, liberation, environmental justice and self-determination.
Eliana came into political organizing through their role as a full spectrum doula doing reproductive justice work with pregnant people who were incarcerated. Eliana has dedicated their life as a queer politicized healer and organizer to revealing the ways our bodies are impacted by trauma and oppression with a particular focus on Jewish intergenerational trauma. They have been a core member of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and are committed to disrupting the Zionist narrative that perpetuates the colonization of Palestine and erases radical Jewish histories of anti-fascism, internationalism, and joint struggle.
Through being raised by civil rights lawyers, and participating in movements for social and ecological justice, they come to the National Lawyers Guild with a deep knowing of the importance of legal defense as part of the resilience and power of our movements.
Immigration Justice Director
April’s work to defend and expand immigration rights has focused on freeing people from immigrant prisons (aka ICE detention). From helping prepare folx at the border before they enter the U.S., to fighting for their release from detention through legal means and community organizing, to coordinating support for communities after release, April aims to support people individually in their journeys as well as to move U.S. immigration to be a more just system of welcoming people from our international community.
Earlier in her career, April collaborated with multiple organizations to combat poverty through microfinance, and to increase the coordination of health and human services for the unsheltered. The child of two immigrants, April earned a Master degree in Public Policy with a focus on nonprofit management and international development from UCLA and a bachelor’s in Ethnomusicology and Biology from Tufts University.
Hasmik Geghamyan has been part of the National Lawyers Guild for over a decade and has held various leadership roles within the organization. Hasmik is a community lawyer committed to social and economic justice, and believes that a cross-functional model of activism, policy, organizing, and law can be effectively used to build an ecological society. Hasmik also teaches Political Science at Peralta CCD’s College of Alameda.
Santa Rita Jail Hotline Coordinator
Lina García helps to coordinate a weekly, volunteer-run support effort at Santa Rita Jail. This jail support project was originally conceived as a response to the jail’s practice of late night releases, with volunteers providing free food, phone calls, housing resources, and transportation to BART in the window of time between the last county bus (9pm) and the last BART train (1am). As this project evolved, Lina and other volunteers began working in coordination with attorneys as investigators for conditions litigation. Prisoners in Santa Rita Jail organized a work and hunger strike in November 2019, and issued a collectively-written grievance regarding the jail’s “crisis-level” conditions and forced labor practices. Lina now compiles prisoners’ testimony and opinion for a monthly Santa Rita news bulletin, which was inspired by, and works to support these collective actions. She is also a member of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, with whom she visits CCWP members incarcerated at Central California Women’s Facility.
Are you a community activist?
Get support for your action through NLGSF!
James Burch, President
KellyLou Densmore, Vice President
Hasmik Geghamyan, Secretary
Debra Murov, Treasurer
Karen Jo Koonan