Special Event: Honoring Ramsey Clark

Thu, September 22, 2016 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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When issues of juridical rights are in flux, when politics is no longer the discourse of governance in pursuit of values of emancipation, justice, and freedom, the color of the time is fog. Instead, a shift towards a militarized paradigm of security, where life and death are the general dynamic of what is at stake, when undervaluing and bankrupting individuals, institutions and entire nations are rewarded achievements of professional labor, the legitimacy of the epoch, its social contract, and the rights of man, its inner psyche, naturally are and must be in question.

Two seasoned veterans of law, civil rights and advocacy will be in conversation together and with the audience to contemplate the culture of our present environment, in an effort to imagine a better future.

Alwan for the Arts honors Ramsey Clark, human rights lawyer, author and former U.S. Attorney General under President Lyndon B. Johnson,with a Lifetime Humanitarian Service Award for his achievements and his support of Arab Americans. Abdeen Jabara, civil rights attorney and former Alwan Board member, will present the honoree.

Doors open at 6:30pm


Ramsey Clark graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1950. Working briefly in private practice, he made his way to the U.S. Department of Justice during the early days of the Kennedy administration. As Assistant Attorney General he was one of the few senior department figures to advocate for a more active role for the Justice Department in protecting civil rights activists. Later, in 1967, under President Johnson, Clark become Attorney General. During his tenure, he supervised the drafting and passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968. He also implemented the Community Relations Service and the Office of Law Enforcement Assistance programs, which emphasized riot prevention and effective police-community relations. Clark defended the right to privacy by denying wiretaps requested under a dubious catchall provision of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and opposed electronic surveillance and refused to authorize an FBI wiretap on Martin Luther King Jr.

Upon leaving office of Attorney General, Clark proceeded to lay out his views on criminal justice in his first book, Crime in America: Observations on Its Nature, Causes, Prevention and Control, where he argued that America needed to address those problems through education and rehabilitation rather than resorting to prisons, which he saw as criminal hothouses that only exacerbated the problem. Clark has widely opposed US military interventions all around the world. In 1991 he led the Coalition to Stop US Intervention in the Middle East which opposed the US-led war and sanctions against Iraq. In 1992 he wrote The Fire This Time: U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf, in which he accused the US of war crimes, condemned the United Nations for its sanctions against Iraq, and criticized the American media for failing to inform the public. In 2013 he led an American anti-war delegation to Syria to protest potential U.S. military action. For over three decades Clark also provided legal representation to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Abdeen Jabara is a civil rights attorney, former president and national vice-chairman of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). He was involved in a groundbreaking court case in the 1970s that forced the National Security Agency (NSA) to acknowledge it had been spying on him since 1967. At the time of the spying, Jabara was a lawyer in Detroit representing Arab-American clients and people targeted by the FBI. The disclosure was the first time the NSA admitted it had spied on an American.

Last updated: 2016-09-20 23:09:08

Ramsey Clark
Ramsey Clark
Abdeen Jabbara
Abdeen Jabbara

Alwan for the Arts

16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
(between Broad St. and Broadway)
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732-3261

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