Our Roots

Staying on freedom and justice...

The Center for Law and Social Justice (CLSJ) came into being to address the escalation of police killings in our community.


Hundreds of Blacks and Latinos fell victim to police harassment, beatings, killings, and unjustified incarcerations. The impunity of the police outraged the community.

The Community Response

One of many responses to this brutality came from a group of activists attorneys: Michael Warren, Alton Maddox, C. Vernon Mason and Esmeralda Simmons; the Revs. Herbert Daughtry and Timothy Mitchell and Father Lawrence Lucas; and community activists: Dave Walker and Jitu Weusi.

They agreed to develop an institution committed to the lawful resistance of police brutality and advocated for its creation. Assemblyman Roger Green, along with his then chief of staff, Adeyemi Bandele, provided the initial funds from the New York state budget which made the Center for Law and Social Justice a reality in 1986.

Our Beginning

The Center for Law and Social Justice (CLSJ) was established as a unit of Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York. Founded in 1986 by means of a New York State legislative grant, the mission of CLSJ is to provide quality advocacy, conduct research, and advocacy training services to people of African descent and the disenfranchised. CLSJ seeks to accomplish its mission by conducting research, and initiating public policy advocacy projects and litigation which promote civil and human rights, and national and international understanding on behalf of community organizations and groups of people of African descent and the disenfranchised. Because of its unique combination of advocacy services from a community-based perspective, CLSJ is a focal point for progressive activity.



Since its inception, the Center's staff has consisted of activists/professionals from all walks of life. Their blend is unique in that they embodied the spirit and aspiration of the people we serve.

CLSJ is a unit in the School of Professional and Community Development at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York.

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