Sherrilyn Ifill Profile picture
President & Director-Counsel of LDF (NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund), the nation's premier civil rights law organization. Tweets are my own.
SocialMediaWarriorForABlueAmerica Profile picture eDo Profile picture Oy Vey Profile picture Liz Profile picture Becky Werner Profile picture 25 added to My Authors
19 Sep
So many GOP Senators are on record standing against the precise thing the President & Majority leader wants them to do today. Every journalist (& their concerned constituents) should confront them with their own words. Here’s Sen. Cory Gardner in 2016:…
Mother Jones has a great compilation. Here’s Rubio:…
Read 5 tweets
7 Sep
In the 1930s it was understood that if a Black man was accused of a violent crime against a white person on the Eastern Shore of MD, local officials would need to get him to this Baltimore City jail to keep him from being lynched.…
Euel Lee narrowly missed being lynched in Worcester County in 1931 by being taken to the Baltimore City jail. Same for George Davis. Lynchers looked for him across 4 counties on the Eastern Shore in 1932.
George Armwood was taken to the Baltimore City jail for “safekeeping” after being accused of a violent crime against a white person. Here he is in the custody of a state police ofcr. He was returned to the local jail on the Eastern Shore the next day.
Read 9 tweets
6 Sep
The attack on CRT is vindication for those white men who felt forever displaced & destabilized in the 80s & early 90s in the legal academy by CRT’s exposure of the “master narratives” the dominated lgl theory and practice & that had held them in power.…
Since thisAdministration is determined to right every perceived “wrong” that resulted in Black ppl infiltrating powerful institutions (see affirmative action attack on Yale) I’m not surprised. Key here however is the attack on “anti-racism” training.
The “reveal” here (to use @KhalilGMuhammad’s term) is that this Admin rejects the very concept of racism. They don’t accept systemic racism (see Bill Barr interview); bad apples racism (see defense of Rittenhouse & “fine ppl on both sides”); & now they reject implicit bias.
Read 4 tweets
31 Aug
I feel like every year I’m compelled to do this thread. But here we go again.
Which days were these? When Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing license for refusing to go to Vietnam? When Jackie Robinson & Larry Doby broke the color line? When Hank Aaron endured death threats b/c he beat Babe Ruth’s homerun record?...…
Maybe when Jesse Owens, the most decorated American athlete of the 1936 Olympics who faced down Nazis to win at track & field, was not allowed to go visit FDR with the white Olympic athletes when they returned home?…
Read 11 tweets
26 Aug
Melania wants to say a word to America’s mothers..... 1/
Speak into the mic please...…
Read 11 tweets
16 Aug
IMPORTANT: I see ppl who want to help saying they will hand deliver the completed absentee ballots of others to the Board of Elections. Please DO NOT do this unless you’ve checked the law of your state. Many have restrictions on who can hand return an absentee ballot to the Bd.
In Louisiana, for example, it has to be the voter or a family member.
“Only the voter or the voter’s near relative” in North Carolina.…
Read 5 tweets
15 Aug
If you haven’t called or tweeted at or visited yr Senator abt the #USPS since we started asking in May; or joined a march; or ordered yr absentee ballot online; or volunteered as a poll worker or poll watcher; or signed a petition; or decided to help register voters.....
Stop asking what you should do. Start with one or more of those things. We’re litigating every day to expand voting opportunity; pushing Members of Congress & local election bds; signing up poll watching volunteers; and sharing information. Learn more at…
We are determined that Black voters will be able to vote safely & everyvote counted. If you see or hear of voting issues or see mailboxes being removed in yr community contact us at Or call the civil rights coalition Election Protection hotline 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
Read 4 tweets
11 Aug
I have a lot of work to do tonight, but this warrants a THREAD. The obscenely distorted narrative that white people embraced civil rights leaders during the Civil Rights Movement, and activists today are just “doing it wrong” must be challenged.
Here’s Harry & his wife Harriette Moore. Mr. Moore was head of the state NAACP in FL. He organized against the wrongful conviction of 3 young Black men & killing of one by a racist local Sheriff. On Christmas Eve in 1951 racists bombed Moore’s home killing Moore and his wife.
In 1961 John Lewis and James Zwerg were savagely beaten by white racists in Alabama when they participated in the Freedom Rides, a non-violent campaign against segregation in public accommodation.
Read 13 tweets
28 Jul
It's clear from his opening statement that Barr hopes to spend today talking abt so-called "Black-on-Black crime" and "respect for police." The Committee shouldn't let him use these Admin talking pts. We have real questions & need answers abt the DOJ under his leadership.
He needs to account for the DOJ's failures in investigating discriminatory policing; what actions the DOJ is undertaking to address the rash of white supremacists driving cars into protests; the attack on the family & home of a Latina judge by white supremacists.
Barr's co-signing of Trump's misleading comments about mail-in voting. The failure of the DOJ to bring cases challenging violations of the Voting Rights Act. The Dept's filing of statement of interests in opposition to affirmative action in multiple cases.
Read 9 tweets
23 Jul
This seems like an overstatement. There are no provisions in the decree that require particular levels of funding. And the decree calls for an assessment of BPD mental health responses & commands that BPD “establish a policy for least police-involved response” to crises.
He may be conflating “abolish” with “defunding” and may not have a clear sense of how aspects of defunding proposals may be quite consistent w/elements of the decree. Yes the City is bound to pay for the training & reforms reqd by the decree, but that leaves a lot of room.
The decree does not mandate the size of the force. Nor does it cover school police (and there is an active & important effort by activists to change state law to remove police from schools in Maryland as part of the “defund” movement).
Read 5 tweets
13 Jul
I'm offended because you are the Surgeon General of the U.S. and your harkening back to when "doctors" recommended leeches and using discrimination against Black ppl as an excuse for not offering sound medical advice is embarrassing. Just do your job.
You should be speaking directly to our community; offering the clear counsel that we should wear masks. But most importantly, you should be saying - w/o fear or equivocation -that EVERYONE should be wearing masks. And that we should demand & expect equal treatment in enforcement.
Where is your voice when we see white ppl becoming violent when requested to wear masks in stores? Or at the polls in Louisiana on Sat. when poll workers mocked Black voters who asked the poll workers to don masks. Do your job as a medical professional.
Read 4 tweets
9 Jul
Cooper is a victim. He gets to decide how he will participate.Doesn’t change the obligation of the state to charge this case. Amy Cooper sought to weaponize the power of the state against a Black man w/the hope he would be harmed. Charging -even conviction-doesn’t mean jail time.
If he had been harmed by the NYPD, I cannot believe we would be having a discussion abt abolition for the ofcrs. When a private white person deliberately & falsely works to unleash the violent racism of the state in this way against a private person it should be charged.
Again, conviction and punishment are another story. And punishment is where we should ensure we do not contribute to the worst, most ineffective and most inhumane aspects of the carceral state.
Read 4 tweets
24 Jun
In 2004 there was ugly opposition to a plan to erect a statue of Frederick Douglass outside the Talbot Cty courthouse in MD. White residents claimed the space was reserved to honor soldiers who risked their lives for our country. But what of the monument to Confederate soldiers?
White veterans' groups called the courthouse lawn "hallowed ground." Black community members argued that Frederick Douglass who was enslaved in Talbot deserved to be honored in that space. Indeed after he was free he returned & met w/the official who had once held him in jail.
I posed a different question. Who decided the courthouse lawn was hallowed ground? Why should a monument to Confederate soldiers who fought against our country be there? But more importantly, what of the 1919 attempt by more than 1,000 white ppl to lynch Isaiah Fountain there?
Read 6 tweets
14 Jun
In the video, I see a man literally fighting and then running for his life. The ofcr, I can tell you now, will say he felt that #RayshardBrooks was a threat to his life and to others. I know this b/c this has proved so effective for ofcrs who kill innocent Black ppl. Here’s why.
I literally woke up this morning thinking about #RayshardBrooks and abt Tennessee v Garner, the 1985 case in which the SCOTUS made clear that ofcrs cannot shoot and kill a fleeing suspect unless the suspect poses a threat to the ofcr or to others.…
Some subsequent cases have refined this but it is still the law. So why do so many ofcrs do it and get away with it? Because in a country steeped in racist stereotypes and narratives about Black men, the word “threat” does all the work.
Read 12 tweets
31 May
A THREAD on this tweet released by DOJ yesterday. I presume they think it shows an AG hard at work. But on a day when the country was fracturing amid protests over racism & police violence, the photo is a reminder of the absence of civil rts leadership in this DOJ. By contrast..
In 2014 while protests continued in Ferguson after #MikeBrown, an unarmed teenager was killed by police ofcr Darren Wilson, then Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson, meeting with community groups and local law enforcement to signal the dept’s engagement.
Similarly, in 2015 Attorney General Loretta Lynch visited #Baltimore to meet with the family of #FreddieGray, community groups, civic leaders and local law enforcement.
Read 6 tweets
29 May
On @NewsHour @JudyWoodruff expresses frustration and asks what can be done to bring change to policing. Let's be clear that we had just begun to make steps on the long path to change when Trump came in and Sessions & then Barr removed the DOJ as leader in pushing that change.
Instead the President announced a new day - in his rhetoric giving aid & comfort to the kind of brutal policing Pres. Obama rejected. Sessions & then Barr ceased pattern & practice investigations. President Obama's 21st Century Policing Rpt is collecting dust on a DOJ shelf.
The DOJ can powerfully shape policing in this country b/c they give our billions in grants to local police departments. The Minneapolis has received $6.4 million from the DOJ COPS program since 2009. In short, the feds have abandoned any role in policing reform.
Read 5 tweets
27 May
It’s morning and we need some answers from @MayorFrey about the use of tear gas, flash bombs and rubber bullets by police in Minneapolis last night. Yesterday we welcomed clear talk & swift action in response to the video of the killing of #GeorgeFloyd. We need the same today.
Read 4 tweets
14 May
So I’ve just had an opportunity to watch. And my first reaction is absolute revulsion for how much time and credit and air has been given the desperate attempt to discredit this important project. It’s actually astounding and embarrassing.
I cannot believe that so many of us have sat since grade school under an historical account of America that has glossed over the many atrocities that have been a major part of the project of creating this country. And that this project, THIS PROJECT, produces a backlash in 2020.
The need to bring down the majesty of this project so viciously, & the willingness of so many to give a platform to critics whose own work is characterized by glaring omissions in their account of the complex history of this country is so disappointing.
Read 6 tweets
13 May
Love this Filipino/a-Chicano/a connection in the farmworkers’ strike in California. And important to learn about the prominent role of the Filipino labor movement in a mvmt many of us associate solely w/Mexican-Americans. #AsianAmPBS
This segment on Asian Americans who enlisted in the army and were sent to Vietnam is painful. #AsianAmPBS
If you don’t know about Asian immigrant Exclusion Acts you cannot understand immigration or how 19th & 20the century America was constructed. #AsianAmPBS
Read 5 tweets
13 May
On moving into Levittown in NJ: “ours was the third Levittown. The first two were all white.” - @HelenZiaReal #AsianAmPBS
“We were literally perceived as the enemy.” @HelenZiaReal on how her family was perceived in Levittown during the height of the anti-Communist “Red Scare” of the 1950s.
Read 6 tweets
2 May
“Today the USPS comprises nearly a quarter of the entire federal workforce. Nearly half of its...workforce are people of color. They handle....nearly half of all the mail in the entire world.” #SaveTheUSPS…
Postal workers are on the front line. Everyone remembers 9/11, but do ppl remember when two postal workers died in the anthrax mail attacks a month later?…
What communities will suffer most if they lose USPS mail delivery? Rural communities.…
Read 11 tweets