Mississippi Protester Support

mississippi protester legal support

Welcome to the Mississippi Protester Legal Support Site! Together with our partners, including Peoples’ Advocacy Institute and Black With No Chaser, Mississippi Center for Justice is here to support Mississippians who are taking action to oppose and transform cultures of injustice in America. We’re doing this in four ways: (1) training Legal Observers; (2) coordinating the work of Legal Observers at demonstrations; (3) providing Know Your Rights information to demonstrators; (4) coordinating, where possible, legal representation of protestors unlawfully seized, arrested, or who are unlawfully denied permits. Email us at protestsupport@mscenterforjustice.org if you have any questions not answered here.


How Can We Support You?


  1. Want to Become a Legal Observer? Sign Up for Legal Observer Training
  2. Want Legal Observers at your demonstration or event? Request Legal Observer Presence
  3. Want to Volunteer as a Trained Legal Observer? Sign up to Volunteer
  4. Want to Know Your Rights at a Protest? This One Drive folder contains lots of helpful information.
  5. Want to get in touch to discuss an event in which you think your rights as a protestor were violated?  We can’t guarantee we can coordinate legal representation, but please let us know what happened by emailing us at protestsupport@mscenterforjustice.org.
  6. Resources for Trained Legal Observers are available in this OneDrive folder.
  7. Non-Public Resources for Trained Legal Observers (password required) are available in this OneDrive folder.


What is a Legal Observer?


Legal Observers are typically lawyers or law students because these individuals are usually familiar with the laws and can note any violations in legal terms. They volunteer with a legal advocacy organization to observe the demonstrations and document any violations of the rights of demonstrators—while agreeing themselves not to participate as a protester in that particular event. Legal Observers wear vests and/or hats (identifying them as Legal Observers) and purposely position themselves close enough to demonstrators to be able to observe and report on law enforcement activity. They are trained to accurately document in detail their impressions of any law enforcement action that may have infringed on the legal rights of demonstrators. The goal of having trained Legal Observers at demonstrations is two-fold. First, the presence of explicitly identified Legal Observers may sometimes deter law enforcement from violating the rights of protesters. Second, having Legal Observer impressions created the day of an event can be critical to successfully enforcing the civil rights of demonstrators in particular situations, especially if times passes between the event and its investigation. To volunteer as a Legal Observer with MCJ, you must have completed our one-hour training session.



Why We Support Mississippi Protesters


Mission of the Mississippi Center for Justice:

  • Mississippi Center for Justice is a nonprofit, public interest law firm committed to advancing racial and economic justice. Supported and staffed by attorneys and other professionals, the Center develops and pursues strategies to combat discrimination and poverty statewide.


Mission of the Peoples’ Advocacy Institute:

  • Realizing the endurance and resourcefulness of marginalized communities, we partner with community members to provide education, training, coaching, investigation, research, advocacy and legal services to assist in defining the structural inequities that cause harm, and together we develop new policies and practices that reduce oppression, and foster self-determination and a more unbiased system.
  • The People’s Advocacy Institute (PAI) is a resource and training incubator for transformative justice in the South. We harness the collective genius of frontline communities most impacted by oppression to develop new policies, institutions and practices that engage people in  the proposal, creation and implementation of laws  that respect the dignity, morality and humanity of communities hardest hit by systemic racism, economic violence, and mass incarceration/criminalization.


Mission of Black With No Chaser:

  • BWNC is a solution-oriented multimedia roundtable guided by unapologetic and unfiltered minds that THINK BLACK and LIVE BLACK. Our goal is to document the all-encompassing Black experience, specifically in the United States, but throughout the entire African diaspora by building, sustaining, and protecting a safe platform for Black voices to be heard and understood.


For more information please write to protestsupport@mscenterforjustice.org.