Melbourne Activist Legal Support has launched our first-ever crowdfunding campaign, and here’s why.
When people protest in Melbourne, MALS is often there behind the scenes. Our Legal Observer Teams in pink vests and cameras are now a pretty familiar sight on the streets of Melbourne.
MALS is an all-volunteer group of lawyers, law-students, and human rights activists who monitor police, train activists; provide legal support, information and resources to Melbourne’s diverse social change groups and movements. We stand up for your civil & political rights.
This is why we have launched our first major fundraising appeal. We are seeking $10,000 by the start of October to prepare for the busy spring and summer months of action as more and more people take to the streets.
We are asking people to donate at https://support-activists.raisely.com/
Since we formed in 2011, MALS has fielded over 50 Legal Observer Teams, run dozens of legal trainings and worked hard to build the skills, training, capacity, links and credibility needed for this sort of human rights defence.
In this time we have seen powerful movements grow amidst increasingly brutal and para-military style policing.
We’ve seen an inspiring proliferation of grassroots activism over the last year. People have raced to support the Djab Wurrung community and their plight to protect sacred trees. We’ve seen outpourings of love on the streets for Priya, Nades, Kopica and Tharunika who want to return home to Bilo. Hundreds have participated in direct action for the first time to protect our planet with Extinction Rebellion and the #climatestrike.
This means we’ve had a lot on our plate. Our training sessions have been maxed out to capacity, and we’re getting more requests for legal support than we can handle. Amidst all of this, we’re seeing police using more repressive measures to scare people off the street. With activists stepping up across Melbourne and Victoria, we need to step up too. We have a mandate to increase our capacity and meet the needs of the day.
We have been there for 8 years. Now we are asking for your help.
Make an impact. Make a donation now and reach out to your networks tomorrow morning so that together, we can make this campaign for civil rights a successful one.
Melbourne has a proud history of civil resistance. From winning the vote for women, the 8-hour day, the huge Vietnam War Moratorium, the Anti-Uranium Movement, the Anti-Iraq War movement, massive Invasion Day protests, to the campaign for equal marriage Melbourne has led Australia and has often led the world in mobilising for large-scale, radical social change.
But across the country our rights are under threat.
The Human Rights Law Centre’s report, Safeguarding Democracy, documented the unmistakable trend of governments at national and state level steadily chipping away at free speech, a free press, peaceful assembly, open government and the rule of law – some of the foundations of our democracy. Grassroots human rights defenders like Legal Observers are critical to protect our democratic rights.
Good activist legal support builds movement resilience and makes it more likely people will come out of protest and civil disobedience stronger.
Movements are made stronger when people know their rights and can respond collectively and assertively when they are violated. Legal support in the streets, in police custody and in the courts is vital.
Importantly we need people to actively share the link https://support-activists.raisely.com/ with their professional networks.
We are planning to grow our collective and hire our first staff member. We are seeking $2,000 per month in regular donations to fund a Coordinator position as the group grows and expands. If you are in a position to support this critical human rights initiative grow with a small monthly direct debit then we want you on board!
What will we do with these funds?
These funds will allow us to train more volunteer Legal Observers for more teams at more protests. It will equip our Legal Observers with HD sports cameras, hi-vis vests, long-life battery packs and radios.
It will allow us to provide Know-Your Rights Training to hundreds of new activists taking the streets for first time and provide more activist groups with more legal training, more legal information and more resources.
Importantly these funds will help us to better support activists who are targeted because of their race, gender, sexuality, or political stance or those who are targeted by intelligence agencies from their home countries.
These funds will make sure our reports get to human rights bodies, media, government and police accountability agencies more quickly and with more impact. With increased capacity we will be able to hold more police to account for excessive force and misconduct, assaulting, abusing, or harassing activists.
We know things are getting hotter and we also we know social movements in Australia are growing rapidly. We need to be ready.
Melbourne Activist Legal Support is a team of volunteers who stand up for your civil and political rights. Now, help us protect your space to protest. Donate now and share our crowdfunding page
MALS (Melbourne Activist Legal Support)