Reflections on a Season of Transition

Forgive my silence for the past few months – life’s transitions often fall into and flow through one another. After an excellent year at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, I joined Advancement Project as a staff attorney last month. Orientation gave way to a staff retreat, reunions, introductions and engaging work. I love my job, but time slips away swiftly from week to week. And, of course, there’s the physically taxing process of registering the daily horrors that emerge from the Trump Administration.

Most recently, I worked with my colleagues to write an amicus brief for Husted v. APRI, a case before the Supreme Court during the October 2017 Term. The matter concerns the National Voter Registration Act and whether a state can essentially remove a voter from its rolls for not voting. The brief supports the A. Philip Randolph Institute; it argues that Ohio’s history of voter suppression, particularly vis-a-vis Black and Brown voters, causes the inactivity that the state uses to kick voters off of the rolls. I’m immensely proud to stand along side other voting rights advocates, and I count it as an incredible honor to have worked on such a brief so early in my legal career.

With securing the right to vote in mind, I look forward to moderating a panel in Denver next week for the Fall Conference of the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. The event will focus on the rise of suppressive tactics in election administration, and it will include the perspectives of a Colorado state representative, a law professor and two voting rights advocates in Denver. I hope the panel will provide an avenue for a rich strategic discussion in the midst of a perilous political climate.

On the organizing side of my work, I’m excited to attend the March for Black Women on September 30th. Far too often, the voices of women, trans folks, and non-binary & gender non-conforming people are met with unwarranted vitriol and skepticism. I intend to always stand in solidarity with ALL Black people, and I urge myself & other Black men to listen attentively and provide support wherever its needed. If we don’t, we risk feeding the toxic patriarchy that resulted in 45’s election. (for more context, see, e.g., one of Damon Young’s latest VSB posts) Most importantly, I pledge to trust Black women, now and always.

To conclude, though it’s an excellent time in my life professionally, I recognize the sheer exhaustion that so many folks are experiencing during this time in the United States. I certainly count myself as a member of that group. More thorough reflections are forthcoming on my perspective as Black man living during the authoritarian reign of the First White President. For now, I intend to keep settling into the new job, writing, organizing and tirelessly fighting for justice. All these actions are both necessary, cathartic and freeing.

About andrewrhairston

Andrew Reginald Hairston is a civil rights attorney, writer, proud bisexual man, and doting uncle who divides his time almost equally between Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. He loves, fights for, and writes about Black people.
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