Amistad Law Project (ALP) is a West Philadelphia-based public interest law center. Our mission is to fight for the human rights of people in our community by providing a full range of free and low-cost legal services to Philadelphians and those incarcerated in Pennsylvania’s prisons. Additionally, we advocate for laws and policies that reflect our vision for a new justice paradigm and organize events and activities to educate the public on their rights and the law.
Founded in October 2014, ALP advocates for the recognition of the human rights of all people and believes in the intersection of movements against systemic oppression.
Our name was suggested by Robert “Saleem” Holbrook, a man from Philadelphia who is currently serving a life sentence in Pennsylvania after being sentenced as a teenager.
In 1839, slave traders kidnapped a large number of Africans from their home in Sierra Leone. Fifty-three people were purchased and placed upon the Caribbean-bound slave ship, La Amistad. On July 1, 1839, the abductees rose up and defeated their captors in the famous Amistad Rebellion. They were later taken to the United States, tried in court, and acquitted. You can read more about the story of the Amistad Rebellion here.
Amistad also means “friendship” in Spanish. We are inspired in our work by this legacy of resistance as well as a strong connection to our community.
ALP consists of attorneys, activists, and organizers. We are prison abolitionists who view the prison industrial complex as directly related to the massive divestment from our communities the things that make them safe and strong. We believe that good public education, affordable health care, healthy and affordable food, safe and affordable housing, and the ability to care for our families, no matter what they look like, are human rights.