Mawuli Davis strengthens his community by providing legal representation for marginalized populations.
I am an African-centered Activist Attorney seeking to strengthen our community by building a sustainable Black institution (law practice) while representing people who have historically been pushed to the margins of American society. We demand “full value” for the lives and injuries people of African descent suffer through our personal injury, civil rights, wrongful death, and criminal defense practices.
In 2007, I co-founded the Davis Bozeman Law Firm. The firm was created to provide an economic base from which we could train attorneys and activists in courageously advocating for community members. We have provided internships and opportunities to students and young professionals and we have donated thousands of dollars and hours to programs and individuals who we believe are worthy of our support and encouragement. In 2007, I also co-founded Let Us Make Man, an organization designed to inspire and instruct African American youth about achieving in life and serving their community. We developed a brotherhood of professional African American men from various walks of life to come together to conduct workshops throughout Georgia. In 2010, I developed a multimedia presentation entitled the Consequences of Thug Life that challenges youth not to accept “thug life” as a viable life option. It incorporates hip hop music and images that are prevalent in youth and “urban” culture. I explain the law in Georgia and discuss various issues from my perspective as a criminal defense attorney and activist.We challenge the attendees to think critically about their decision making. We are also engaged in representing human and civil rights protesters who are challenging the status quo through direct action non-violent tactics. We currently provide pro bono representation to protesters from the Occupy Movement, Occupy Your Homes, and Moral Monday. We want to encourage activist to continue organizing against oppression by providing them zealous and bold legal representation when they “dare to struggle”.
Inspirations and Influences
In our law office we have a memorial with pictures of people of African descent who were either lawyers or ancestors who attempted to use the law to press forward our struggle for freedom and human rights. We have pictures of Ida B. Wells, C.B. King, Donald Lee Hollowell, Malcolm X, Steve Biko, Judge Romae T. Powell and many other ancestors. We have pictures of the first African Americans to practice law in America and in Georgia. All these pictures of ancestors remind me daily of the sacred obligation and duty we have to use the law in service to our people and our struggle for total liberation.
One of the pictures that inspires me most is one of B.C. Franklin, the father of the great historian, John Hope Franklin. Attorney B.C. Franklin was a lawyer in Tulsa, Oklahoma on what was known as Black Wall Street when the African American area was attacked by white mobs and burned to the ground. Hundreds of Black citizens were killed and Black Wall Street was bombed. The picture is of Attorney B.C. Franklin, his law partner, and their secretary practicing law in a tent after their offices were burned to the ground. It is with this tenacity and courage that I seek to be an activist attorney engaged in building and defending our community and people.
“We who believe in freedom cannot rest” – Sweet Honey in the Rock (Ella’s Song)
As a law firm we have three ongoing initiatives we support. We support Let Us Make Man, Self- Care Day, and Parents Against Distracted Drivers (PADD)’s Arrive Alive Campaign. I personally try to revitalize myself for the daily grind of our struggle by spending quality time with my family, watching documentaries and lectures about Black history and culture, working out, praying, meditating and surrounding myself with people who respect the sacredness of Black life.
One of my elders and mentors, Dr. Conrad Worrill, reminded me that we have to continue to find joy in working in the interest of our people. Even when we are mistreated by the people that we love and we work for, we have to continue “loving them to life”. I wake up thankful that God and our Ancestors have allowed me to be in my “right African mind” that I am clear about what must be done and sacrificed to win our freedom. Every morning, I am thankful that I am being used to continue a tradition of resistance, love, service, and ultimately victory. It is truly an honor and a blessing to be called to serve God’s people.
In Struggle, Love, & Victory Mawuli Mel Davis
Field of Work: Antiracism