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For millions of Americans, the murder of George Floyd by former police office Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis last year sparked a turning point in collective consciousness. Finally, it seemed, the nation was beginning to understand the pandemic of police violence. And when a jury of his peers recently convicted Chauvin—whose facial expression turned from indifferent to ill–on three counts of murder, mainstream media were quick to tout what they called a shift in U.S. policing and media coverage following the verdict.
Yet, one rare guilty verdict amidst a sea of police misconduct doesn’t make the criminal legal system just to the families who’ve lost loved ones to police violence before or since the police lynching of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others.
Enter Attorney Taalib Saber: The Pan-African, social justice-focused and documentary filmmaking civil rights attorney knew he wanted to be a lawyer, even as a kid. What he didn’t know at the time was that the eventual growth of his political and social consciousness would take him across the world, from the law offices in the Washington D.C. area to Ghana, Uganda and other communities across the African Diaspora.
A lawyer for human rights and Pan-Africanism
“I most enjoy being able to tie the practice of law to the youth,” Attorney Taalib Saber told The Black Wall Street Times. “ The award-winning attorney practices Education and Special Education Law, Civil and Human Rights, and Personal Injury Law at D.C.-based Saber Law Firm, LLC.
Born and raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C., Saber earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2010 from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland and his Juris Doctor from North Carolina Central University School of Law in 2015 in Durham, North Carolina.
Saber said he loves being able to represent young Black men and women but also pour into them knowledge of self and knowledge and awareness of their surroundings.
Saber teaches “know your rights” classes
“When they see a young, Black man as a lawyer, then it becomes more tangible and obtainable for them. I pride myself in being relatable and approachable to the brothers and sisters in the community,” Saber said.
Holding more titles than a prizefighter, Attorney Taalib serves as the co-chairman of the Social Justice Committee of the Washington Bar Association’s Young Lawyer’s Division and the Managing Director for the Movement for Black Power, a DC-based organization dedicated to the establishment of justice, liberation and power for Black people in America and abroad.
As director for the Movement for Black Power, Saber works directly with youth, teaching “know-your-rights” classes centered around police encounters.
“It’s important for people to understand that there are two ways to handle police encounters: to do everything you can to safely go home or to fight like Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser, Toussaint L’Ouverture and Queen Nzinga,” Attorney Taalib Saber said.
Surviving a police encounter
L’Ouverture, a formerly enslaved Haitian who led a successful revolt against the French empire in the 1700s, and Nzinga, a 16th century leader of the Mbundu people of present-day Angola who waged a 30-year war against the slave-holding Portuguese empire, both represent the pinnacle of Black revolutionary resistance to European colonization.
“Many would like the legacy of those mentioned but don’t want to experience death. If this is you, then you need to worry about getting home safely,” warned Saber.
“There are two things to remember during police encounters: What crime do you suspect me of committing and am I free to leave? You don’t need to respond to questions by the police if there is no crime that you are being accused of,” Saber added. But if you are being accused of a crime, according to Saber, the most important thing to do is to let the officer(s) know you won’t be speaking without an attorney present.
Pan-Africanism connects roots
“The burden is on the state for them to prove that you committed a crime, so don’t make it easy for them by talking. Everything can and will be used against you to prove their case,” Saber added.
As if his schedule wasn’t busy enough, Saber also organizes Pan-Africanism in DC, Maryland, and various countries in West, East and South Africa.
“Pan-Africanism is the social, cultural, spiritual, and political unification of African people,” Attorney Taalib Saber told The Black Wall Street Times.
Comparing a people without knowledge of their history to a tree separated from its roots, the community-organizing attorney described how Pan-Africanism connects Americans of African descent to Africans across the diaspora.
An award-winning attorney
“It gives us more power and standing to fight against oppression, exploitation and degradation,” Attorney Saber said.
And he would know. Saber recently delivered a keynote speech on Leadership in Africa at the 2017 Great Lakes Peace Center Conference in Kasese, Uganda, and, a year later, he presented before several universities in Ghana on Entrepreneurship, Pan-Africanism, and ownership of resources. In the same year, he was also awarded the Men Impact Change Award for his work in Education.
No stranger to being recognized for his work in the global African community, Saber became the 2020 recipient of the Washington Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Division’s Donald A. Thigpen Rising Star Award.
Ultimately, Attorney Taalib Saber said the best way to reach the youth is through media and art.
Art as activism
Putting words into action, he’s recently entered the post-production phase for an upcoming documentary series called “Afro-Hop: Politics and Hip Hop”. The film focuses on the intersectionality of music, politics, and Pan-Africanism.
The media is able to change the behavior patterns of people and how they think so by merging art with activism, the impact will be greater. The youth are heavily impacted by how artists and entertainers move and operate.
“The media is able to change the behavior patterns of people and how they think so by merging art with activism, the impact will be greater. The youth are heavily impacted by how artists and entertainers move and operate,” Attorney Taalib Saber said.
To learn more about Attorney Taalib Saber, you can visit him on social media or at www.thesaberfirm.com
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