Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
July 1, 2002
An analysis of the need for race-based advocacy in civil legal aid and a discussion of the necessary actions and policy changes.
This article, published in the Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, urges civil legal aid programs to increase race-based advocacy in order to address the legal, social, and economic problems that low-income people of color face. People of color face unique issues when it comes to:
Civil legal aid agencies must do three crucial things to advance race-based advocacy:
• Strengthen the capacity of individual lawyers and paralegals to
engage in racial justice work
• Ensure that legal aid agencies explicitly prioritize racial justice
• Collaborate with local and national civil rights groups to develop
new approaches to the legal problems of low-income people of color.
Some legal aid programs are already engaging in race-based advocacy, but there is no complete picture of what legal aid as a whole is doing to address racial discrimination or to advance racial justice because of the scattered nature of the programs. However, this is shifting. Almost every state is developing a state justice community–a statewide system of delivery meant to give all clients a single point of entry for legal aid. The civil legal aid community cannot improve by focusing solely on individual programs. The focus must be concentrated on the emerging state justice communities. They must be able to provide a full range of civil legal assistance to people and groups who are politically or socially marginalized.
Keywords: race-based advocacy, discrimination, civil legal aid
PUBLICATION DETAILSFormat: Research
Publication Type: Journal Article
Geographic coverage, US: NATIONAL
Topics: Legal Aid Movement | Social Change | History of Legal Aid | Civil Right to Counsel | Cross-Cutting Issues | Language Access | Models/Standards/Principles | Innovations & Emerging Issues
Practice Area: Consumer, Education, Employment, Health, Housing, Immigration, Native American
Who Served: Children & Juvenile, Disabled, Homeless, Immigrants, Inmates & Former Inmates, Language Minorities, Migrants, Minorities, Women
How Provided: Courts, Legal Aid Attorneys
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