Race-Based Advocacy: The Role and Responsibility of LSC-Funded Programs

By: Camille D. Holmes, Linda E. Perle, and Alan W. Houseman. Published by: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy. Published in June 2002.

Link to article

The authors define race-based advocacy as “that which actively challenges both current and historical barriers that impede equal access to opportunity and advancement by people of color” (p. 62-63). This might look like identifying and prioritizing the concerns of communities of color or prioritizing anti-discrimination work in areas like housing, lending, contracts, property, federally funded programs, and employment.

Highlights include:

  • “The intersection of race and poverty lies at the heart of much of the work that legal aid lawyers do, and addressing the problems of low-income communities of color requires going beyond traditional race and poverty strategies. It also calls for advocacy strategies that address the challenges that are unique to these communities.” (p. 61)
  • “The inability of welfare recipients of color to receive training and education as a part of welfare-to-work programs may be due to inadequate agency resources or misguided policies, or it may be due to race, ethnicity, or language discrimination. Race-based advocacy strategies may range from filing a discrimination complaint under Title VI, to training welfare office workers, to filing articles of incorporation and providing other transactional services to grass-roots welfare rights organizations.” (p. 63)
  • “Group representation is another effective way to address the concerns of members of low-income communities of color without filing a class action.” (p. 67)


Categories: General/Unspecified Clients, Individual Rights, Legal Aid Attorneys, Legal Aid Practitioners, National

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