In fighting to expand access to health, housing, economic opportunity, and justice for low-income communities, legal aid organizations have engaged in racial justice work since their inception in 1965. But most federally-funded legal aid groups have done this work by default; racial justice is not the stated goal, but often the outcome of working to address the structural inequalities that lead to poverty.
Yet tackling inequality by focusing on poverty is not the same as setting out to dismantle systemic racism. And as the nation begins a long-overdue conversation about the ways in which race impacts access to opportunity and justice, so must legal aid make more explicit its role in the fight to address the racial dimensions of poverty.
Join Yvonne Mariajimenez, the President and CEO of Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County (NLSLA), as she moderates a candid conversation with a panel of experts about the intersection of racial justice and legal aid.
She will be joined by Kimberly Merchant, the Director of the Racial Justice Institute and Network at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, as well as Mona Tawatao, Legal Director of the Equal Justice Society, and Merf Ehman, Executive Director of Columbia Legal Aid.
This event is being generously sponsored by O’Melveny.