Racial Justice

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NLADA leads a broad network of advocates on the frontlines to advance justice and expand opportunity for all by promoting excellence in the delivery of legal services for people who cannot afford counsel.  At the heart of this work are our values of diversity, equality, and inclusion – a recognition that the principle of racial equity must be present in our hiring decisions, in our practice, and in our engagement with our communities.

We do not conflate poverty with racism.  To say that because the majority of our clients are persons of color, we necessarily perform racial justice work would be to simplify the difficult issues of poverty, racial injustice, and racial injustice that flows from poverty.  These issues are neither proxies for one another nor are they mutually exclusive.  In fact, the connection between the two is longstanding and deeply rooted in American history.

In commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission’s Report and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are reminded that economic and racial justice have long been connected and that one cannot be achieved while leaving the other behind.  Dr. King’s words should push us forward in our work to secure justice and promote equality: “[M]ankind's survival is dependent on man's ability to solve the problems of racial injustice, poverty, and war; the solution of these problems is in turn dependent upon man's squaring his moral progress with his scientific progress, and learning the practical art of living in harmony.”

NLADA always recognized the importance of racial justice in its activities and the work of its members.  Our joint statement on racial justice with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and our Fight Against Implicit Bias and Racial Inequality Pledge are our most recent steps to more clearly acknowledge that our work to provide access to justice for people who cannot afford counsel is advanced through our efforts to promote racial justice.   NLADA now issues this action plan is intended to propel this work forward and commits NLADA and its members to: (1) speak with clarity about poverty and racial equity; (2) improve our internal governance to reflect the racial equity we seek to secure in our communities; and (3) support a purpose-driven practice that employs strategic advocacy to advance racial justice in our communities.

Racial Justice Action Plan