April 30, 2019
“It’s not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of
justice for all people.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
Early this month, OneJustice spent two days walking the halls of Congress to educate and proclaim the importance of equal access to justice. Far too many Americans, in each and every congressional district, face significant legal barriers, and are forced to seek help from their local legal aid non-profits. These non-profits cannot provide these essential services without significant federal funding, often provided by the Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”).
This year, OneJustice and the American Bar Association (“ABA”) met with thirty-three of the fifty-five California delegates to Congress. The agenda included meeting with the offices of six of the seven Republicans and twenty-seven of the forty-eight Democrats from California. Additionally, OneJustice staff dropped off personalized materials to each of the remaining twenty-two offices that explained the importance of civil legal aid in each Members district.
The success of our meetings this year signals an awareness from policy makers that funding for the Legal Services Corporation, and civil legal aid, is a bipartisan issue important to every district, and every Californian. OneJustice enforced this belief by educating the Representatives and their staff members on the importance of civil legal aid in California’s underserved communities, from north to south, and east to west, and provided them with district specific information that proves that each district benefits from LSC funding.
With the members now attentive to LSC, it is important to continually amplify the significance of robust funding for LSC. As Congress begins the federal Appropriations process, it is important to remind your Representatives that they work for you. Contact them often with your voice of support for legal aid services in your district. Ask them to educate and encourage their colleagues to protect equal access to the civil justice system. Remind them that it is their job to magnify your voice.
While OneJustice couldn’t bring you to Congress with us, our goal is to continually bring Congress to you. For updates about federal legal aid policy, and opportunities to contact your Members of Congress, sign up for our Californians for Legal Aid alerts!