The magic number: 363

Rural justice by the numbers

We have two winners; Merced County sadly is the loser.

For the past two weeks, the OneJustice network has been trying to guess the number of poor people per attorney in Merced County for our December justice contest.  We have two winners, whose guesses were so close that they basically tied.  Congrats to David Lunbeck for his guess of 379 and Karen Irish for her guess of 349.  Both were within 20 of the correct ratio!

The lowest ratio guessed?  10 to 1  (meaning 10 poor people to 1 attorney)

The highest ratio guessed?  175,000 to 1   (we’re so glad this isn’t the correct answer!)

The magic number?  There are actually 363 poor people living in Merced County for every 1 attorney practicing there.

And this is the highest ratio in the entire state, all 58 counties.

363 poor people for every one attorney.

363 poor people for every one attorney.  (And no, that doesn’t actually show 363 people.  Our hands got tired.  Which also says something – 363 is a big number!)

For comparison purposes, San Francisco has 6 poor people to every attorney.  (There are a lot of attorneys in San Francisco – over 17,000!)

San Mateo County has 12 to 1, and Santa Clara County 16 to 1.  We’re not saying that is bad or good.  But what we are saying is that Merced County – on its own – does not have enough attorneys to make pro bono a realistic solution to the overwhelming need for free legal assistance for its residents.

Merced also has one of the highest poverty density rates in the state.  Of the over 255,000 people living in Merced County, 23% are living at or below the poverty.  Only Tulare County has a higher poverty density rate.

And here’s the rub: Merced City (the county seat with population just over 80,000) is just 2 hours by car from San Jose and 2.5 hours from San Francisco.  Los Banos (the county’s 2nd largest city with population of just over 37,000) is just 1 hour and 30 minutes from Palo AltoIt is totally possible to drive to Merced County and back in one day.  So why aren’t we?

So we think that in 2014, the Bay Area needs to share some of its attorney resources with Merced County.

How’s that for a New Year’s resolution that would truly make a difference?

And YOU can be part of making that happen in 2014!  Donate to the Justice Bus Fund online today and write “Get to Merced County” in the comments box with your donation – and we promise you that 100% of your donation will be used to get Bay Area volunteers into Merced County in 2014. 

Thank you!

Donate Online Now

Q: what do a trail runner and rugby player have in common?

A: The OneJustice Team

Happy Holidays from the newest members of our staff!

Hello OneJustice network and Happy Holidays from all of us on the OneJustice staff team!  We’re super excited to introduce you to the two newest members of our team!  Kimberly Irish was hired to create a brand-new position at OneJustice: the Healthy Nonprofits Program Manager.   And Ashley Lynette will be stepping into the role of Operations & Program Assistant.  We wanted to make them pose for photos wearing Santa hats……. but we’ll save that for the mandatory all-staff Halloween costume contest in 2014!

In the meantime, we thought you’d want to get to know them just a little better . . . so we posed some Q&A.  Enjoy!


So, Kimberly . . . tell us, what drew you to the work of OneJustice?

Kim Irish PhotoI first became familiar with OneJustice’s work as a University of San Francisco law student when I participated in Public Interest/Public Sector Career Day. Since then, I’ve been impressed with the innovative programs OneJustice has created, such as the Justice Bus Project and the Healthy Nonprofits Program. Working as the Healthy Nonprofits Program Manager will allow me to develop programming that will support and strengthen the incredible network of legal services organizations in California.

  • What will you be responsible for at OneJustice – and what do you hope to achieve?
I’ll be responsible for ensuring the success of signature projects like Public Interest/Public Sector Day and will work with the entire team on projects like the Executive Fellowship program. I will also expand the coaching, consulting, training and resources of the Healthy Nonprofits Program, including developing new webinars and trainings that will provide information on the business side of running a nonprofit to better support legal services organizations in delivering legal assistance to underserved Californians.
  • What did you do before coming to OneJustice that led up to you coming on board to create this new position?
My recent work as the Volunteer Manager at San Francisco’s Eviction Defense Collaborative demonstrated to me the importance of having great back-end support for nonprofit legal organizations that serve low-income clients. I am honored to currently serve as the board president of Human Rights Advocates, an organization that promotes and protects international human rights in the United States and abroad. My nearly 5 years of board experience with Human Rights Advocates will undoubtedly inform my work with the Healthy Nonprofits Program at OneJustice, too.
  • And what else should we know about you?
In 2013, I started trail running regularly and have explored many beautiful trails in Marin County and the East Bay. I also spend most Saturdays volunteering as a mentor with First Exposures, a fantastic program in San Francisco that empowers youth through photography.

And now Ashley, let’s get to know you! What interested you in the idea of working OneJustice?

Ashley Lynette photoI’ve volunteered with a few legal aid service groups in the past, but it was the comprehensive manner in which the group confronts injustice that drew me to OneJustice: from direct service to providing organizational assistance via Healthy Nonprofits, I truly appreciate how OneJustice assists folks in need from every angle.
  • What are your responsibilities at OneJustice?
As the Operations and Program Assistant, I will be primarily responsible for maintaining office equilibrium. This will include soothing our finicky machines and ensuring that we never run out of coffee or good cheer. I’m also excited to provide support for the myriad programs OneJustice has to offer, with a focus on advancing projects for the Healthy Nonprofits Program, which supports leaders at nonprofit legal organizations with trainings and best practices in nonprofit management.
  • What did you do before coming to OneJustice that led up to this job?
During my undergraduate studies at Brandeis University, I interned with several domestic violence service and advocacy groups, including New Hope, Inc and Family Violence Law Center.  After graduation I worked for a group called that provided a free web platform for individuals running for political office. This fall I also served as a Program Support Intern with Spark and volunteered at the Women’s Building with their Job Search program. I am thrilled to have this opportunity now to work with OneJustice!
  • And tell us something else about yourself!

I played rugby in college and was once crowned “Prom Queen” at a prom-themed 7s tournament.

Welcome Ashley and Kimberly!  And Happy Holidays from all of us at OneJustice!

December’s contest: a guessing game

What makes a legal services desert?

Can you guess the number of poor people per attorney in Merced County?

At OneJustice, we’ve been noodling around on the idea of a legal services desert.

San Bernardino Desert

San Bernardino is both a geographic and legal services desert.

Drawing on the concept of “food deserts” in the anti-hunger movement, we’ve been working to develop a set of factors that can identify (and describe) legal services deserts — communities that face particularly difficult barriers to accessing legal services and justice.

What might those factors be?  Well, we’d love your ideas!  And we think that it the rubric should probably include criteria like:

  • total number of people in poverty
  • density of poverty (the percentage of the community living in poverty)
  • total number of attorneys practicing in the community
  • ratio of poor people to local attorneys (i.e., are there local pro bono resources)
  • distance to the closest local legal services nonprofit (if there is one)
  • distance to the closest courthouse
  • geographic barriers to legal services and courthouses
  • access to public transportation to the nonprofits and courthouses
  • language barriers to services
  • other local communities needs
  • And what else?  We would love your thoughts and input!

As part of our noodling around, we’ve been comparing the NUMBER OF POOR PEOPLE in all 58 counties to the NUMBER OF ATTORNEYS practicing in the county.  This gives us a ratio of the number of poor people per each attorney.  We’re using this ratio as a rough gauge for how possible it is for the local legal community to meet the need for pro bono legal services for the local low-income residents.

And the results are pretty interesting!

You can win this nifty water bottle!  Post today!

You can win this nifty water bottle! Post today!

San Francisco has the lowest ratio of poor people to attorneys – with 6 poor people for every 1 attorney.  The next lowest is Marin with 9 poor people per attorney.  Los Angeles County has 31 poor people per attorney, while San Bernardino (shown in the photo above), has 141 – making it not only a geographic desert but also a legal services desert.  Tulare County has 259 poor people per attorney, while Imperial has 290 – meaning that the need for legal assistance in low-income communities cannot possibly be met by the local attorney population.

So here is the guessing game for our December justice contest.

Merced County has the HIGHEST ratio of poor people per attorney.  What do you think that number is?   Tell us how many poor people you think there are per attorney in Merced County.

Enter your guess as a comment to this blog or our facebook or LinkedIn pages – or tweet it to us at @OneJusticeOrg – by Sunday December 15th.  The person whose guess is the closest to the correct number wins this awesome OneJustice water bottle.

Happy guessing – thanks for playing!

Double your impact – today!

GivingTuesday - give today!You can make DOUBLE the difference today!

Give online today – and your gift will be doubled!

Today is #GivingTuesday – the national opening day of the giving season.  Let’s kick it off with a bang!

A generous matching challenge from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation will match all gifts – dollar for dollar – up to $7,500.  Please give online now – this matching challenge ends at midnight tonight!

Your kind gift today will mean $15,000 in support for free legal services for those in need. Veterans.  Seniors.  Children and youth.  Low-wage workers.  Families.  And those living in rural and isolated parts of the state.

Thank you so much for your support!

Donate Online NowQuestions or don’t want to give online?  Just call Natasha Ong at 415-834-0100 x 317.  Thank you!

Set a trend – give for justice!

Let’s return to the true spirit of the holidays

And #Give4Justice on #GivingTuesday!

Let's #give4justice on #GivingTuesday

Let’s #give4justice on #GivingTuesday

We had Black Friday.  Today is Cyber Monday.  Two days that are all about shopping.  And deals.  And commercialism.

What happened to the holiday season being about giving thanks for what we have – and caring for those who don’t have enough – instead of focusing on getting more stuff for ourselves?

At OneJustice, we think it’s time to return to the true spirit of the holidays – by giving thanks AND giving back to our communities.

That is why last year we were among the inaugural partners in #GivingTuesday – a national campaign to focus more on giving than getting.  Spend more time volunteering than shopping.  Return to caring for those who are in need rather than tracking down the best deal.

And we’re super proud to be doing it again this year!

Started by the United Nations Foundation and the 92d Street Y, #GivingTuesday builds on the American tradition of giving back but uses technology to give this idea greater impact. #GivingTuesday is intended to encourage Americans to reflect and give back. It’s a collective moment for individual and community action.  This year, more than 7,000 partners across the country are taking part – including large corporations and small businesses, faith-based organizations, nonprofits, and local government.

And we are rallying the legal services and access to justice community to make sure that justice is a big part of #GivingTuesday. We can all celebrate by giving the gift of justice to Californians in need!  So join us tomorrow – on #GivingTuesday – in giving for justice!

How do you do that, you ask?  It’s sooooooo easy!

  • Giving Justice on GivingTuesdayJoin OneJustice and the California Campaign for Justice in our jointly hosted #Give4Justice twitter party from 12pm to 1pm.  Just track our feed at @OneJusticeOrg and search using hashtag #Give4Justice.  We’ll be posing questions about the power of pro bono and supporting legal services throughout the hour – and tracking and retweeting your replies!
  • Or donate to your local legal aid organization – or the statewide Campaign for Justice.  Or volunteer with your local pro bono program.  Thank you for YOUR actions, which will make all the difference for those facing pressing legal problems and suffering needlessly from solvable legal problems.

Thank you for giving thanks AND giving back!

Why we love our board of directors – and you will, too

BoardSource NewsletterA love letter to the OneJustice Board

We’re so excited – and we just can’t hide it!

We’re so excited to share some wonderful news with you — OneJustice was named the grand-prize winner of the 2013 Prudential Awards for Exceptional Nonprofit Boards at the recent BoardSource Leadership Forum (BLF), which took place earlier this month in Los Angeles! And, the award comes with $15,000!

Recognizing and promoting excellence in board service is at the heart of BoardSource’s mission. That’s why BoardSource created the Prudential Leadership Awards for Exceptional Nonprofit Boards, now in their third year. BoardSource announces these awards, in partnership with Prudential, at the annual BoardSource Leadership Forum. The awards are intended to inspire and support new approaches to strengthening and building organizational impact through board leadership.

In conjunction with the theme of BLF, the 2013 award winners exemplify exceptional governance and demonstrate the concept of “Bold Leadership: Taking Risks, Thinking Big” for their organizations in at least one of three areas: structure, fundraising, and governance.

OneJustice is featured in an article in BoardSource’s newsletter “Spark” released today.  (Click here to download the PDF of the article).

And, here’s what the folks at BoardSource had to say about OneJustice in a brochure they distributed at the conference:

The OneJustice Board of Directors

The OneJustice Board of Directors

What do you do when a consultant hired to help your board and new executive director prepare for a strategic planning process tells you that your stakeholders are not aware of your mission and do not consider your organization’s programs relevant to the communities it serves? Do you step back and rethink your plans to plan? The board of OneJustice (then the Public Interest Clearinghouse) took another tack. It decided to move ahead, to fully launch a strategic planning process, seek further stakeholder input, clarify its mission, set its vision, and carefully evaluate every project against a double bottom-line: mission impact and contribution to the organization’s financial health.

Projects that had outlived their relevance were eliminated. In their place rose two core program areas: increasing volunteerism in the legal community and increasing the business skills of nonprofit legal services. Both are directly tied to the organization’s mission of increasing the legal assistance available to poor and other underserved Californians. The board also turned to an issue that had long been under discussion: the confusion caused by its name, Public Interest Clearinghouse. With a communications consulting team supporting its efforts, the board managed a consensus-driven rebranding process that resulted in a new name — OneJustice — representing the organization’s commitment to creating one justice system that works equally for all.

The OneJustice Board doing training by videoconference

The OneJustice Board participating in fundraising training by videoconference.

But the board was not done. Immediately after completing the organizational strategic plan, the board turned its critical eye inward. After completing an in-depth performance assessment and identifying its strengths and weaknesses, it trained in the Governance as Leadership model, created a governance committee, and institutionalized processes related to multi-year recruitment plans, performance evaluation of each board member prior to term renewal, and continuous learning.

As a result of the board’s work over the past six years, OneJustice is now flourishing. The budget has doubled, the revenue model is stable, the organization is responding to stakeholder requests for geographic presence in Southern California, and the board is engaged and focused on mission, excellence, and continued strategic growth. Just over a year ago, the board solicited feedback from the same set of stakeholders as in 2007. The response this time? “One Justice is the glue that holds the California legal services community together.” The 180-degree transformation in the organization’s relevance is due to the board’s leadership.

BoardSource Award 2013

OneJustice Board Chair Max Ochoa with OneJustice staff receiving the award from BoardSource and Prudential at the BoardSource Leadership Forum on November 8th in Los Angeles.             (Photograph by Sarah Fiske)

You are the best book club ever!

Here is your very own justice “must read” book list

You blew us away with these great suggestions.  Thank you!

Wow!  Who knew that the OneJustice network is filled chock-a-block with book worms?

You all rocked this month’s contest, with over 40 submissions and 35 book suggestions.   Below is your very own justice book club reading list.  Enjoy!

Thank you so much – and you made it really hard to choose a winner!  But we had to do it – and so we’re delighted to announce that we have tie.  Congratulations to Ugochi Anaebere-Nicholson, Managing Attorney of Indio Branch Office of Inland Counties Legal Services, and to Betsy Cavendish, President of Appleseed – they both submitted the winning title: The Buffalo Creek Disaster by Gerald M. Stern.Earn donations to OneJustice while you shop through Amazon Smile!  Enjoy those OneJustice water bottles!

And YOU can give the gift of justice this season – through Amazon Smile.  These terrific books will also make great gifts for the folks on your list.  And if you will be doing some holiday shopping online with Amazon, you can also give the gift of justice by registering with Amazon Smile and designating OneJustice as your nonprofit!  The AmazonSmile Foundation will then donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to OneJustice.

Thank you for signing up to give the gift of justice to Californians in need – just by doing your holiday shopping!


The OneJustice Network Book Club Reading List

Advise and ConsentAdvise and Consent by Allen Drury    A 1959 Pulitzer Prize-winning political novel, later made into a movie, about Senate confirmation hearings for Secretary of State for a nominee who is a former member of the Communist Party. The Senator heading the confirmation subcommittee, while under pressure to move the nomination to the forward, is discovered to have a homosexual past and commits suicide rather than face exposure.

America is In the Heart: A Personal History by Carlos Bulosan     First published in 1946, this autobiography of the well-known Filipino poet describes his boyhood in the Philippines, his voyage to America, and his years of hardship and despair as an itinerant laborer following the harvest trail in the rural West.

Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje     Anil’s Ghost transports us to Sri Lanka, a country steeped in centuries of tradition, now forced into the late twentieth century by the ravages of civil war. Into this maelstrom steps Anil Tissera, a young woman born in Sri Lanka, educated in England and America, who returns to her homeland as a forensic anthropologist sent by an international human rights group to discover the source of the organized campaigns of murder engulfing the island.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank   Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit. In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, Anne and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annex” of an old office building.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand     Atlas Shrugged is the astounding story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world–and did. Tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged stretches the boundaries further than any book you have ever read. It is a mystery, not about the murder of a man’s body, but about the murder–and rebirth–of man’s spirit.Buffalo Creek Disaster

Black Hills/White Justice: The Sioux Nation versus the United States, 1775 to the Present by Edward Lazarus    Black Hills/White Justice tells of the longest active legal battle in United States history: the century-long effort by the Sioux nations to receive compensation for the seizure of the Black Hills. Edward Lazarus, son of one of the lawyers involved in the case, traces the tangled web of laws, wars, and treaties that led to the wresting of the Black Hills from the Sioux and their subsequent efforts to receive compensation for the loss.

The Buffalo Creek Disaster by Gerald M. Stern     In February 1972, an impoundment dam owned by the Pittston Coal Company burst, sending a 25 foot tidal wave of water, sludge, and debris crashing into southern West Virginia’s Buffalo Creek hollow. Instead of accepting the small settlements offered by the coal company’s insurance offices, a few hundred of the survivors banded together to sue. This is the story of their triumph over incredible odds and corporate irresponsibility, as told by the young lawyer who took on the case and won.

A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr   In this true story of an epic courtroom showdown, two of the nation’s largest corporations stand accused of causing the deaths of children. Representing the bereaved parents, the unlikeliest of heroes emerges: a young lawyer who hopes to win millions of dollars and ends up nearly losing everything. A searing, compelling tale of a legal system gone awry – one in which greed and power fight an unending struggle against justice – A Civil Action is also the story of how one determined man can ultimately make a difference.Enriques Journey

Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario   This astonishing true story recounts the unforgettable odyssey of a Honduran boy who braves unimaginable hardship to reach his mother in the United States.  Based on the Los Angeles Times  series that won two Pulitzer Prizes, Enrique’s Journey is the timeless story of families torn apart, the yearning to be together again, and a boy who will risk his life to find the mother he loves.

The Feminine Mystique  by Betty Friedan    Landmark, groundbreaking, classic—these adjectives barely describe the earthshaking and long-lasting effects of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. This is the book that defined “the problem that has no name,” that launched the Second Wave of the feminist movement, and has been awakening women and men with its insights into social relations, which still remain fresh, ever since.

Gideon’s Trumpet by Anthony Lewis     This history of the landmark case of James Earl Gideon’s fight for the right to legal counsel describes the story behind Gideon v. Wainwright, in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that criminal defendants have the right to an attorney even if they cannot afford it.

The Giver by Lois Lowry     Since winning the Newbery Medal in 1994, Lois Lowry’s The Giver has become one of the most influential novels of our time.  The story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind his fragile community.
Half the SkyHalf the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn    This is passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.   We undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood     Set in the near future, the Handmaid’s Tale describes life in what was once the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans with bizarre consequences for the women and men of its population.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett     Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women—mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins     In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen launches a rebellion when she represents her district and wins.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote     In November 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.  As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates mesmerizing suspense, astonishing empathy, and poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie     A Seattle serial murderer has been dubbed “the Indian Killer” because he scalps his victims and adorns their bodies with owl feathers. As the city consumes itself in a nightmare frenzy of racial tension, a possible suspect emerges: John Smith. An Indian raised by whites, John is lost between cultures. He fights for a sense of belonging that may never be his—but has his alienation made him angry enough to kill? This national bestseller and New York Times Notable Book delivers both a scintillating thriller and a searing parable of race, identity, and violence.

To Kill A MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee     The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh     The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.  When she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

Learning Tree by Gordon Parks     Photographer, writer, and composer, Gordon Parks has written a moving, true-to-life novel of growing up as a black man in this country in this century. Hailed by critics and readers alike, the Learning Tree tells the extraordinary journey of a family as they struggle to understand the world around them and leave their mark a world that is better for their having been in it.

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines     In a small Cajun community in the late 1940s,  Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shoot out in which three men are killed; the only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death.  Grant Wiggins, who left his hometown for the university, has returned to the plantation school to teach.  As he struggles with his decision whether to stay, his aunt and Jefferson’s godmother persuade him to visit Jefferson in his cell before his death.  In the end, the two men forge a bond as they both come to understand the simple heroism of resisting—and defying—the expected.

Native Son by Richard Wright     Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail.  Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright’s powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.The New Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander   With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that by targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness.

Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63 by Taylor Branch    Moving from the fiery political baptism of Martin Luther King, Jr., to the corridors of Camelot where the Kennedy brothers weighed demands for justice against the deceptions of J. Edgar Hoover, here is a vivid tapestry of America, torn and finally transformed by a revolutionary struggle unequaled since the Civil War.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver     This is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959.   What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in post colonial Africa.

The Round HouseThe Round House by Louise Erdrich     One of the most revered novelists of our time—a brilliant chronicler of Native-American life—Louise Erdrich transports readers to the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. This is an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family.

Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools by Jonathan Kozol  For two years, beginning in 1988, Jonathan Kozol visited schools in neighborhoods across the country, speaking with teachers, principals, superintendents, and, most important, children. What he found was devastating. Not only were schools for rich and poor blatantly unequal, the gulf between the two extremes was widening—and it has widened since.  Kozol delivers a searing examination of the extremes of wealth and poverty and calls into question the reality of equal opportunity in our nation’s schools.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut     Kurt Vonnegut’s absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time.  We follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut’s) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden. Slaughterhouse-Five (taken from the name of the building where the POWs were held) fashions the author’s experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority.

Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson by George Jackson     This collection of Jackson’s letters from prison is an outspoken condemnation of the racism of white America and a powerful appraisal of the prison system that failed to break his spirit but eventually took his life. Jackson’s letters make palpable the intense feelings of anger and rebellion that filled black men in America’s prisons in the 1960s.   Jackson’s story resonates for its portrait of a man taking a stand even while locked down.The Spirit Catches You

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures Paperback by Anne Fadiman   The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from Laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Lia’s parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia, but the lack of understanding between them led to tragedy.

The Stranger by Albert Camus     A young Algerian, afflicted with a sort of aimless inertia, becomes embroiled in the petty intrigues of a local pimp and, somewhat inexplicably, ends up killing a man. Once he’s imprisoned and eventually brought to trial, his crime, it becomes apparent, is not so much the arguably defensible murder he has committed as it is his deficient character. The trial’s proceedings are absurd, a parsing of incidental trivialities, so that the eventual sentence the jury issues is both ridiculous and inevitable.

Triangle: The Fire That Changed America by David von Drehle      Triangle is a poignantly detailed account of the 1911 disaster that horrified the country aWalking with the Windnd changed the course of twentieth-century politics and labor relations.  On March 25, 1911, as workers were getting ready to leave for the day, a fire broke out in the Triangle shirtwaist factory in New York’s Greenwich Village. The final toll was 146 people—123 of them women. Triangle is an immensely moving account of the hardships of New York City life in the early part of the twentieth century, and how this event transformed politics and gave rise to urban liberalism.

Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement by John Lewis and Michael D’Orso    As Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Congressman John Lewis was at the epicenter of the civil rights movement in the late ’50s and ’60s. Arrested more than forty times, he was one of its youngest and most courageous leaders. Writing with charm, warmth, and honesty, Lewis moves from the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins as he reflects on the era to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where he led more than five hundred marchers on what became known as “Bloody Sunday.”

Women, Race, & Class by Angela Y. Davis     Longtime activist, author and political figure Angela Davis brings us this expose of the women’s movement in the context of the fight for civil rights and working class issues. She uncovers a side of the fight for suffrage many of us have not heard: the intimate tie between the anti-slavery campaign and the struggle for women’s suffrage. She shows how the racist and classist bias of some in the women’s movement have divided its own membership.

Truth or Dare: are you a book worm?

Then tell us your favorite book about justice!

November contest in honor of National Book Lover’s Day.

Did you know that yesterday was National Book Lover’s Day?  Pretty awesome holiday, right?Love to Read?  Tell us your favorite justice book!

TRUTH: For all the book worms among us, November’s justice contest has your name on it.  Tell us your favorite book that deals with justice (or injustice) in some way – and you’ll be entered to win a super nifty OneJustice water bottle.

DARE: All you have to do is post the book title and author by Tuesday, November 12th to any of our social media sites.

It’s seriously so easy.  Just give us your suggestions in a comment to this post, on our facebook wall or LinkedIn page, post a photo of the book to Pinterest or Instagram, or tweet it with @OneJusticeOrg #onejusticecontest.

And yes, for all you folks who are true read-a-holics – you can post more than ONE suggestion.

And then we’ll gather all the book recommendations and post the collective reading list for the entire OneJustice network to enjoy!   Post away!

Wishing you all a most spooktacular Halloween

Hermione, Garden Gnome, and the SS Justice

Which OneJustice staffer reigned supreme in the annual costume contest?

Both OneJustice offices are full of odd characters today as we celebrate a spooktacular Halloween!  From a Garden Gnome in the executive office to the SS Justice group costume in the LA office, everyone is showing their Halloween spirit.

This year’s winner was none other than Hermione Granger (aka Renae Getlin, Executive & Communications Associate).  Congrats Renae!

And the 2013 Runners Up: Max from Where the Wild Things Are (played by Ruby Kimberly, Justice Bus Project Program Associate), as well as Deputy Director Linda Kim in pajamas and Stephen Downey, Program Associate as Toad.

Photo montage below for your general amusement!   Wishing you a most fantabulous and freaky Halloween from all the OneJustice staff!