By Steve Love Director of Donor & Community Engagement, Justice & Diversity Center
While 2017 is just getting started, it is already proving to be a very provocative year, especially for the legal community. This year, the Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) of The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) turns 40! JDC’s work to advance fairness and equality by providing pro bono legal services to low-income people and educational programs that foster diversity in the legal profession is just as relevant today as it was 40 years ago.
2017 also marks the advent of a new administration. While the transfer of power was peaceful and orderly, the weeks following the transfer have been quite chaotic. The new administration has issued a series of executive orders and presidential memoranda targeting low-income and marginalized people in myriad ways. Thanks to an outpouring of support from across the country and the rapid response of the legal community, the full impact of those orders and memoranda has been buffeted.
BASF and JDC are at the vanguard of that response, working with partners, members and volunteers to address the concerns of those targeted by the new administration. Since the beginning of the year BASF and JDC have:
• Co-hosted “How to be a Good Ally: A Strategic Engagement Conference” that attracted over 1,300 members of the San Francisco Bay Area legal community and featured 37 speakers, 40 participating organizations and 13 panel discussions
• Launched an immigration representation task force to advance the rights of immigrant communities
• Expanded its existing immigration program to address current and pending demand for immigration services in the San Francisco Bay Area
• Issued a public statement decrying the Executive Order denying immigration and safe harbor based on country of origin and religion
• Launched a “Volunteer Pop-Up” to provide more opportunities for attorneys to organize and mobilize to address current and future threats to marginalized communities
Clients served by BASF and JDC are directly affected by the administration’s executive orders. Of the people who requested services from JDC during the past 12 months: Those who are immigrants (documented and undocumented) make up:
• 26% of everyone seeking help from JDC
• over 40% of family law clients
• 65% are survivors of domestic violence
• 40% of housing clients
Percentage of JDC clients with significant medical needs:
• 55% of all JDC all the people seeking assistance
• 80% of JDC’s Homeless Advocacy Project clients
• 100% of JDC’s clients are low-income and their lives will be affected in a significantly negative way if federal funding to the state and city is reduced
As we celebrate 40 years of providing access to justice and fostering diversity in the legal profession, we invite you to join us.
To find out how you can become a volunteer, provide financial support or celebrate our accomplishments throughout the year, contact Steve Love at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-782-8917.