November 17, 2016

Our work just got harder. fce1e93f-0e0a-4f00-9512-aa5f87c263d5

I don’t want to say that we were getting comfortable, but I was honestly looking forward to what appeared inevitable: a president and vice-president who had strong connections to the legal aid community, whose long careers had proven they supported your work.

I had been talking with your executive directors, getting stories on how organizations planned to spend their share of the $5 million we got from California’s general fund, meeting with California’s Department of Finance to talk about the amazing work you had planned as we make the case for another $5 million. Our conversations were friendly, everyone on the same team, moving California to brighter territories with anticipated increased tax revenue.

But we’re in new territory now, and we’re still finding our way in the dark, figuring out if there is a map in this new world.

LAAC is here for you. We will continue to fight for more funding for your work, even as your work may change. We will continue to support you in your efforts to protect your clients.

I welcome anyone to email or call me with your concerns, and we can figure out if there is a good forum, like our 2017 Technology Summit, to address them. We are happy to open the phone line for any organizing phone calls as legal aid organizations work to collaborate on emerging issues. We’re here for whatever you need as your membership organization.

I keep thinking of this new world we’re in, and how our community can help draw the maps, can help each other and other legal aid offices in other states find their way. We need each other to feel out the barriers, to find the walls and push through them and bring others with us, to light the way with a “Lumos!” so those far off can find us. We can do this.

A Statement from LAAC’s Executive Director, Salena Copeland

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Association of California (LAAC)