Washington State Spotlights Race Equity on the National Stage

A few weeks ago hundreds of equity and justice advocates gathered in San Diego for the annual ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference. This national meeting of the civil legal aid and pro bono community presented a prime opportunity to spotlight our Alliance’s vision to bring race equity to the forefront of our advocacy.

To help frame the conversation, Diana Singleton (Access to Justice Manager), Jen Werdell (Executive Director of JustLead), and Kimberly Merchant (Racial Justice Network Director with the Shriver Center) partnered in an engaging workshop on how to walk our race equity talk together. They offered creative action steps and tools participants could take home to promote race equity within their own work. We had uplifting and grounding conversations about why we do this work and we had frank discussions about what it actually takes to dismantle systems of oppression (e.g., serving people of color is not the same thing as doing race equity work – we must instead come together to ensure race no longer determines a person’s outcomes). The workshop provided a platform to share the main impetus of the State Plan, distribute the Race Equity and Justice Initiative’s Acknowledgments and Commitments, and illustrate how we are putting these concepts into action through the trainings and consultations provided by JustLead.

The Equal Justice Conference was capped off with the national meeting of the 39 Access to Justice Commissions and Boards. State Supreme Court Justices, commissioners and staff gathered at Thomas Jefferson School of Law to share ideas and support each other in our shared commitments to strengthen access to justice movements in our respective states. After a day filled with learning and networking, Diana Singleton had the opportunity to once again put a spotlight on race equity. Check out Diana’s ignite talk below (i.e., a 5 minute presentation that quickly brings home the point).