Motley Fellow Claudia Peña and I have been here in DC all week attending the Radical Collaboration for Racial Justice Conference, sponsored by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA).
Attending this gathering underscores the need for, and importance of, the collaborative work that all of us at EJS do, especially as it relates to our efforts to explicitly tackle racial justice issues, which is clearly not something all offices or attorneys have the privilege of doing so head-on!
The conference was attended predominantly by legal aid attorneys, with a great diversity of ages, ethnicities and geography, which made for really rich discussions. There were some panels and presentations (including one which Claudia sat on, and was fabulous!), but the bulk of the convening time was spent in structured dialogue and working groups, which I really enjoyed.
It was a great chance to really go deeper with several of the attendees, and to think hard about the steps we all can take to enhance our work (which, in terms of racial justice efforts, was at various stages depending on the organization represented).
There was also a clear call for many of the things we already do at EJS — cross silo organizing; bringing people together to think/talk strategically; providing resources & support for anti-discrimination trainings and other racial justice efforts, etc.
It was exciting to have the group of emerging advocates there from California as well, and I think we were very well received by the group (and certainly learned a LOT from the wealth of experience in the room).
I look forward to following the next steps coming out of this convening, and offering EJS’s support to NLADA’s work to build and strengthen the racial justice movement.