E-Alerts & Press Releases

I have found my passion

June 4, 2014
By Shabria Paige, PJC intern
I had never heard of the Public Justice Center until an assignment for a college class about nonprofits led me to discover this great organization. For my project I wanted to analyze an organization that is very adamant in executing their mission and also very devoted to service and law. The PJC fit that description perfectly; I was immediately impressed by the mission of the PJC:  “pursuing systemic change to build a just society.” 
I learned that the PJC has a tremendous impact in Maryland and has greatly grown in their outreach efforts to the public over the years. With the abundance of cases that continue to surface concerning injustices in Baltimore, the PJC has been able to provide citizens with knowledge, support, and representation to fight against these injustices in order to ensure a just society. 
After my class ended, I approached the PJC to see if I could intern there. I greatly appreciated the warm welcome I received from all of the staff, donors, and board members. Many of them were kind enough to allow me interview them about their reason for supporting and being a part of the PJC. Listening to their stories really made me appreciate this organization even more. My time at the PJC was time well spent. I assisted the development team and I also worked with attorney Camilla Roberson on one aspect of the Access to Health Care project. I felt liberated when I was asked to work with Camilla around how health disparities in Baltimore are being addressed. This project gave me the opportunity to explore the Health Enterprise Zone initiative recently implemented by Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, created to improve community health, outreach, and representation for those who have been underrepresented. From this project I came to the great realization that progress takes time but nonetheless effort counts. I learned that in order to truly improve social justice there must be a collaborative effort from the state, the community, and also the participating organizations. 
As a senior at the University of Baltimore who graduated in May, I was hoping that my experience at the PJC would clarify my next direction, and it did. The PJC opened my eyes to a great component of law, the ability to be the voice of the people. It was the wise words of board member Alicia Wilson (herself a former intern) that helped give me a clear vision of the power of lawyers. Alicia told me that “lawyers are the voice of the people and they have the power to eliminate the laws that have a negative impact on the day to day lives of citizens.” The staff of the PJC use their voices in a very powerful and effective manner to ensure that those who are underrepresented receive the justice they deserve.
The greatest lesson that I have gathered from my time here at the PJC, and especially from discussions with Executive Director John Nethercut, is that passion goes a long way. Having passion is the foundation to doing something great, and that’s what each and every person involved with the PJC has. This group of smart, tenacious, caring, and effective individuals set out to do great things that have a very positive effect on the community, and they inspire others like me to do the same. Every member of the PJC is an example of individuals working to better the lives of others. By following their examples, the advice I have been given, and utilizing the vast amount of knowledge that I have acquired as an intern, I feel very confident about pursuing my path to law school in hopes to return to the social justice community. I plan to continue to create a positive impact and amplify the voice of the community. I have found my passion and I am eager to utilize my voice to create systemic change and continue to push for justice. I especially thank the PJC staff for welcoming me into the office and being great role models for an aspiring attorney. I look forward to my future and I plan to utilize all of the experience that I have gained here at the PJC. 

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