When we ended our fiscal year on June 30, 2020, the world felt as though it were in free fall. First, the COVID-19 pandemic upended our lives. Then, the violence against and murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many other Black people led to worldwide uprisings denouncing racism and police brutality. Both shown a glaring spotlight on the vast inequities in our country in all areas of life: education, housing, employment, health, safety, criminal “justice,” and more.
The simultaneous public health, economic, and racial justice crises have forced us,as a society, to confront the systemic racism that has permeated every aspect of our society for more than 400 years. These crises have amplified the voices calling for change, demanding that we root out the racism embedded in our culture, laws, institutions, and relationships.
You joined us in responding to the call for justice—thank you! As clients, donors, volunteers, partners, and advocates, you recognized the essential role that lawyers, and the Public Justice Center in particular, have in solving entrenched inequities, and you supported us in taking action against injustice in this moment of national crisis and throughout the year. And you helped tenants, workers, students, parents, and communities win significant victories.
This annual report takes a closer look at how we achieve systemic change and the importance of the milestones we achieve on the path to a just society. Through examples from three of our projects, you will see how our current laws, policies, and systems create inequities; how lawyers can use legal tools—including collaboration, community lawyering, and legislative advocacy—to push for change; and how momentum builds over time and with broad coalitions calling out for justice.
Thank you again for joining us in building a just society!
John Nethercut, Executive Director
Camille Blake Fall, Chair, Board of Directors