As civil justice advocates continue to face big challenges across the country, media coverage is more critical than ever to help spotlight the scope of the unmet legal needs of low income Americans and the role of civil legal aid in meeting that need.
The outpouring of support for the Legal Services Corporation in the face of threatened elimination continues, as does media coverage that illuminates the importance of civil legal aid in the lives of everyday Americans.
Voices’ recent hits include:
Former U.S. AG: President Trump, please don’t cut Legal Services, an op-ed for FoxNews by former Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, who forcefully argues that LSC must be preserved.
The threat Trump poses that gets almost no attention, an opinion piece for the Washington Post by nationally syndicated columnist Catherine Rampell, whose descriptions of legal aid clients in Arkansas and Florida make clear the vital – even life-saving – importance of the services they received.
But our best reason for optimism comes from you. For the past few months, we have tracked more than 100 stories from 42 different states. You have engaged reporters and stepped up to share stories that demonstrate the devastating impact eliminating LSC would have.
A special shout out to community members and advocates in the states below for these great stories:
- Washington State Liberty and justice for Tacomans jeopardized
- Arkansas With Liberty and Justice for All
- Illinois Federal budget cuts could reduce legal aid to poor, elderly
- Massachusetts Scalia supported legal aid — Trump doesn’t and Federal leaders need to know how costly it would be to cut legal aid
- Maine Civil legal aid programs extend ‘justice for all’ to Maine’s most vulnerable
- Colorado Loss of legal services would threaten foundations of democracy
- Kentucky Equal justice at risk
At the same time, we know that civil justice advocates continue to face big challenges across the country. Awareness about the profound crisis in the civil justice system remains low. And the findings laid out in the Legal Services Corporation’s 2017 Justice Gap Report are a sobering reminder of the scope of the unmet legal needs of low income Americans. Stay tuned for more from Voices on how to bring attention in your community to the report’s alarming findings.
But for now, the extraordinary media moment persists. With the federal appropriations process under way as you read this, now is still the time to keep reminding Americans what civil legal aid is and why it matters.
Voices is pleased to announce that Washington Post Deputy Editorial Page Editor Ruth Marcus will be in conversation with Janice L. Kaplan at its 2017 Communications & Media Training on Wednesday, July 19.
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Since our last media roundup on March 24, there have been at least 40 additional pieces featuring the role of legal aid in providing essential help to people nationwide – for a total of more than 80 pieces since February in national outlets and at least one local outlet in most states.
Last year, across the country, Voices trained more than 500 civil legal aid advocates in the building blocks of “Communications Planning” and “Persuasive Messaging.” In 2017 we are adding to that curriculum, developing advanced trainings for graduates of our 2016 training.
In the week since President Trump proposed a budget that eliminates the Legal Services Corporation, civil legal aid has received a lot of media exposure, including stories in the New York Times, the Atlantic, and other major national outlets.
In our last post, we promised you more information about our 2017 initiatives and how you can participate. Here’s more about what is in store for statewide capacity building.
It has never been more important to engage the public and shape conversations about what justice for all in America is -- and what it should look like.
Last October, 306 of you - representing 47 states, the District of Columbia and the Northern Marianas - generously took the time to complete our 2016 survey of communications activity in the civil legal aid sector.