Archives

Written by Adam Jacobs

Apr 20

2020

Legal Aid Mourns the Passing of Three Men Who Made Important Marks on Civil and Human Rights

The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia was saddened to learn of the passing of Darius Swann on March 8, Theodore Gaffney on April 12, and Jerry Givens on April 13, 2020.

Mr. Swann was the lead plaintiff in a landmark 1971 Supreme Court case that authorized federal courts to order busing to fulfill the constitutional mandate that children attend racially integrated schools.

In 1961, Mr. Gaffney, a D.C.-based photographer, photographed the Freedom Riders and risked his life when the civil rights activists were attacked by armed white mobs on the road between Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama and in the Birmingham bus station.

As Virginia’s chief executioner for 17 years, Mr. Givens participated in 62 executions. The exoneration of a death-row inmate he had almost executed and Mr. Givens’s own stint in prison led him to experience a change of heart, and he became an anti-death penalty activist. His 2010 testimony before the Virginia legislature helped stop a bill that would have made accomplices to murder eligible for execution. Read more →

Apr 17

2020

Recipes from a Socially-Distanced Kitchen

In this time of uncertainty, we have found ourselves living a “new normal”. However, in the midst of everyday challenges and changes, one thing is certain to remain the same: we have to eat!

For over 20 years, Legal Aid has had a strong social connection with food—specifically, a highly anticipated weekly tradition: Friday Treats. Every Friday morning, staff members gather together in the break room to enjoy delicious sweet and savory breakfast items brought in our coworkers. Friday Treats offers the opportunity for staff to mingle across units and learn more about one another on a personal level.

Read more →

Apr 16

2020

Reflections on the Crisis in DC’s Jail on Emancipation Day

Each year on April 16 the District recognizes Emancipation Day. On this day in 1862 – eight months before the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in the South – Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act into law, freeing over 3000 slaves that lived within the District’s borders. It was called the “Compensated” Emancipation Act because it did just that: it compensated slave owners for freeing their slaves. Read more →

Apr 10

2020

When America catches a virus, black America catches…

For many Black Americans, suffering has been our normal. There is an old saying within the black community that goes something like “whenever America catches a cold, black America catches pneumonia.” There has never been a national crisis in which black Americans did not sustain disproportionate losses.

The novel coronavirus is infecting and killing black District residents at a disproportionate rate, according to statistics shared by Mayor Muriel Bowser earlier this week. The data showed that blacks account for 66 percent of people who have died from the disease, despite making up only 46 percent of the city’s population. White residents comprised 19 percent of deaths, while accounting for 42 percent of the city’s population. Read more →

Apr 10

2020

Recipes from a Socially-Distanced Kitchen

In this time of uncertainty, we have found ourselves living a “new normal”. However, in the midst of everyday challenges and changes, one thing is certain to remain the same: we have to eat!

For over 20 years, Legal Aid has had a strong social connection with food—specifically, a highly anticipated weekly tradition: Friday Treats. Every Friday morning, staff members gather together in the break room to enjoy delicious sweet and savory breakfast items brought in our coworkers. Friday Treats offers the opportunity for staff to mingle across units and learn more about one another on a personal level.

Read more →

Apr 09

2020

Emergency Legislation Extends Deadlines to Challenge Denial or Termination of Benefits

In recognition of the difficulties that recipients of essential safety net benefits might have in challenging a denial or termination of those benefits, the Council has extended the statutory deadline for challenging such agency actions.  This provision adds to the benefits protections that the Council has already authorized the District government to enact, and which the District of Columbia Departments of Human Services and Health Care Finance enacted by suspending the termination of benefits and reporting requirements during the pandemic. Read more →

Apr 07

2020

CARES Act Allows Stimulus Checks To Be Intercepted For Child Support Arrears

For many in Legal Aid’s client community, the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated already dire financial circumstances. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, many of our clients were low-wage workers living paycheck to paycheck and relying on supplemental public benefits to make ends meet. Other clients were struggling with chronic unemployment or underemployment, unable to obtain full-time jobs due to disabilities, criminal records, or other barriers to employment such as the lack of transportation or childcare. Given the massive layoffs, hiring freezes, and increased demand for government assistance we have witnessed over the last few weeks, it is clear that our clients are among those Americans who will be hit the hardest during this period of economic recession. Read more →

Apr 06

2020

Personal Story: How Legal Aid Changed My Perspective on Policy Advocacy

In the midst of a highly uncertain time, when planning out the next week can feel next-to-impossible, my time at Legal Aid has given me a degree of certainty about my future. As a legal assistant at Legal Aid, I have watched our attorneys secure victory after victory for our clients. Not only has this experience inspired me, but it has also directly informed my own choices about graduate education and helped me envision how I might maximize my impact throughout my career. Read more →

Mar 24

2020

COVID-19 Measures Increase Risk for Domestic Violence Survivors

In the past week, governments, organizations such as Legal Aid, and individual members of the community have taken significant measures to curb exposure to, and the spread of, the COVID-19 virus. As steps are taken to stem the spread of disease, however, domestic violence survivors may face increased risk of violence at this time. Read more →

Mar 20

2020

Process to Obtain a Civil Protection Order Temporarily Modified; Legal Aid Remains Available to Assist Clients

On March 15, 2020, the DC Superior Court limited its operations in light of COVID-19. After many revisions to its plan, due to the ever-evolving updates to COVID-19, on March 19, 2020, the Court issued an Order clarifying the process for filing for Civil Protection Orders and obtaining Temporary Protection Orders during this public health crisis. Read more →