INTEGRATING SOCIAL JUSTICE WITH LEGAL ADVOCACY
A non-attorney, Social Justice Advocate is limited to the use of "social tools" in their pursuit for Societal Change. The most prominent of these is the Internet. The internet allows for immediate dissemination of information for mobilization. Mobilization can come in the form of mass protest, boycotts, negative product or personal review, and injuries to reputations. In a market society, these can be extremely effective. However, for an employer, property owner, or a government agency, these tools may have very little effect. For more concrete change, the use of more traditional legal means will be necessary.
Therefore, a Social Justice Attorney (an attorney whom advocates specifically for positive societal change) is the ultimate tool in Social Justice advocacy. A Social Justice Attorney is very different from a Civil Rights Attorney. A "Civil Rights Attorney" is a civil litigation attorney whom typically takes a case where an individual's own civil rights were violated. All Americans enjoy civil liberties. If a landlord refuses to rent to an unmarried gay couple, they can be sued for violating a local, state, or federal law. However, this does not prevent the practice in and of itself because built into all laws are its societal exceptions. It cannot be argued that discrimination is against the law, but Society imputes exceptions to the rules. These exceptions ALWAYS find their way into inherent biases of judges and decision makers.
So, we are seeking to develop Social Justice Attorneys and Advocates; those attorneys and advocates whom are dedicated to legally and socially changing society's inherent inequities. Attorneys like the late great Justice Thurgood Marshall are erroneously labeled as Civil Rights Attorneys. He was a Social Justice Attorney as his advocacy was to desegregate schools all across the United States. However, despite his efforts, exceptions crept back into the desegregation rule which allowed judges and government officials; biased by society and their own "community's group think," to allow schools to be even more segregated than ever.
This is the purpose of the ACE Law Program.
IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW WITH WATSON LEIGH FOUNDER
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