Legal Services of Southern Piedmont’s mission is to “ensure a full measure of justice for those in need.” It says “a full measure,” not a fraction of justice, not part or half, but a “full measure of justice.” By “a full measure of justice,” we mean three things.
First, all people must have the opportunity to participate fully in the legal system and to have legal representation when necessary. Our legal system is incredibly complicated, and it is simply not true that most people have a fair chance without representation.
Second, the legal system must be open to all without barriers or discrimination. The legal system is not always accessible to low-income people, minorities, children and the elderly, immigrants, and low-wage workers.
Third, the legal system can and must protect basic human rights and ensure human needs such as safety, shelter and access to health care. We use our skills and training as lawyers, through the legal system, to protect these human rights and meet basic human needs.
LSSP can be compared to a small emergency room. Our clients come to us in crisis, with an imminent threat of violence, loss of shelter or income, or need for medical care. The legal assistance we provide helps clients out of crisis by keeping people safe, in their homes, with their families intact, with medical care and out of poverty.
LSSP was created in 1967 as a part of the War on Poverty with the mission of ending poverty. I am old enough to remember that good war and still believe that we can end poverty if we try hard enough. Bringing low-income people into our legal system to protect human rights and ensure human needs is one key strategy to end poverty, which I believe we can do, even in this recession, in this, still, wealthiest country on earth.
Each year, LSSP serves 3,500 families facing a crisis of safety, shelter, health or income. But we are nowhere near having the resources to meet the needs of the more than 300,000 people eligible and in need of legal assistance but unable to afford private lawyers. Please join us and support our efforts to ensure that a full measure of justice is available for all people in need.
Yours in justice,