On April 7, 2022, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson made history by being the first Black woman to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. This confirmation is monumental and the first opportunity for countless Black women and children to see themselves represented at the summit of our federal judiciary.
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation is crucial, not only for representation, but as our judiciary needs more judges with a background in indigent defense, bringing new perspectives to significant cases that affect the lives of every American. Indigent defenders, including private appointed attorneys, non-profit attorneys like CGLA’s criminal defense team, and government attorneys like public defenders, represent those who can’t afford a lawyer on their own – and are tasked with handling an outsized percentage of criminal cases. As a result, indigent defenders gain far more direct experience with the struggles of poor and marginalized communities. This kind of professional experience is essential to a balanced and representative judiciary.
As I continue to reflect on what Justice Brown’s impact will be, I can’t help but be proud to work at CGLA, currently an organization led by a woman of color and composed of a diverse workforce at every level of the organization, which works to remove the barriers to inequity faced by Black and Brown communities and those living in poverty.
At CGLA, we grew to meet our clients’ needs in a city where communities of color disproportionately suffer from the lack of opportunity, criminalization of poverty, and racial inequity that plagued the Cabrini Green public housing community at the time of our founding 49 years ago. More importantly, CGLA’s success and tremendous impact rely on its resolve to learn more and do better in addressing the changing needs of our clients. Today, CGLA has expanded to address the systemic issues afflicting the criminal legal system through policy, advocacy, and serving clients and their families holistically with social support and legal services.
To celebrate our work removing barriers to equity, which your support makes possible, I invite you to join us at our first in-person event since 2020! We will be hosting our 15th Annual Toast for Justice Removing Barriers to Equity on June 9, 2022, at 6 PM at Bridge 410. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for a night of wine, cocktails, fun, and fellowship! Tickets are limited and can be purchased here.
I’m grateful to be able to count on your support of our work to remove barriers to equity!