February marks the start of Black History Month, an annual celebration and recognition of the many achievements and sacrifices that African Americans have made in the history of the U.S. The theme this year is “Resistance," defined as the “act of fighting against something that is attacking you, or refusing to accept something."
Historically, in this country, African Americans have resisted oppression of every form imaginable. There are some figures that have been celebrated more than others over the years, due to their significant impact and place in history. But there are also the everyday heroes who do not get the notoriety or fame but nonetheless advocate for the rights and equality of African Americans.
I consider legal services itself to be a form of resistance, a refusal to accept conditions and situations that profoundly affect daily life for the communities we serve. This goes for our representation of clients but also our education about legal rights, our pro se clinics, and our advice, all of which empower our clients. While the fight for equality and justice continues in 2023, the results of resistance–and of the work we do every day–show us that success and progress are possible. I’m honored to be a part of that work, and that resistance, with our staff and our community partners, and with the people we serve.
— Leah Ashe, NNJLS Executive Director
The banner at the top of this newsletter was created by the National Museum of African American History and Culture as part of their public resources to honor Black History Month.