36 Clearinghouse Rev. 61 (2002-2003)
Race-Based Advocacy: The Role and Responsibility of LSC-Funded Programs

handle is hein.journals/clear36 and id is 61 raw text is: 

Race-Based Advocacy: The Role and

Responsibility of LSC-Funded Programs

By Camille D. Holmes, Linda E. Perle, andAlan W Houseman

This issue of CLEARINGHOUSE REVIEW makes
a compelling case for increasing race-
based advocacy strategies throughout the
legal aid system. The intersection of race
and poverty lies at the heart of much of
the work that legal aid lawyers do, and
addressing the problems of low-income
communities of color requires going
beyond traditional race and poverty
strategies. It also calls for advocacy strate-
gies that address the challenges that are
unique to these communities.1 As the arti-
cles in this issue make clear, legal aid
lawyers must pay attention to racial dis-
crimination and use the tools that are
available from both civil rights and
antipoverty arsenals.
    The responsibility to examine race
and racial discrimination in housing,
employment, health care, public benefit
programs, welfare-to-work initiatives, edu-
cation, and consumer law does not fall
solely on the 500 or so legal aid programs
that the Legal Services Corporation (LSC)
does not fund. The 170 programs that
accept LSC funding have an equal respon-
sibility to pursue strategies explicitly using
civil rights and related laws. In states
where few other legal aid programs exist,
LSC-funded programs must take the lead.
As LSC-funded programs plan and set pri-
orities, engage in education and outreach,

and devote their resources to representa-
tion, litigation, and a range of communi-
ty and economic development work, they
must be explicitly aware of the effect of
race on community dynamics and access
to economic resources. LSC-funded pro-
grams must also work closely with, and
use the skills and resources of, non-LSC-
funded legal aid providers, pro bono pro-
grams, private lawyers, civil rights advo-
cates, and community-based organizations
in order to carry out their responsibility to
represent low-income people and com-
munities of color.
    Staff of LSC-funded programs some-
times do not explore the full range of
civil rights and antipoverty strategies
because of a mistaken belief that LSC
regulations preclude effective race-based
advocacy. In this article we examine
what LSC-funded programs may do
under the regulatory framework within
which they must operate, and we high-
light examples of how the programs may
pursue race-based advocacy strategies to
protect the rights, advance the interests,
and enhance the lives of the members
of communities of color within the con-
fines of the restrictions. Other articles in
this special issue of the REVIEW include
many other examples.


The authors are on the staff of
the Center for Law and Social
Policy, 1015 15th St. NW, Suite
400, Washington, DC 20005;
202.906.8000; www.clasp.org.
Camille D. Holmes
(cholmes@clasp.org) is senior
counsel, Project for the Future
of Equal Justice; Linda E. Perle
(Iperle @clasp.org) is a senior
staff attorney, Legal Services;
and Alan W. Houseman
(ahouse@clasp.org) is director.

'john a. powell, Race and Poverty: A New Focus for Legal Services, 27 CLEARINGHOUSE REV.
299 (Special Issue 1993).

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