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Thursday, December 7 • 2:15pm - 3:45pm
Talking about What We're Talking about: Low-Income Households in the Age of Black Lives Matter

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The language we use in our respective fields affects many aspects of our work: what we talk about or do not talk about both reflects and influences our values, goals, policies, resources, and daily tasks. A brief narrative analysis of the field of civil legal aid reveals significant discussion about income but much less about race. This colorblind approach, while understandably rooted in the language of our current legal and political systems, has significant drawbacks for both the external and internal efficacy of legal aid service providers. Failing to “talk about what we’re talking about” hinders providers’ understanding of the problem and their ability to address it. By not talking about race, legal aid providers risk ignoring the complex challenges facing their clients or, more broadly, the root causes for structural racial inequity. A race-conscious legal aid workplace would encourage a frank discussion of implicit bias and microaggressions, not only in client interactions but in the recruitment, hiring, mentoring, and promoting of employees. Making race part of the everyday language of legal aid service provision has the potential to make sure the most qualified people are leading, administering, or providing services in a way that most benefits the people desiring assistance. This session will draw upon the lessons of critical race theory and our current black liberation movement to present research findings and suggest concrete tools to bring the language of race into legal aid. The session will be highly interactive, involving pair and group exercises that analyze case studies and brainstorm solutions.

avatar for Meredith Reitman

Meredith Reitman

President, Reitman Research and Strategy, LLC
Meredith Reitman, PhD, is the President of Reitman Research and Strategy (RRS), which provides research and evaluation services to organizations focused on racial equity. As a faculty member in the field of critical race theory, she conducted research on the role of race in workplace... Read More →

Thursday December 7, 2017 2:15pm - 3:45pm EST
Meeting Room 16 Meeting Room Level