Who We Are

The Legal Aid Justice Center partners with communities and clients to fight for racial, social, and economic justice by dismantling systems that create and perpetuate poverty.

  • We believe that the individual legal problems of our clients are linked to systems of injustice and oppression.

  • We believe that legal and organizing strategies can dismantle the social, racial and economic systems that keep people in poverty.

  • We believe poverty is a racial justice issue.

  • We believe that creating long-term, sustainable change in communities experiencing poverty is the foundation for our advocacy.

  • We believe direct representation is part of our strategy to fight systems of injustice and oppression.

  • We believe that by viewing individual cases as part of larger social and political systems we are able to set our priorities and distribute our resources for the greatest positive impact.

  • We commit to making sure we and the organizations we work with operate in ways that align with the race equity and justice values and goals we support. This includes making sure race equity is reflected in recruitment and hiring, organizational culture, communications, and community partnerships, especially with low-income communities of color. 

LAJC's 2022-2026 Strategic Plan

Our 2022-2026 Transformation Plan was developed in consultation with community members and partner organizations. The plan includes four areas of impact that LAJC will work to accomplish. 

WE WILL FURTHER CENTER OUR WORK IN DEEP PARTNERSHIP WITH COMMUNITIES DIRECTLY HARMED BY SYSTEMIC RACISM.

  • It is critical that we build trusting relationships with communities directly harmed by systemic racism. We want to meet a community’s urgent needs for survival by providing them with individualized legal help, while also helping them build their power as a group so that they can shape their own futures.

WE WILL EXPAND TO ACHIEVE JUSTICE FOR PEOPLE ACROSS VIRGINIA.

  • Our policy advocacy, communications, organizing, and impact litigation already has statewide impacts, so it is important that we be accountable to people in communities across the state by expanding our geographic presence and building stronger relationships with impacted people and community partners in areas where we do not currently have staff.

WE WILL SHARE POWER AND RESOURCES. 

  • To fulfill our mission, we need to draw on the knowledge, skills, time, and labor of other people and organizations, including people from systemically under-resourced communities, so we must look for ways to share our resources and invite them into decisionmaking.

WE WILL APPLY OUR VALUES TO OUR OWN INTERNAL SYSTEMS AND CULTURE.

  • We cannot achieve the change we wish to see in the world unless we ourselves adopt deliberate anti-racism policies and practices. It is critical that we embed LAJC’s commitment to racial justice throughout the organization by supporting the well-being of our staff and by applying an anti-racist analysis to programs, strategic planning, and internal policies and systems.

To make all of this happen, our plan calls on us to take the following steps:

  • Design and implement organization-wide standards for centering community voices in our advocacy 

  • Building from our farmworker project, create a new program centering workers and workplace justice

  • Invest in our health justice efforts with the creation of a new program dedicated tackling the vast systemic disparities in access to healthcare and public benefits. 

    benefits.
  • Expand our physical operations by rebuilding our presence in Petersburg and establishing a new presence in Hampton Roads

  • Improve our capacity to provide legal, organizing, fundraising, communications, and other kinds of support to help community groups achieve their goals 

  • Audit and improve our internal systems to ensure that they uphold our commitment to equity, transparency, and power sharing across the organization 

  • Provide competitive salaries and benefits, offer permanent flexible work, increase operational and administrative support, and maintain a culture of radical love and acceptance and support of each other

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