Access to Justice: ‘Things are smoother now.’

Before COVID-19, Melody had worked at Showmars for 22 years, whipping up the daily specials.

When someone contacts Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy for help, they are often struggling to stay afloat in a storm of crisis.

They have a big problem impacting their life but do not know how to fix it. Their problem is a symptom of various unmet legal needs that need to be addressed comprehensively to put that person on a better path.

That was the case for Melody when she contacted Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy last year. We first shared her story last fall.

Like many of our neighbors, she was already struggling when COVID-19 turned her life upside down.

As the primary financial support and caregiver for her family, she was trying to keep up with medical bills and fighting to keep her home as she faced foreclosure for unpaid property taxes from the mid-2000s left from her parents’ estate.

The Advocacy Center had helped her negotiate a payment plan with the county that included forgiveness of a substantial portion of the debt.

“When the pandemic hit, I lost my job,” Melody says. “I was devastated. I thought, ‘How am I going to make those payments?’”

Melody is used to being the one helping others. But when it came to piecing together the support her family needed to remain stable, she could not do it alone. 

Again, she called the Advocacy Center. We connected her with Legal Aid of North Carolina-Charlotte to help her get expanded unemployment benefits under the CARES Act to support her family.

“I’ve worked all my life and never needed any benefits,” Melody says. “I didn’t really know how that stuff went.”

As part of our work, we learned that Melody’s sister, Wendy’s social security benefits had been terminated despite her disability. The Advocacy Center stepped back in to ensure she was receiving the benefits she was entitled to.

We also helped Wendy apply for food stamps to help their family through this crisis.  Melody would soon turn 65, so we also ensured everything was prepared for her to receive Medicare in a few short months. 

We checked in with Melody recently to see how things are going for her and her family one year into the pandemic.

It’s been hard.

She’s lost eight family members to COVID-19. In addition to not being able to physically mourn with her loved ones, she’s missed the big family get togethers held every year—egg hunts at Easter and a family reunion in September.

Melody says one thing she’s learned through her experience is “it’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to not be okay.”

She compares the past year to sailing through a storm and credits the staff at the Advocacy Center for guiding her to calmer waters.

“Just knowing I had them there, I was able to stay in my boat,” she says. “Things are smoother now.”

Despite the past year, she says she is still looking for the silver lining in everything.

She hopes to return to her job whipping up the daily special at Showmars in the City of Charlotte Government Center, where she had worked for 22 years. And she dreams of one day owning her own food truck.

In the meantime, she’s glad to have her health, her family cared for and a place to call if she needs help.

She smiles every time she drives by the Advocacy Center and Legal Aid office on Elizabeth Avenue.

“Look at how much work the people in that teeny little building do!” Melody says. “The work they do, it’s needed. Because sometimes people just need a helping hand. It’s been a blessing.”

Melody, we’re glad we could help. Call us if you need anything.

Your support of the Access to Justice Campaign makes success stories like Melody’s possible. Consider making a contribution today!

2021 Pro Bono Honor Roll

Download a copy of the 2021 Honor Roll

The Mecklenburg Access to Justice Pro Bono Partners Program of Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina-Charlotte is pleased to recognize our committed pro bono attorneys who donated at least 20 hours of service or closed three or more cases for our clients in 2020.

Individuals with asterisks next to their names completed more than 50 hours of pro bono service in 2020.

Congratulations and thank you to the dedicated legal professionals listed below. Each of you has played a key role in helping our agencies provide access to justice to low-income clients in our community.

Stephen D. Allred

*Keith F. Atkinson

Katharine Yale Barnes

Robert Locke Beatty

Russel P. Blaise*

Linda Elise Boss

Demi Lorant Bostian*

Richard Christian Brose

Alesha Brown

Hugh Hagan Brown

Emily Lynn Cantrell

Jules Wesley Carter*

Diana C. Castro*

Avery Devin Catlin

Joy McMurry Chappell

Katherine Susie Clarke

Amanda Marie Colley

David A. Concha*

Richar H. Conner III*

G. Lee Cory Jr.*

Carly Michelle Couch*

Matthew H. Crow*

Heather W. Culp*

Kevin L. Denny

Adam Karl Doerr*

W. Scott Dove

Addison Walker Dufour

Anastasia Elizabeth Fanning

Richard L. Farley

Walter D. Fisher Jr.*

Jacob Richard Franchek*

Jasmine Kelly Gardner

Edward Staples Garrett*

Matille Clark Gibbons

Christ K. Glista*

Jeffre C. Grady*

Stephanie E. Greer Fulcher

George V. Hanna III

James T. Hedrick Jr.

William Robinson Heroy*

Karen Marie Hinkley*

Travis Styres Hinman

Thomas G. Hooper

Rebecca Joan Horton

Brett Alan Hubler

Alexis Marie Iffert

David H. Jones

Sarah B. Kemble

Mark W. Kinghorn*

Heryka Rodriguez Knoespel*

Jonathan C. Krisko

Jodie H. Lawson*

Emily H. Leazer

Nicholas Haynes Lee

Antone J. Little*

Lauren Elizabeth Lowry

Dana C. Lumsden

Jonathan Adam Martin

Hilary Renee Levine May

William C. Mayberry

Lauren Nicole McHale*

Thomas E. McNeill*

Emma Claire Merritt

Samuel Clinton Merritt*

Timoth Misner*

Elizabeth C. Murphy

Sara Elizabeth Ohlman

Fern A. Paterson

Kim Brett Perez

Kathleen Elizabeth Perkins

Benjam M. Petitto*

Benjamin Scott Pleune

Yesenia Polanco-Galdamez*

Elham Rabiei*

Jane Rattaree*

Claire J. Rauscher

Marla Tun Reschly

Etheridge Brittin Ricks*

Carlo L. Rodes

Robert J. Roth*

Brian Michael Rowlson

Lee Kimball Royster

Brett Michael Shockley

Ronald J. Shook

Courtney Crook Shytle

John N. Suhr Jr.

Nadira Aisha Swinton

Daniel Lee Tedrick*

Lauren Tonon

Nicholas Evan Tosco

Leslie Campbell Tucker III

Ann Lee Warren

R. Kent Warren

Sara Page Waugh

Brian Marlowe Weynand

Abigail Forrister Williams

Joseph Miles Wobbleton

Fred M. Wood Jr.

Karlee Nicole Wroblewski

Julian H. Wright Jr.*

Erik R. Zimmerman*

North Carolina attorney volunteers!

Be sure to report your pro bono hours to the N.C. Pro Bono Resource Center to be recognized with your colleagues statewide for your service. Visit ncprobono.org/volunteer/ to learn more about the N.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1 and statewide pro bono initiatives.

Attorneys who report at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services in a year will be inducted into the NC Pro Bono Honor Society and receive a certificate from the Supreme Court of North Carolina recognizing their service. Learn more and report your hours at https://ncprobono.org/report/.

The Gift of a Second Chance

Javourya Winstead had several charges in her youth as a result of being, in her own words, “young and reckless.” Although these charges were from long ago, she still faced the collateral consequences of her past convictions.  

Javourya with her son

Criminal records significantly hinder social mobility, particularly for Black people and other communities of color. Expungement reduces the list of nonviolent offenses that will “flag” a criminal background check, which can automatically disqualify someone for a job. In addition to removing barriers to employment, research shows that expungement leads to increased wages and reduces recidivism—the possibility of someone receiving another charge or becoming re-incarcerated. 

 Eighty-five percent of our clients who seek expungements are Black. Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy is working toward eliminating the collateral consequences of the criminal justice system, giving people who deserve it a second chance, and ensuring individual’s past mistakes are not a substantial barrier to economic opportunity. With our systemic advocacy initiatives, Governor Cooper signed the Second Chance Act into law, which expands eligibility for N.C. residents to have nonviolent criminal offenses removed from their records through expunctions. 

Javourya felt that her past actions no longer reflected the person she is today: “In reality, everybody’s done something [wrong], whether you got caught or not; it’s the principle that I had to own up to it. I did it. And the only thing I can do is change.” She reached out to Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy just to see if her record could be expunged: “I hesitated because I thought, ‘I don’t know if my record’s good enough.” To her surprise, it was.  

No longer burdened with past mistakes, Javourya “felt like the world lifted off my shoulders. . .  I’ve heard ‘no’ so much because of my record that it finally feels good to be able to say sooner or later I’m going to hear a ‘yes.’”  

With her record expunged, Javourya has been able to support herself and her three-year old son and is attending school for real estate this fall. She encourages others like herself to “just make that one phone call and talk to someone at Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy because they are the professionals and know what they’re talking about. One mistake should not be a lifetime sentence.” 

Learn more about the Access To Justice Campaign here.

A “Little Safe Place on Elizabeth Avenue”

Melody in her chef uniform

Even before the pandemic, Melody and her family were facing a difficult year. Because of her husband’s heart condition and sister’s disability, Melody was the only member of her family bringing in any income, the majority of which went to paying medical bills and old property taxes her parents had left unpaid after they passed away. Melody was chipping away at the balance but could not keep up: she soon received a letter that the county would foreclose on their home. 

“I was devastated,” Melody shared, “I thought I had tried so hard to get nowhere. I was the only one working and I was putting my family in danger of losing their home.”  

Holding back tears, she still went into work the next day. Combining her love of southern food and her own Native Lumbee cuisines, Melody has been whipping up the daily special at Showmars in the Charlotte Government Center for years. A regular customer noticed she was upset and asked what was wrong. Melody explained her situation and he told her about an organization that could help: Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy.  

Melody, her husband, Jerry, and grandson

Melody quickly connected with The Advocacy Center’s Consumer Protection Unit. We assured Melody “not to worry” and worked with Melody and the county to negotiate a payment plan and that included forgiveness of substantial old tax due from the mid-2000’s. Melody and her family were no longer at risk of foreclosure; they could keep their home. In her own words, it “felt like somebody was on my side other than God himself.” 

Melody calls Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina-Charlotte “my little safe place on Elizabeth avenue,” and it’s no surprise why: 

“It brightens my day every time I drive by that building!”

As the pandemic progressed, it became clear Melody and her family had other unaddressed legal needs. Melody was worried about being able to make her payments on time after she was furloughed. She connected with Legal Aid, and soon received expanded unemployment benefits under the CARES act.  “I wouldn’t have been able to make those payments, I would’ve lost it all.” 

Melody is the proud grandmother of nine grandchildren: “Them arms around you and everything is most important, my family.”

As part of our work we learned that Melody’s sister, Wendy’s social security benefits had been terminated despite her disability. The Advocacy Center stepped back in to ensure she was receiving the benefits she was entitled to. The Advocacy Center’s Family Support and Healthcare Unit, also assisted Wendy in applying for food stamps to help their family through this crisis.  Melody would soon turn 65, so we also ensured everything was in order for her to receive Medicare in a few short months.  

After working with Melody she says, “They see you as a person and a human being. Almost like Winnie the pooh would say: ‘they’re the best.’ You can tell I watch too many cartoons with the grandkids!” 

2021 Access to Justice Champions

We are grateful for those who are leading the way to fund our COVID-19 effort to ensure safety, stability, and security for all during these uncertain times. Your support enables us to continue this important work and adapt to meet our community’s needs. Despite the challenges that this year has placed upon us, we know we can count on you.

These donors have contributed at the leadership level of $1,000 or more to the 2021 Access to Justice Campaign benefiting Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina and bringing over our $500,000 goal.

Mecklenburg Access to Justice Champions sticker

John Mitchell and Linda MacDonald Aberman

John A. Fagg

T. Hal Clarke

Christopher and Anne Lam

Lisa Howell

Heather and Chris Culp

Paul R. Kinny

Mary Mandeville and Kirk Keever

Heloise C. Merrill

Bank of America Corporation

David Sobul

Jason and Jennifer Schubert

Alston & Bird

Brian Hayles

David and Lyn Batty

Julian and Amy Wright

Robert and Christy Hancock

Brett and Julie A. Durham

Christine and Trevor Hoke

Stephen Luke Largess

John and Meredith Jeffries

Emily Kern and Mark Metz

Robert L. Mendenhall

D. Blaine and Ann Morgan Sanders

Sean and Jacqueline Jones 

Angela H. Zimmern

Robert and Caroline Sink

Alice Richey and David Pitser

Paul and Julia Steffens

James R. Cass

Jonathan Ferry

Patricia F. Hosmer

Peter and Anne Covington

Catherine and Jeffrey Barnes

Redding Jones, PLLC

David B. Whelpley

Stewart and Anna McQueen

Porter Durham

Allen and Jennie Robertson

Jared and Courtney Mobley

George & Deb Hanna

Lisbeth B. Schorr

The McIntosh Law Firm

Jared and Courtney Mobley

Shawn McGrath

Troutman Pepper

Robert and Alicia Hahn

Matthew Robertson

Garland and Katherine Cassada

John Allison

Mark and Kimberly Calloway

Michael and Amanda Finlon

Robert and Laurie Fisher

Sara Higgins and Ray Owens

Jane and Milburn Ratteree

James and Mary Lou Babb

John Grupp

Edward T. Hinson Jr.

Margaret and Harrison Marshall

Pender R. McElroy

Dechert LLP

John Wester

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Greer Walker LLP

Scott and LouAnn Vaughn

Brian Barger

Naho Kobayashi

Karl Horn

Peter J. McGrath, Jr.

Mark and Michelle Nebrig

Douglas W. and Tere Ey

Steven N. Cohen

Corby and James William Anderson

Mark Gosnell

Katten Muchin Rosenman

Leslee Daugherty and Roger Gilmartin

Kevin and Elizabeth Murphy

Nelson Mullins

John N. Suhr

Lisa and Ken L. Miller

Cory and Katherine Hohnbaum

Bradley

Timika Shafeek-Horton

Keith F. Oberkfell

L. Cameron Caudle

Lincoln Derr

Mark Busch

W. Scott and Sharon Dove

Jessica and Burgin Hardin

J. Michael Booe and Rebecca Henderson

Jonathan P. Goldberg

Luther T. Moore

Tin, Fulton, Walker & Owen, PLLC

W. Todd & Debbie Stillerman

Kate Wellman

Sean and Jacqueline Jones

S. Benjamin Pleune

Allie Lin & Joseph Thomas

Bryon Mulligan

William C. Sloane Mayberry

Cynthia Siemasko

Bruce M. Steen

Nancy Black Norelli

McGuire Woods

My Trung Ngo

Holland and Knight

Richard Worf

Martin Brackett

Mayer Brown

Duke Energy

Nicholas Harris

Charles Alex Castle

Mayer Brown LLP

James and Mary Lou Babb

John Mitchel Aberman

Russel and Sally Robinson

Mark and Lindsay Merritt

Jameson P Wells

Alexis Iffert

John G. McDonald

Richard W. Viola

David A. Franchina

Douglass Jarrell

Matthew DeRuyter

A. Todd Brown

J. William and Susan Porter

Raj and Carter Natarajan

Charles McBrayer Sasser

Jocelyn Graham McLaughlin

Robert and Ann Cramer

Edward T. Hinson, Jr.

James Ewing

Naho Kobayashi

Staci E Rosche

David B Whelpley

Rakesh Gopalan

Brentford Martin

Katherine S Holliday

Keith Smith

Russell F Sizemore

*Donors as of March 19th, 2021*

Want to become an Access to Justice Champion? Make a contribution to be recognized as a leader of our COVID-19 effort.

Find out how.

The 2020 Election

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy logo

Friends,

The 2020 election has been certainly unprecedented. Although ballots have already been cast in North Carolina and across the nation, we understand that we likely will not know the outcome of the election for days to come. Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy recognizes and is grateful to activists and organizations that have mobilized the American public to exercise their right to vote.

North Carolinians voted early and by mail in record numbers with over four and a half million people voting absentee this season. Whether you voted in person or by mail, thank you for voting and for your commitment during this election. 

While we wait to hear who the next President Elect and our state representatives will be, we hope that you and your family can take some time to rest, reflect, and regroup. Anxieties are particularly high during elections and have been worsened by the global COVID-19 pandemic. We have endured an exhausting election year. 

The fight for justice for all does not end at the ballot box. We must continue to hold our representatives accountable for the pressing needs of our communities during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue to take action: 

  • Regularly contact your state and federal representatives to encourage them to pass legislation that extends pandemic relief efforts and expands social safety nets for your neighbors.  
  • Get involved and volunteer with local organizations; you can learn about volunteer opportunities at The Advocacy Center here.  
  • Support and, if you are able, join those who are working for racial equity.  

Let this election become your call to action and the start, if not continuation, of your commitment to access to affordable housing, food and financial security, health insurance, and justice.

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy will be here to serve our community regardless of election results. We continue to advocate for the safety, security and stability of low-income families, Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, women, the LGBTQ+ community, disabled people, veterans, and immigrants through civil legal aid. As the economic and legal repercussions of this pandemic unfold, The Advocacy Center will continue to adapt to meet urgent needs.

We are here, we are working, and we are listening.

Sincerely, 

The staff at Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy 

Standing in the Gap

Boris “Bluz” Rogers composed and performed this spoken word piece on our community’s justice gap for Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina at the 2019 Justice for ALL breakfast.

Learn more about Charlotte’s Justice Gap

On the corner of 4th and McDowell stands a young woman or young man with papers that say “order to appear” in their hands.

And how they appear or show up in the system is sometimes determined by what their income is. Can you imagine this?

That the condition of your justice depends on just how much justice you can afford?

With one in three Mecklenburg County residents being low-income,

They find themselves coming into civil legal situations that they can’t afford to lose.

So imagine being in their shoes.

Standing in front of the courthouse trying to figure your life out.

And the frustration builds because you begin to feel that the phrase “Justice for all” doesn’t apply at all to you.

Those shoes feel a little uncomfortable,

Like they won’t be enough to run and jump across that gap that holds a lot of low-income residents back,

Holds them back from getting their legal service needs met.

So then, the question is asked:

Which of you will stand in that gap?

When the lack of education and representation is swallowing up residents, who?

Who will stand with the cause put forth over 50 years ago to be a beacon of hope to those with no place to go?

The Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy,

Champions of victims of domestic violence and disabled veterans,

A voice for exploited immigrants and homeowners on the brink of foreclosure.

This is more than just having a lawyer in your corner.

It’s having ACCESS to equal justice.

It’s Legal Aid helping the underdog having a fair fight, an even scrap to keep their life on track.

When they started out in ’67, it was a war on poverty, a war we still fight in 2019.

But now we have more advocates and warriors of justice standing behind us, making us feel empowered.

Standing with those residents on the corner of 4th and McDowell,

Ready to enter the courthouse with a new sense of energy,

Ready to be more than just a statistic of the system,

Ready to fight for their rights for equal justice,

Understanding that the gap no longer exists because
all of you are choosing to stand in it.

Uplifting Charlotte’s residents.

Allowing no one else to fall.

Standing for equal access to justice,

And true justice for ALL.

ACCESS Matters: Lisa Howell

Lisa Stockton Howell is a community advocate and president of Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s Board of Directors. She supports ACCESS to Justice because she understands the critical role lawyers and the legal system play in the most difficult issues our community faces–poverty, economic mobility and equity.

Listen to Lisa explain her “why” in her own words in remarks she shared at the 2019 Justice for ALL breakfast:

Join Lisa in supporting the Access to Justice Campaign benefiting Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina, who have been fighting for fairness, stability and economic opportunity TOGETHER for more than 50 years.

The Access to Justice Campaign is a one-stop, tax-deductible option to financially support the Charlotte area’s civil legal aid organizations that stabilize families, promote opportunity and fight poverty by ensuring ACCESS to legal assistance for ALL people, not just those who can afford it.

Local and national policy changes have impacted the people Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid serve in critical and unexpected ways. The organizations are nimble and collaborative in addressing these changes that directly impact the lives of the most vulnerable in our community.

Support of the Access to Justice Campaign is the most stable and flexible funding source these organizations rely on both to react quickly to changing needs and to put resources in areas with the greatest need.

The support of people like Lisa makes the hard work of building a more just community possible!

Your gift ensures that ALL people have access to the legal assistance and critical resources they need to make ends meet and thrive.

Join the movement to build a more just community in which all know stability and are empowered to find opportunity.

donate button

2020 Access to Justice Champions

We are grateful for those who are leading the way to support ACCESS in our community. These donors have contributed at the leadership level of $1,000 or more to the 2020 Access to Justice Campaign benefiting Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina and bringing us even closer to our $500,000 goal.

Stacy and Christopher Ackerman
John and Courtney Allison
Stephen and Carolyn Allred
Corby and James William Anderson
Blas P. Arroyo
Catherine and Jefferey Barnes
David and Lyn Batty
A. Todd Brown
Mark Busch
Mark and Kimberly Calloway
L. Cameron Caudle
Steven N. Cohen
G. Lee Cory
Peter Covington
Robert and Ann Cramer
Sarah A. Crowder
Heather and Chris Culp
Leslee Daugherty and Roger Gilmartin
W. Scott and Sharon Dove
James E. Earle
Frank E. Emory
Doug and Tere Ey
Richard Farley
Michael and Amanda Finlon
Robert and Laurie Fisher
Douglas R Ghidina
Peter and Anne Gilchrist
Julie Zydron Griggs
Robert and Alicia Hahn


Robert and Christy Hancock
George and Deborah Hanna
Jack Hankins
Burgin and Jessica Hardin
Edwin Harris
Nicholas Harris
Rebecca S. Henderson and J. Michael Booe
Sara Higgins and Ray Owens
Christine and Trevor Hoke
Patricia Hosmer
Lisa Howell
Pamela Hutsom
H. Bryan Ives
David Jones and E. Randall Morrow
Sean Jones
Naho Kobayashi
Christopher and Anne Dunton Lam
Stephen Luke Largess
Hal Levinson
Mary Mandeville
William C. and Sloane Mayberry
John G. and Amy McDonald
Kiran Mehta
Robert Mendenhall
Heloise Merrill
Lisa and Ken Miller
Hon. Rickye McKoy-Mitchell and Rick Mitchell
Jared and Courtney Mobley

Luther T. Moore
Russell Morrison
Robert Muckenfuss
Kevin and Elizabeth Murphy
Raj Natarajan and A. Carter Arey Natarajan
My Ngo
Nancy Norelli
Keith F. Oberkfell
Matthew Emile Orso
Larry Polsky
J. William and Susan Porter
Norfleet Pruden
Jane Ratteree
Allen and Jennie Robertson
Alice Richey
Jason and Jennifer Schubert
Jane Whitt Sellers
Timika Shafeek-Horton
Curtis Sidden Jr.
Robert and Caroline Sink
Michael D Smith
Bruce Steen
Paul Steffens
Jay Suhr
Anne M. Tompkins
Scott and LouAnn Vaughn
Richard Viola
Kate Wellman
John Wester
Lisa and Richard Worf
Julian and Amy Wright

* Donors as of February 5, 2020 *

Want to become an Access to Justice Champion?
Make a contribution to be recognized as a leader
taking a stand for ACCESS in our community.

Your support of civil legal aid changes lives.

Find out how.

Access to Justice Campaign Kicks Off for 2020

Nearly 500 local supporters, attorneys, community leaders and advocates gathered to celebrate ACCESS to legal assistance in our community at the 13th annual Justice for ALL breakfast Oct. 23.

The event officially kicked off the 2020 Access to Justice Campaign benefiting Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina, raising more than $90,000 toward our $500,000 goal.

Timika Shafeek-Horton, chair of the 2020 Access to Justice Campaign, reiterated how critical individual support is for the viability of these organizations and more importantly, our broader community:

“Simply put: the more financial resources each organization has, the more individuals and families in need they can serve in the ways that have the greatest impact. By supporting more families, our community will be stronger for everyone as we work together to address issues of equity, fairness, mobility and opportunity.”

Check out highlights from
Justice for ALL 2019!

Join the movement to build a more just community in which all know stability and are empowered to find opportunity.

donate button

The Access to Justice Campaign is currently underway and runs through the end of the year. Those who contribute a leadership gift of $1,000 or more by November 30 will be recognized as Access to Justice Champions during #GivingTuesdayCLT 2019 on December 3.

Why support the
Access to Justice Campaign

There is a justice gap in Mecklenburg County, and it plays a role in our community’s stability. One in three residents is low-income, and 71 percent of low-income residents are likely experiencing a civil legal issue that has significantly affected their lives.

However, with limited resources between the Advocacy Center and Legal Aid, there is one legal aid attorney for every 11,500 low-income residents. Families are in desperate need of legal assistance, but they can’t afford it. A friend can’t help; a church can’t help; a social worker can’t help—these families need a lawyer who understands what to do in front of a judge when stability is on the line.

Last year’s campaign raised more than $500,000 thanks to the generous support of the community and members of the Mecklenburg County Bar.

The Advocacy Center and Legal Aid use these funds to provide coordinated legal assistance that responds to rapidly changing community needs.

The Access to Justice Campaign is the most stable funding source these organizations depend on to serve the community because it it provides flexibility when traditional funding sources go away.

Together, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina fight on their behalf every day to ensure fairness under the law that preserves stability and allows them make ends meet.