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.

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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.

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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.