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.
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.