I like George Washington. I really like Abraham Lincoln, but I revere Dr. Martin Luther King.
Dr. King asserted, “Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philathropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which makes philanthropy necessary.”
All of our best efforts to give, whether it is food, clothes, money, or legal services, while comendable, just glosses over why we have to give in the first place. We created this economic model. We decide the winners and we decide the losers. We must not give but not attend to correcting economic injustice so that one day the philanthropy becomes unnecessary.
Unless the giving is for the benefit of the giver, an equal amount of effort should be waged to fix the economic injustice as to provide the charity. Everytime someone gives something to charity, I’d like to see them devote the same to making that charity unnecessary. Only then will there come a day when a hand out, provided by the privileged haves to the needy have-nots, becomes a thing of the past, for only with that effort will we remove the need.
This is the fundamental reason we created The Justice Cafe’. It is wrong, wrong, wrong that only the well to do can afford lawyers. We wouldn’t have court houses but for tax payer money. Tax payers should be able to access their court houses; they should be able to access the lawyers.
I believe that it is principally through all people having access to lawyers, access to justice, that the economic injustice can be righted. First, The Justice Cafe’ practiced family law. Now it includes criminal law and juvenile law. Soon it will be debtor/creditor and landlord-tenant and consumer protection. Soon, very soon, the people will have the lawyers they need to obtain the justice they deserve.
And none of it provided by philanthropy. Not from the haves deciding when to portion out a small, safe measure of justice from a thimble, but justice demanded and obtained by the people rushing like a geyser. The people can obtain the tools they need, the lawyers. The people can provide for themselves. No one can close the door on them, telling them, “no justice for you today.” The people paying fair wages for fair work done, thereby securing justice for all, as our founders intended, as we all deserve.
I can never walk in that great man’s shoes. But I can still be shaken to my core by his message and I can still strive with all my energy to do my part to make real his vision for our better country.
I want this very pragmatic mechanism to put power in the hands of the people to spread like wildfire. I want the day to rush upon us when the playing field becomes level. I want our halls of justice to do all the peoples business, dispensing justice with honesty and integrity and with no regard to a person’s economic condition.
Now you know why we do, what we do. I pray that this is walking the walk.