“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is,
What are you doing for others?” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
As we entered the last month of 2020 —December, and the ninth month of the COVID-19 pandemic, for each of us the world has changed in ways that we did not imagine before March 2020. Terms like socially distanced, six feet apart, face masks, quarantine, immediate family, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, what tier are we in, vaccine, Dr. Fauci, have become part of our daily vernacular. We long for the day when we can convene and enjoy each other’s company without the fear of COVID-19. Most of us in the legal community are privileged to be able to pivot to the new normal without despair and hope.
Others, however, are not so lucky. In California a statewide survey showed that nonprofits are struggling though they “continu[e]to live [their] missions, lead with [their] hearts and values and serve their] communities well.” (CalNonproftis Article: We Ask the Community Survey.) The negative impact of the pandemic on nonprofits cannot be understated as seen by the significant reduction in funding and resources. (Ibid.)
This negative impact matters to Lawyers Club because we seek to be of service to nonprofits that provide critical services to our community’s most vulnerable populations: domestic violence survivors, sexual assault survivors, violent crime survivors, torture survivors and transgender citizens. Without sufficient funding these vulnerable populations cannot be served, which limits their ability to recover from what most of us do not see in our daily lives —their pain, despair and tears from being beaten, raped, tortured and judged as less than.
This reality is what makes Lawyers Club’s Fund for Justice unique because our goal is to make positive social change for at risk women and children in our community. This goal is more important than ever during this pandemic because “since the outbreak of COVID-19, emerging data and reports from those on the front lines, have shown that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified.” (United Nations Women: The Shadow Pandemic: Violence Against Women during COVID-19.)
This year Lawyers Club will award $25,000 to organizations that seek to improve the lives of these vulnerable populations. These grants will help the selected organizations expand their reach in San Diego County and provide emergency assistance support services, wraparound services, and community education.
Our ability to give is directly related to the generosity of our Lawyers Club community. I invite you to join us as we virtually meet the 2020 grantees on December 9. We hope this holiday season you remember to add a donation to Fund for Justice to your holiday giving, a kind and generous way to answer, “What you are doing for others this holiday season?”
I wish you and yours a wonderful, safe and healthy holiday season.
-Article first published in LC News, October 2020
Yahairah Aristy is a Deputy Public Defender, and is the 2020-2021 president of Lawyers Club of San Diego.