What if marginalized youth of color--the same youth that are being funneled out of classrooms and into correctional facilities--had access and opportunity to become the legal advocates our communities so desperately need? What if THEY were the ones empowered to impact our incredibly messed up legal system? Because, who better than them?
I've dedicated the last four years of my professional life to trying to help build resources for organizations that I believe have the potential to create systemic change and increase equity in our community, and I can't think of a better organization to promote at this time #blackhistorymonth #blackfuturemonth (or at any time, really) than Esq. Apprentice--a recently launched non-profit providing a NO COST pipeline for low-income youth of color to become lawyers through legal apprenticeship programs (no law school debt).
I joined the board and donate $20 a month (for me, that's one dinner out a month) to this organization because:
1. I think the world would be a much better place if those most impacted by the legal system were the ones in a position to change it.
2. I was one very bright, passionate, naughty, bad ass, youth with very little impulse control (just ask my parents, a handful of very patient but overburdened teachers, or several New Jersey or Pennsylvania police officers). What made a difference in my life was the incredible amount of support, mentorship, love, and opportunity I received, no matter how many times I messed up. And INVESTMENT. People (my family especially) invested indispensable resources in me: time and money. I don't want to understate the importance of either. Both make a hell of a difference. Not everyone has family that can do that, so we must be each other's family.
3. I think the Executive Director, Rachel Johnson-Farias is going to change the world, and she's going to take a gang of youth of color along with her.
I hope you'll consider making an investment too. If you're interested in getting involved, do let me, Rachel, or any of the other Esq. Apprentice board members know. And please share with your peoples who you think may be interested in investing in something like this. My lawyer friends (especially my lawyer friends of color), I see you! This could happen nationwide! Let's build!