The Legal Aid Society issued the following statement today celebrating the organization’s 142nd anniversary and International Women’s Day:
“As The Legal Aid Society’s 142nd anniversary coincides with the celebration of International Women’s Day today, we stop and reflect over the recent changes that have taken place. The vision of our founders in 1876 that equal access to justice should not be denied because of poverty was a tremendous dream that we work every day to make a reality.
From its early days, The Legal Aid Society has particularly championed the rights of women, fighting for immigrant working women who needed the protection of the law with wage and dismissal claims. Today, our clients include survivors of domestic abuse, undocumented women seeking a living wage, homeless women trying to secure a safe place for their children to sleep, trans women fighting for health care and women held at Rikers away from their families and communities simply because they cannot afford bail. We are the change for women in New York City, but we do not lose sight of the plight of women throughout the world. We stand in solidarity with those celebrating throughout the world the extraordinary and transcendent contributions of women.
The words of the Honorable Learned Hand, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, spoken at the 75th anniversary celebration of The Legal Aid Society in 1951, were never truer than they are today: “If we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment: Thou Shalt Not Ration Justice.” Today, in the face of new challenges confronting our clients, we stand with them, steadfast for justice.”