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Racial Justice and Equity

Legal Aid Society's Racial Justice and Equity Team advances diversity, equity, and inclusion by promoting justice and engaging in community outreach and education.

What is Racial Justice?

The systematic fair treatment of people of all races, resulting in equitable opportunities and outcomes for all. Racial justice—or racial equity—goes beyond “anti-racism.” It is not just the absence of discrimination and inequities, but also the presence of deliberate systems and supports to achieve and sustain racial equity through proactive and preventative measures.

– Race Forward, “Race Reporting Guide” (2015).

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LAS Racial Justice Team Tackles Bias for Legal Aid inside and outside the courtroom

For years, the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has been a champion for the legal rights of people living on a low-income and in vulnerable situations. We witness daily the hardship caused by denied access to justice.

That's why we fight tirelessly in courtrooms and communities, the only lifeline for many. The need is immense, and we press on, unwilling to wait for someone else to step up.

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Building Equity: The Birth of the LAS Racial Justice and Equity Team

In response to the violent murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, Legal Aid Society responded to the racial injustice by forming a Racial Justice and Equity Team (RJET).

RJET spent months:

  • educating staff;
  • reviewing internal policies; and
  • promoting diversity within the organization and its vendors

The goal of RJET is to:

  • actively change policies and beliefs that perpetuate racist ideas and actions;
  • build awareness, solutions, and leadership for racial justice; and
  • promote a community that is racially, culturally, and socially integrated and inclusive
June 3, 2020

Legal Aid Society signs the NLADA FAIR Pledge. 

June 3-4, 2020

LAS Leadership issues an internal and external letter to staff and community partners regarding the murder of George Floyd. 

June 10, 2020

LAS hosted the first Racial Justice and equity team(RJET) meeting.

June 20, 2020 

Each LAS office was offered counseling to process George Floyd's murder.  Staff participated in the Metro Human Relations protest. 

July 6 –21, 2020

Staff participated in the ABA Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge. RJET facilitated debriefing sessions each week. 

August 1, 2020 

RJET finalized the  1-Year Racial Justice and Equity internal and external strategic plan. 

November 4, 2020

RJET conducted the Harvard Implicit Bias Testing of for all LAS staff and volunteers. 

November 20, 2020

The annual LAS All Staff meeting was  facilitated by the Shriver Center Racial Justice Institute. Shriver educated staff on the following topics:

  • Understanding structural racialization
  • Implicit bias
  • Racial anxiety & stereotype threat
  • Strategies for mitigating bias

Our Commitment to Equity: Reflected in Our Staff

At Legal Aid Society, we believe in transparency and building a strong foundation. That starts with understanding the profile of our dedicated staff.

Here's a glimpse into the diverse makeup of our 119 staff members, who share a passion for justice and work tirelessly to advocate for those in need.

The visualizations below showcase the current demographics of our staff, categorized by ethnicity, gender, and generations. 

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Ethnicity at a Glance

Hispanic/ Latino
Non defined
Two or More Races

Gender Identity at a Glance

Prefer not to say

Generations at a Glance

Baby Boomers (1945 - 1964)
Generation X (1965 - 1980)
Millennials (1981-1994)
Generation Z (1995 - 2010)