Statement of Indiana Legal Services On Racial Equality and Oppression
The work we do every day at Indiana Legal Services demonstrates that race and poverty are inextricably linked, that black and brown people continue to be marginalized, and that the consequences of the economic downturn are borne disproportionately by people of color.
Year after year, a third of the clients we serve are African American, while only 9% of the state population is African American. African American poverty is inextricably linked to the history of slavery and continued racial oppression in our state and our country. Many parts of Indiana had enforced explicit segregation of public accommodations and schools little more than 50 years ago.
Our work addresses these racial disparities. We help people of color to retain their housing when they are being evicted, to obtain health insurance and unemployment compensation, to address family violence, and to escape the effects of incarceration by expunging convictions and obtaining driver’s licenses.
That work is good, but it is not enough. As an organization, we pledge to find ways to address racial disparities in the justice system and to use legal tools to promote equity and fight oppression. We will continue to do our best to live out our mission to fight poverty, empower clients, and increase access to justice.