EJC to host Beacon of Justice Awards ceremony at State House

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Catherine Rizos

Equal Justice Coalition to Host Beacon of Justice Awards Ceremony at State House March 23

Honoring Justice Robert Cordy; AG Maura Healey; state Sens. Harriette Chandler and Karen Spilka; and state Reps. Claire Cronin, Paul Donato, and Brad Hill

BOSTON, March 11, 2016—Honoring lawmakers and legal professionals for supporting civil legal aid, the Equal Justice Coalition and the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) will host the Beacon of Justice Awards ceremony and a reception at the State House on Thursday, March 23 at 6 p.m.

State Sens. Harriette Chandler and Karen Spilka, and state Reps. Claire Cronin, Paul Donato, and Bradford Hill will be presented with Beacon of Justice Awards for their outstanding support of increasing state funding for civil legal aid through MLAC. MLAC distributes funds to civil legal aid organizations that assist low-income individuals and families in resolving issues related to basic necessities such as housing, employment, classroom accommodations for children with disabilities, and conflicts related to child support and custody, divorce, and domestic violence.

Supreme Judicial Court Justice Robert Cordy and Attorney General Maura Healey will be honored with Champion of Justice Awards for their exceptional support for civil legal aid during their legal careers.

A report released by the Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in the fall of 2014 revealed that more than 60 percent of those eligible for civil legal aid in Massachusetts who seek services are turned away due to lack of resources. The Task Force recommended increasing the Commonwealth’s investment in civil legal aid by $10 million a year over the next three years to begin to address this unmet need. Based on the report’s recommendation, the Equal Justice Coalition and its legislative and legal allies have called for a $10 million increase in this year’s budget.

“We are incredibly grateful for the unwavering support given to civil legal aid by our Beacon of Justice and Champion of Justice honorees,” said John Carroll, Chair of the Equal Justice Coalition. “We cannot fulfill America’s promise of equal justice under the law without a robust, community-based network of legal aid programs.”

“Civil legal aid is a powerful tool that helps people living in poverty build a foundation of stability from which they can create a better future for themselves, their families, and our communities,” said Lonnie Powers, executive director of MLAC, which funds and supports organizations that provide civil legal assistance to low-income residents. “Without the commitment and support of these political and judicial leaders, the vital work accomplished by civil legal aid agencies in our Commonwealth would not be possible.”

About The Equal Justice Coalition

The Equal Justice Coalition is a collaboration of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, Massachusetts Bar Association and Boston Bar Association. It advocates increasing the state appropriation for civil legal aid, which funds programs throughout the state that provide legal advice and representation to low-income Massachusetts residents facing civil legal problems. For more information, visit https://equaljusticecoalition.org.

About MLAC

The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) was established by the legislature in 1983 to ensure that low-income people with critical, non-criminal legal problems have access to legal information, advice and representation. MLAC is the largest source of funding for civil legal aid in the Commonwealth. For more information, visit www.mlac.org.