What’s wrong with random acts of kindness? Don’t they brighten a stranger’s day? The problem is that our needs, and our suffering, are not all the same.
COLE THALER | August 28, 2018 The word “race” does not appear in AVLF’s mission statement or vision statement, but there’s no question that the work we do on behalf of low-income tenants is racial justice work. Here’s why. 1. Housing inequality in Atlanta is not race-neutral. In a 2016 paper, the Federal Reserve Bank […]
Every day in Atlanta, landlords carry out illegal evictions. They toss their tenants out without the benefit of court filings or a hearing, often because rent is a few days late. Most of the tenants who call AVLF have no prior warning of these “self-help” evictions. They simply return home to find that their key no longer fits in the lock, and peer through their own windows to see that all of their belongings have been removed or ransacked.
AVLF distributes children’s books during every Saturday Lawyer Clinic, where volunteer attorneys meet with clients about housing and employment issues. The reason why might surprise you.
It never even occurred to me that My Atlanta wasn’t the Atlanta: that my perception was limited by my footprints, which were guided by my privilege.
Today, as an attorney working on behalf of low-income clients facing housing instability, there is something sanitized about my profession and my persona. When I meet with clients, I presume that I can access all kinds of personal information about them – but that they will not learn anything about me. I am neutral, unmarked, The Professional – not a human being with personality quirks, and certainly not a human being with a first-hand experience of poverty. Perhaps attorneys have more in common with our clients than we are used to looking for. And perhaps sharing those stories, forging those connections, is worth the risk of letting our professional masks drop.