Last Wednesday morning, nearly 100 members of the Society of Fellows and representatives from the Boston Bar Foundation’s grantee organizations gathered for a breakfast at the Taj Boston hotel downtown. The group came together to celebrate the positive impact of their support of the BBF in the community and look ahead to the important work that remains to be done in the coming months. Check out the photos from the event here.
Lisa Goodheart (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen), Patricia Comfort (Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts) and Taci Darnell (Fidelity)
This year, in addition to funding all of the public service programs of the BBA, the BBF granted $1 million to more than 20 local legal services organizations, all of which are working on the front lines to improve access to justice for those most in need. Representatives from many of these essential community organizations attended the breakfast, with four of them participating on a panel that the BBF convened to discuss the current challenges to expanding access to justice and serving those in need. Moderated by the Honorable Nonnie Burnes, retired Superior Court judge, the panel engaged Jacqui Bowman of Greater Boston Legal Services, Betsy Soule of MetroWest Legal Services, Ronnie Millar of the Irish International Immigrant Center, and Samantha Morton of Medical-Legal Partnership Boston in a substantive panel discussion of emerging trends in Boston’s legal services field given recently enacted and proposed public policy shifts at the federal level.
Betsy Soule (MetroWest Legal Services), Samantha Morton (Medical-Legal Partnership Boston), Ronnie Millar (Irish International Immigrant Center) and Jacquelynne Bowman (Greater Boston Legal Services) speak on a panel at the Society of Fellows Appreciation Breakfast, moderated by Hon. Nonnie Burnes (Ret.).
Despite serious concerns about the future of access to justice in the areas of immigration, healthcare, housing and more, the panelists were encouraged by the outpouring of support for their work by the Massachusetts private bar. They hope that this momentum will continue and leave them better equipped to address the community’s increased needs during this difficult time.
The Society of Fellows is a vibrant community of more than 400 Boston leaders who are the backbone of the BBF’s efforts to expand access to justice and leverage the power of lawyers to improve our community in many different ways. Interested in learning more about how the Society provides the foundation for all of the BBF’s work and how you might get involved? Contact Tara Trask at email@example.com or (617) 778-1984.
As discussions around criminal justice reform continue, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) recently heard from Segun Idowu, the Co-Organizer of the Boston Police Camera Action Team (BPCAT). In addition to his role with BPCAT, Idowu works at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate where he is currently the Visitor Services Manager, and is the 3rd Vice-President for the Boston chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He helped organize BPCAT after the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014 and in September 2016, the Boston Police Commissioner announced the start of the body camera pilot program and in March, the program was extended to allow more time for data collection. BPCAT worked with community partners such as the ACLU of Massachusetts to help develop the pilot program’s policy that was adopted by the City of Boston and they continue to follow the results of the program.
You can read more about the work of BPCAT on their website.
On Wednesday, BBA Lawyer Referral Service (BBA LRS) staff attended the 2017 Victim Rights Conference hosted by the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance (MOVA) in honor of April’s Victim Rights Awareness Month. This annual conference brings together survivors and victim service providers for a day of learning and networking through exhibitors and workshops. The BBA LRS emphasized its mission to connect individuals with legal assistance, highlighting its ability to connect callers with lawyers and resources in a wide range of areas.
Conference attendees were welcomed by Attorney General Maura Healey and the Executive Director of MOVA, Liam Lowney. The conference recognized and celebrated both advocates and survivors of crime throughout the Commonwealth, highlighting the importance of empowering the voices and stories of victims and to bring attention to some of the racial and social justice issues facing the city.
Community outreach events like these are opportunities for the BBA to raise awareness about the LRS and the resources it has to both members of the public and other non-profits. If you would like more information about the LRS, please contact Solana Goss, LRS Operations Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-778-1978.