It is with great sadness that we inform you Tim Lee, longtime VLP board member and staunch advocate for folks battling mental illness, passed away yesterday morning.
We received several messages from those lucky enough to work with Tim, and the words “kind” and “thoughtful” showed up in every single one. Tim led his life with wisdom, consideration, and patience. To quote one of Tim’s colleagues: “I was always impressed with Tim’s…commitment to helping people that society has turned its back on. He was a true champion for the unfortunate.”
In Tim’s memory, let us continue our work and let us never forget to stay kind and thoughtful.
We will be sending out information regarding Tim’s service and how you can support his family soon.
Thank you to everyone who has offered words of sympathy,
VLP will be closed tomorrow in honor of Juneteenth, a holiday that celebrates the ending of slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, word reached Galveston, TX about the end of slavery- a full two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth began as a Texas state holiday and has spread to be a nationwide celebration. To learn the history of Juneteenth, please visit https://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm.
VLP celebrates Juneteenth to recognize the importance of Black history and in acknowledgment of the injustices still faced the Black community today. Find resources for self-care, education, and support at https://vlpnet.org/blm/
Happy Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month! Celebrate AAPI pride, history, and triumphs! Performances, historical trivia, panel discussions, and more content for folks with Asian heritage & their allies can be found here.
Statement taken from BlackLivesMatter.com, author’s name not given. Click here to read the statement on BLM.
The Derek Chauvin Verdict
George Floyd should be here.
We mourn as his family mourns and support them in finding solace and accountability through the guilty verdict — because like countless others, they have been put in a position that they did not deserve.
But let’s be clear — This verdict does not change what we know all too well: White supremacy still exists.
An oppressive, racist system cannot and never will deliver justice for our people. It will never keep us safe. What we saw today was some form of accountability — not justice. Justice would mean George Floyd would be here. Justice would mean a system not rooted in white supremacy. It would be the end of state-sanctioned violence. It would be defunded police. It would be investments in our communities.
It remains abundantly clear that this still does not bring our loved ones back. We do not get George Floyd back. His daughter and family have to grow up without him. The day we will truly achieve justice is the day that no Black person is taken from us at the hands of police.
Let us continue to work toward abolition and Black liberation — one where Black people across the diaspora thrive, experience joy, and are no longer defined by their struggles.
Let us continue the work toward a world where there are no more George Floyds.
In the name of Black lives — the work will not stop until there are no more.
It is with somberness and respect that we announce the passing of Attorney Maren Robinson.
The shooting we have seen this week is a stark reminder of the need to decry the racial, ethnic, and gender-based violence that has remained a consistent part of our nation’s culture.
This latest travesty is one instance in a long legacy of cruelty. Such acts of violence instill fear which takes away a basic sense of safety that allows humans to reach their full potential.
Women of all backgrounds, LGBTA+ citizens, folks who are Black, and Americans of Asian heritage deserve safety and security, and their lives matter. We stand against all violence, and we will continue our work to fight injustice.
-Joanna Allison, Executive Director
Please be aware VLP will be closed on the following dates for winter break.
December 24 – January 3
Stay safe and have a good winter season!
Make a gift in honor of Giving Tuesday before Friday, and your gift–and your impact–will be doubled! Donate today @ https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/supportvlp
Your support will help us continue to provide high-quality pro bono legal assistance to our clients, especially those hit hardest by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Thank you for your generosity this Giving Tuesday!
VLP & our call center ERLI are open today, tomorrow, and part of Wednesday. Please note our Thanksgiving schedule: Weds (11/25) we will close at 2:30 p.m., and we will be closed Thurs (11/26) and Fri (11/27). Stay safe!
Chief Justice Gants once said: “There is abundant room for discussions that begin with the words, ‘What if…?'”
This lifelong attitude was part of what made Ralph Gants a true pillar in the legal community. For him, “What if?” was not just a rhetorical question–it was a challenge. Chief Justice Gants championed progress and access to justice. He was never afraid to speak up, even if he spoke alone. Chief Justice Gants spoke out about injustices and corruption, and he inspired hope in a fairer justice system. It was in that spirit that he helped create the Access to Justice Commission in Massachusetts. Knowing he was paying attention to citizens with needs, and looking out for any future needs of the Commonwealth, was something we could always count on.
One of his later decisions was to close the courts statewide back in March. This decision was unpopular, and he faced loud opposition, but it ended up saving lives and it truly embodies his “people first” perspective. He always said that being the smartest person in the room wasn’t going to help anyone if you were not, first and foremost, a human being.
After the stay-at-home order had been issued, Chief Justice Gants was asked if any measures were being taken to help those dealing with Civil Appeals. “I’m not sure,” he said. “Let’s make it happen!” He saw a need, and he did whatever he could to help make a solution to that need.
Chief Justice Gants recognized that VLP was a leader, and the right organization to be tasked with the creation of a Civil Appeals virtual clinic. Chief Justice Gants knew how “agile, imaginative, and persevering our judicial workforce can be,” and therefore he had nothing but faith and confidence in organizations like ours as new realities of the Covid-19 pandemic set in. He once said that “there would be no justice without VLP.”
To mourn a public hero is difficult, but to grieve a friend hurts all the more. Chief Justice Gants was a vocal and active supporter of VLP since being appointed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and he has touched so many of our lives professionally and personally. We all can honor Chief Justice Gants’ spirit by continuing to persevere and by holding onto that inspiring voice in the back of our minds which spurs us on even when times are tough.
To quote Chief Justice Gants, we must keep going so that a future generation will say of us, “This was their finest hour.”