2021 Access to Justice Conference

Wednesday, August 11, 2021 - 8:30am to Friday, August 13, 2021 - 12:15pm

2021 Access to Justice Conference

Crisis and Reckoning: A Call to Dismantle Unjust Systems

Watch ACLU-WA Executive Director Michele Storms' keynote, "Justice Begins at Home: Finding the Strength and Care We Need to Fight Injustice in our World."

This year’s theme is Crisis and Reckoning: A Call to Dismantle Unjust Systems. The conference took place virtually August 11-13, 2021

We came together against the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis, which has revealed and deepened existing inequalities, and a growing national conversation about systemic racism. To meet the demands of this moment, the conference highlights the work of non-legal community-based organizations, and provides the opportunity for community advocates and legal professionals to build partnerships to advance justice.

The conference focused on six tracks:
  1. Racial Justice: Community movements to advance racial justice, combatting anti-Asian hate, building coalition to advance racial equity, intersectional impacts of race and disability and other topics, community engagement, land acknowledgements, and other topics.
  2. Youth: Racism in schools, combatting the school to prison pipeline, the child welfare system, and holistic representation for youth with disabilities, and other topics
  3. Immigrant’s Rights: Mutual aid in immigrant communities, grassroots advocacy and access to legal services, and other topics.
  4. Criminal Justice and Reentry: Reentry after long periods of incarceration, alternatives to the criminal legal system, legal financial obligations, restorative justice, healing families impacted by incarceration, and other topics
  5. Gender Justice: Serving criminalized survivors, self-represented litigants in family court, tech-enabled abuse, gender inequities in Washington’s legal system, LGBTQ+ survivors of violence, and other topics.
  6. Housing and Homelessness: Housing law post-eviction moratorium and right to counsel, community-based services for homeless people, and other topics.

The conference featured keynote speakers Chief Justice Steve Gonzalez of the Washington Supreme Court, Senator Rebecca Saldana, Justice Helen Whitener, and Michele Storms, Executive Director of the ACLU of Washington. It will also feature presentations from the Monroe Black Prisoner’s Caucus, NAACP Youth Council, Spokane Coalition Against Racism, Asian Pacific Islander Coalition, and 10 other community-based organizations and activists directly impacted by the justice system.