University Legal Services' Statement of Solidarity
Birthed out of the civil rights movement and catalyzed by civil unrest triggered by the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., University Legal Services (ULS) helps working families seeking affordable homeownership turn their dreams into reality, and advocates so that people with disabilities can engage in society with the same equal rights, protections and opportunities as all Americans.
Consistent with our founding principles, ULS stands in solidarity with the family of George Floyd, and we reflect on the memories of the countless other African-American people who have all too often suffered a similar fate at the hands of police. ULS also stands with the peaceful protestors, many who are now being viewed as enemies and combatants, rather than individuals over whom law enforcement should be guardians.
And we are angry and frustrated that the great American tradition of exercising one’s First Amendment rights through protest is deemed a patriotic privilege for some and an exercise of mayhem for others. Our country’s time-honored traditions written in the earliest documents of its founding on the protection of individual rights and justice have taken a back seat to the protection of property rights, which in centuries past triggered a revolution.
We don’t feel encouraged, but we are hopeful.
As Americans, we believe we are leaders in the advancement of justice. The great irony is that when in motion, these movements that challenged the status quo were viewed as ‘radical’ only later to be embraced as our proudest moments as a society. But let’s not wait. Let’s not wait for a ‘convenient season’ to embrace the upending of systemic racism. The time is now. And through our work supporting District residents with housing needs, and advocating on behalf of people with disabilities, we seek to bend the arc toward justice.
Washington Post Story about Failure of St. Elizabeths Hospital to Protect Patients from COVID-19 - Article in the Washington Post about DRDC’s report detailing the failures of St. Elizabeths Hospital to protect patients from COVID-19, which led to seventeen deaths and more than half of the patients infected. Another tragic example of how the pandemic has disproportionately affected District residents of color, who account for 90% of the District’s COVID-19 deaths.
DCist Story about HHS OCR Resolution of DRDC's Federal Complaint Challenging MedStar Health's Discriminatory COVID-19 Hospital Visitor Policy
WAMU Story About Abuse at St. Elizabeths Hospital (Audio)
University Legal Services - Soul of DC
Interview with CEO of University Legal Services in Washington DC, Jane Brown