Six in Six - Week 2: Lessons of my parents
For the past 28 years, I've been an attorney in NC representing and working with low income individuals and communities. I have been extremely fortunate over the years to have fallen in with people who strongly believed that we all have a duty to make this world a better place during the brief time we are here. Those influences in my life of course start with my parents. My mom and dad worked hard their entire lives to provide for my brother and me, allowing us to go to college and pursue “work” not to make money, but because it was what we wanted to spend our time on, something my parents never dreamed of. My parents also made sure my brother and I understood we should always try to provide a hand up to whoever may need help, not because we might need that same hand up, but because it was the RIGHT way to live our lives.
Those lessons of my parents have been reinforced with me over and over again here in NC for nearly 30 years by a host of colleagues, allies, friends and mentors. I learned that the law can be an incredible tool for good in the world and an instrument for progress for individuals and communities alike. We all know the jokes told all too often about greedy or unprincipled attorneys, or both. But my experiences have been the opposite. I've been lucky enough to work with some of the kindest and most altruistic attorneys imaginable. They’ve taught me you can be fulfilled by fighting the good fight for what is right.
I count the NC Housing Coalition as one of those groups that I was blessed to be associated with early on. Who can say no a group that is “working for decent, affordable housing that promotes self-determination and stable communities for low and moderate income North Carolinians?” Besides having a mission that is fundamentally righteous and once achieved makes us all better off, the NC Housing Coalition is just that, a coalition. During these times of incredibly divisive ideological attacks and debates, the “Coalition” is a tent big enough to have members from across the ideological spectrum, Democrat, Republican, Independent and others, those working in the for-profit and non-profit worlds, in government, in banking, community activists, business leaders and virtually across all manner of endeavors. That is the genius of the “Coalition.” People and organizations that may differ on some matters, working together because of their recognition that a safe, decent and affordable place to live is key to success.
I'm proud to have been a member of the Coalition over the years. We need more institutions like the Coalition that show us that there is much more that unites us than divides us. Its work is so important these days as far too many families and individuals struggle financially across NC. There is much to do before we fulfill the Coalition’s mission. It can be done and will only be accomplished if we all pitch in and support the advancement of the Coalition’s work across NC.
I hope you'll make a
contribution this holiday season to help the Coalition continue this work.
Director of Advocacy, NC Justice Center