Legal Services of Eastern Missouri has three Advocates selected as 2021 National Race Equity Fellows
Leaders to Join Network of Advocates Advancing Racial Justice Across the Country
By: Legal Services of Eastern Missouri
"The past year has laid bare systemic inequities that many members of our community face daily," said Dan Glazier, Legal Services Executive Director and General Counsel. "We are gratified that Earlene, Katherine and Amanda have all been selected for this incredible opportunity to bolster our advocacy with the core principles of race equity."
This year's RJI Fellows include a diverse group of public interest lawyers, legal aid attorneys, community advocates, executive leaders, and even a judge. They come from 16 organizations advancing justice in 10 states, including 11 organizations new to the RJI.
The 2021 Fellows come to the Racial Justice Institute with experience in a wide range of advocacy areas, including criminal justice reform, healthcare, second chance opportunities, economic justice, disability justice, immigrants' rights, and affordable housing. Under the intensive seven-month RJI program that begins in May, the 2021 Fellows will be exposed to a core set of racial equity concepts that they can apply to the advocacy in which they are currently engaging.
"This year's Fellows are working with communities facing many systemic challenges, including individuals experiencing discrimination in the criminal justice system, people with disabilities facing intersectional issues and discrimination, and families of color harmed by the child welfare system," said Janerick Holmes, Associate Director of the Racial Justice Institute and Network. "RJI will offer these Fellows a framework to contextualize structural racism, systems thinking, social cognition, and implicit bias that they can use to confront and impact racial disparities in the communities they serve."
Earlene Bolton is the outreach coordinator for Legal Services' Connecting Kids to Coverage program, and has expertise in Medicaid outreach and enrollment. A staff attorney in Legal Services' public benefits program, Katherine Holley has developed important community partnerships while conducting food stamp outreach to able-bodied adults. Amanda Schneider manages Legal Services' Health Justice Initiative/Education Justice Project, which works to address the root causes of inequities in health and education, and doing community outreach with a racial equity lens.
Together, Earlene, Kate and Amanda, with the support of the RJI program, hope to advance health equity in Missouri by increasing the enrollment of Black men—a group with historically low rates of health coverage—in Missouri's Medicaid program.
Ann Marie Mayuga