Cook County has some of the most polluted air in the country. The responsible industries are concentrated primarily in low-income and minority neighborhoods, pumping chemicals, toxins and lead into the air and soil in these areas. These industries also place toxic dumps in these communities without considering their effects. This disproportionately impacts marginalized populations and creates new incarnations of racial injustice.
Our project hopes to prevent, reduce, and eliminate the known disproportionate environmental burdens on minority and low-income communities in Chicagoland. To do this, we are partnering with a variety of organizations and law firms to help address community concerns about the environmental injustices they face. We also present our services at grassroots meetings in needy communities and approach prevalent problems from both litigation and policy advocacy perspectives.
We invite law firms and individuals to lend the power and prestige of the private bar to our efforts in this area by becoming members of the Lawyers' Committee. In addition, we are seeking volunteers to join our Environmental Justice Advisory Board. The board will serve as a network of professional resources for the Committee's environmental justice work.
Minority groups face incarceration rates of up to six times those of their white counterparts. After incarceration, individuals are restricted in housing, employment, and government benefit opportunities, leading to increased rates of poverty and recidivism. The Project staff and volunteer attorneys seek to combat these disparities through advocacy and education both to reduce the rates of incarceration and to reduce the stigma of incarceration.
The Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights is pleased to announce the re-activation of an initiative addressing health care disparities in the metro Chicago region. While healthcare is one of the nation’s fastest growing industries, and several exciting policy and private-sector initiatives exist to improve overall national healthcare delivery, they are often not implemented homogenously. Lower-income communities with fewer resources continue to see lower access to health information technology and policy initiatives designed at increasing and streamlining access to healthcare.
Meanwhile, minorities in general, and African-Americans and American Indians in particular, get sicker, experience illnesses more severely and have higher death rates on average than their White countrymen. Factors such as low income, social isolation, less healthy environments, and, particularly, stress contribute to the high incidence of certain cancers, diabetes, and a high mortality rate. Meanwhile, racism, especially internalized racism, socio-economic status and de facto segregation have enormous impact on the quality of care that minorities are able to receive, through closures of local hospitals, denial of services to individuals without insurance, and other tactics.
The Health Disparities Project seeks to combat these disparities via litigation, advocacy and community development. As President Barack Obama has said, "Ensuring access to quality, affordable health care helps create the opportunity for all citizens to achieve the American dream. Despite advances in medicine and technology, disparities remain in our health care system for too many Americans, including racial and ethnic minorities, and particularly those living with lower incomes." Access to free, expert legal services will help overcome and eliminate these disparities.
We invite law firms and individuals to lend the power and prestige of the private bar to our efforts in this area by becoming members of the Lawyers' Committee. In addition, we are seeking volunteers to join our Health Disparities Advisory Panel. The panel will serve as a network of professional resources for the Committee's health care work.
Please contact Executive Director Jay Readey for more information on becoming a member of the Lawyers' Committee or to join an Advisory Panel. Click here to learn more about our Client Intake Process, Volunteer Opportunities, or how your support will enable these projects to make a difference in the lives of individuals facing discrimination and injustice.