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Equal Justice Works, American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, American Red Cross, and the National Disaster Legal Aid Resource Center Team Up to Launch First-ever Disaster Resilience Awareness Month

/ Press Release

Disaster Resilience Awareness Month will occur for the first time in March 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C., FEBRUARY 23, 2021—Equal Justice Works, the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, announced today that it has teamed up with the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD) Disaster Legal Services Program, the American Red Cross, Pro Bono Net and the National Disaster Legal Aid Resource Center, more commonly known as DisasterLegalAid.org, for the first-ever Disaster Resilience Awareness Month in March 2021.

“During disasters, including pandemics such as COVID-19, lawyers are critical in helping individuals and families gain stability and protect their livelihoods,” said David Stern, executive director at Equal Justice Works. “We are proud to collaborate with the ABA YLD, the American Red Cross, and DisasterLegalAid.org to spread awareness about disaster-related challenges and offer resources for disaster preparedness and recovery efforts.”

Throughout March, Equal Justice Works, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the American Red Cross, and DisasterLegalAid.org will share information and resources for disaster survivors and lawyers who are supporting communities affected by COVID-19 and other disasters including hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and winter storms.

During disasters, including pandemics such as COVID-19, lawyers are critical in helping individuals and families gain stability and protect their livelihoods.

David Stern /
Executive Director
Equal Justice Works

“Disaster management and humanitarian aid organizations have had to reevaluate how communities and individuals can better adapt and prepare for future disaster events. Increasing a community’s resilience level increases its ability to cope with the changes that affect it,” said Disaster Cycle Services, Red Cross. “Creating awareness of the vulnerabilities in an area, addressing these vulnerabilities with preparedness training, disaster risk reduction and sustainable changes made over the long-term can develop a community’s adaptive capacity to be more resilient.”

“We know that disasters are becoming more and more frequent and that attorneys have a unique role to play in advocating for the rights of disaster survivors,” said Mark O’ Brien, executive director at Pro Bono Net, one of the DisasterLegalAid.org partners. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to amplify efforts to support resilience in communities, and encourage others to join us in sharing these resources.”

Fellows in the Equal Justice Works Disaster Resilience Program will host trainings in partnership with various organizations, government agencies, and legal services providers to educate communities on their legal rights before, during and after a disaster and the legal services available to disaster survivors. Topics will include applying for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) benefits, title clearing, disability-specific needs, assistance for immigrants and refugees and other disaster-related legal matters.

We know that disasters are becoming more and more frequent and that attorneys have a unique role to play in advocating for the rights of disaster survivors.

Mark O’ Brien /
Executive Director
Pro Bono Net

These training videos created by Equal Justice Works Fellows will be made available on DisasterLegalAid.org, a national online clearinghouse that provides information on legal issues impacting communities hit by natural disasters. Legal aid and pro bono attorneys who want to access additional specialized disaster advocacy resources can join DisasterLegalAid.org’s National Disaster Legal Aid Advocacy Center, a growing online community of advocates working on disaster response and recovery.

“Collaboration within the disaster legal community is crucial when it comes to not only disaster response and recovery, but also mitigation and preparedness,” said Linda Anderson Stanley, senior project manager at Equal Justice Works and director of the ABA YLD Disaster Legal Services Program. “With disasters becoming increasingly frequent and devastating, it is important that there is a collective effort to bring people’s attention to disasters and how communities can prepare for and recover from disasters, before the start of hurricane and wildfire seasons.”

Collaboration within the disaster legal community is crucial when it comes to not only disaster response and recovery, but also mitigation and preparedness.

Linda Anderson Stanley /
Senior Project Manager
Equal Justice Works

Through their Disaster Legal Services Program, the ABA YLD will also join the collaborative effort to increase visibility about the role of legal aid in disaster recovery, and share information on how to get involved in national disaster legal aid efforts. They will post resources, service delivery strategies and tips to help lawyers better assist and represent disaster survivors.

Since 2005, Equal Justice Works has mobilized more than 80 passionate public service lawyers to deliver legal services to disaster-affected communities. To learn more about Disaster Resilience Awareness Month and the organization’s efforts to mobilize public service leaders who are helping communities prepare for and recover from disasters, visit here.

If your organization is interested in teaming up with Equal Justice Works for Disaster Resilience Awareness Month, please reach out to us at [email protected].

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About Disaster Resilience Awareness Month

Disaster Resilience Awareness Month is made possible thanks to the generous support of Equal Justice Works host organizations: Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Disability Rights Texas, Lone Star Legal Aid, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc., and YMCA International Services.

The Equal Justice Works Disaster Resilience Program is funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, the Bigglesworth Family Foundation, and individual contributions.

About Equal Justice Works

Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for lawyers to transform their passion for public service into a lifelong commitment to equal justice. As the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, Equal Justice Works brings together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, nonprofit legal aid organizations, and supporters to promote public service and inspire a lifelong commitment to equal justice.

About the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Disaster Legal Services Program

The ABA YLD, the largest national organization of young lawyers, provides leadership in serving the public and the profession, and promotes excellence and fulfillment in the practice of law. Its parent organization, the ABA, is the national voice of the legal profession and one of the largest voluntary professional membership groups in the world.

Through the Disaster Legal Services Program, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency provide immediate temporary legal assistance to disaster survivors at no charge. Since September 2007, the ABA YLD has responded to 178 declared disasters in 44 states and 4 U.S. territories.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to survivors of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About the National Disaster Legal Aid Resource Center

The National Disaster Legal Aid Resource Center (DisasterLegalAid.org) is the outgrowth of response efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and serves as a national website with self-help tools and legal information for people and communities impacted by natural disasters. DisasterLegalAid.org/Advocates is an online community for collaboration, communication, and networking among legal advocates serving disaster-affected individuals. DisasterLegalAid.org is a collaborative effort of Lone Star Legal Aid, Pro Bono Net, the American Bar Association, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, and the Legal Services Corporation.

Learn more about becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow