On the 2020 Election – a Note from Executive Director David Stern

/ Updates

This year’s elections bring with them a slew of emotions for all us because we know so much hangs in the balance. We are in the midst of a global pandemic with no immediate end in sight. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died, and millions of Americans are jobless and at risk of being evicted, or having their power and water shut off because of unpaid bills. Black people and people of color in America face the added burden and danger of centuries of racism.

This general election will lay out how we as a country proceed in navigating our way through these and so many other known and unknown scenarios. Like many of you, I am anxious. But even in the face of that fear and anxiety, we will press forward.

No matter the outcome, we will continue our work to build a community of lawyers committed to public service and equal justice in order to fulfill our nation’s promise of equal justice for all.  Equal Justice Works was recently mentioned on a special episode of The Daily Show remembering Justice Ginsburg. Host Desi Lydic stated,

“Yes vote, but also we should be thinking long game… no matter what happens on November 3, we have to keep fighting for change.”

I agree and am so grateful for the Equal Justice Works Fellows fighting daily for that change. Our Fellows are passionate public service leaders, and I am confident that like Ms. Lydic states, they are the future RBGs, following her example of a lifelong commitment to public service and equal justice.

I am inspired by Fellows including Mitchell Brown, Hannah Klain, and Dana Paikowsky, who are advocating for voting rights to protect our democracy. And knowing that Equal Justice Works Fellows and alums, among so many others, are out there right now—protecting communities from unlawful evictions, advocating for racial justice, and navigating recovery for so many of us in the midst of disaster—gives me great hope for our future.

At our recent Leadership Development Training (LDT), Marbre Stahly-Butts and 2010 Fellow Gina Clayton-Johnson delivered our closing remarks, during which Gina quoted Esther Cooper Jackson: “No small amount of change could do.” I think about this quote and what it means to me and to this organization. The power of 200 Fellows in the field and thousands of Fellow alums, unafraid of big change, of systemic change. Together, with all those who continue to push for justice, we are making big change!

I have also reflected on another quote from 1999 Fellow Tirien Steinbach who kicked off this year’s LDT:

“I know that all of us who are committed to work that’s about justice or fairness, freedom or equality…that this is a time when the world is creating such disconnection that we have to strive and work even harder and find connection with each other.”

In a time of social distancing and of deep fear, I hope you will seek out connection as we go through this next trial of our democracy. Together, we will make our shared vision of equal justice for all a reality.


David Stern
Equal Justice Works Executive Director

Learn more about becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow