Whether it’s fighting President Donald Trump’s ban on travel to the United States from Muslim-majority countries or standing up to a flower shop owner who refused to serve a gay couple, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has established himself as a champion for civil rights – in the state and across the nation.
There couldn’t be a better keynote speaker for LAW Advocates’ breakfast fundraiser, said Michael Heatherly, the organization’s Executive Director.
“Since he was elected, his highest priority has been protecting people’s individual rights,” Heatherly said of Ferguson. “That’s perfectly in keeping with what our organization does.”
LAW Advocates helps about 1,000 people a year through legal clinics and with individual representation in many areas of law. The most popular programs include the domestic violence parenting plan clinic, landlord-tenant clinic, kinship custody clinic, homeless and disability outreach, and Access ID, which helps people get official state identification.
“In a criminal case, constitutional law provides for a public defender,” Heatherly said. “There’s no law like that for civil cases. You’re on your own.”
The benefit breakfast is on May 2, the day after Law Day, a national day to celebrate the importance of the rule of law, and how law and the legal process contribute to the freedoms that all Americans share. President Dwight D. Eisenhower established LAW day in 1958, and Congress designated May 1 as the official day to celebrate Law Day in 1961.
The breakfast is one of several events LAW Advocates has organized to celebrate its 30th year of providing civil legal aid to people in Whatcom County who can’t afford an attorney.
Attorney General Ferguson said organizations like LAW Advocates are essential.
“The law is a powerful tool, capable of both striking down unconstitutional executive orders and ensuring a victim of domestic violence has legal protection from her abuser,” Ferguson said. “But without organizations like LAW Advocates, this tool for justice and fairness is out of reach for too many.”