Again and again, I am inspired by the generosity of our community to help those who face civil legal emergencies but cannot afford an attorney.  My heartfelt thank you to our staff, pro bono volunteers and supporters—thank you for believing that everyone deserves a voice and fair chance at justice. You have been instrumental in providing a critical safety net for Sarasota and Manatee counties for 30 years. Every penny we raise stays right here in our local community to help our vulnerable residents. We are the official legal aid provider for the 12th Judicial Circuit.

I have never forgotten the words of public interest lawyer and Equal Justice Institute founder Bryan Stevenson, who said, “There is power when we get proximate.” Close-up encounters create empathy with those we may not know or understand. At Legal Aid, we get close. We have a front-row seat in civil court helping clients receive a just outcome. We step into our clients’ worlds without judgment to provide the dignity they deserve.

We continue to need your support, whether you’re an attorney stepping up to take a case or a community member taking the time to get proximate to the people who need our services. We want clients to come to us early, before their problems escalate into larger problems that require more community resources. As we look to the future, let’s all be great bridge builders. Let’s remove barriers to justice. Everyone benefits from a system that treats people the same, no matter their color, creed or economic situation.

Thank you again for helping Legal Aid of Manasota celebrate our 30th anniversary this year and making equal access to justice a possibility in our community.

Best wishes for a healthy and joyful New Year!

Linda Harradine, Esq.
CEO, Legal Aid of Manasota

Photo by Barbara Banks