Photos: Susan Firimonte

As promised . . . here are the photos from Wednesday!

Congratulations Susan Firimonte – 2010 Ellen Hines Smith Legal Services Attorney of the Year!

This morning Shannon Scruggs, Executive Director of the SC Bar Foundation,  and I (Executive Director of the SC Access to Justice Commission) had the distinct privilege of announcing the 2010 Ellen Hines Smith Legal Services Attorney of the Year – Susan Firimonte.

Susan was surprised as her other Florence office-mates, Andrea Loney (SCLS‘ Executive Director) and we gathered in her office to make the announcement.

In support letters, Florence attorneys were impressed by Susan’s professionalism and with her legal acumen, even citing a Workers Compensation case that was heard at the Supreme Court of South Carolina. Others noted her enthusiasm and hard work to ensure delivery of legal services to the low-income community in the Pee Dee.

Susan will receive the 2010 Ellen Hines Smith Legal Services Attorney of the Year Award at the South Carolina Bar Foundation’s Gala, March 3, 2011. Please join us at the Gala as we honor Susan Firimonte!

Congratulations Susan!

~RFW

P.S. Check back tomorrow for photos.

POVERTY: SC

Is this our future?

Poverty + SC = 4Ever
Poverty + SC = 4Ever

Is this what we want for our future?

Recently I’ve been referred to a few poverty resources that I want to share.

  1. A powerful video (by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) sent to me by Shannon Scruggs of the SC Bar Foundation.
  2. Poverty in America has published its LIVING WAGE CALCULATOR, an interactive online tool.

When I pulled up South Carolina, 10 of the 22 occupational areas had typical hourly wages within the poverty range.

Almost half. Almost half of the people going to work every day in South Carolina are working for wages that keep them in poverty.

That’s scary! Especially when most of us consider that employment helps to break the poverty cycle. It’s daunting when you think that the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission was set up expressly to ensure that people living in poverty receive equal access within the civil court system. Essentially one of the unspoken beliefs is that full access to the same legal rights helps lift people out of poverty.

It’s certainly time for us to wage a war on poverty.

  • People living in poverty face barriers within the public education system.
  • People living in poverty face barriers within the public health care system.
  • People living in poverty face barriers within the civil and criminal justice systems.

If people going to work everyday remain in poverty, then how can we expect to break the cycle of injustice? Educational injustice. Health care injustice. Civil and criminal injustice.

And yes, I’m familiar with the saying that the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, but if Madame Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton will forgive my paraphrase/alteration/juxtaposition of  it takes a village to raise a childit is much easier to eat the elephant if the whole village takes one bite.

In order for us to break the poverty cycle, it will take effort from each of us.

Please join.

-RFW

Day 2: EJC – so far . . .

Ok, there’s a quick break in between sessions and yes, my last session ended a few minutes early. And before I forget, yes I’m addicted to blogging. SO, here’s the latest update.

Today I have been able to see friends from home – Tom Trent, Andrea Loney, Shannon Scruggs and Pamela Robinson – as well as friends from other places – Louis Rulli, Richard Zorza, my fellow ATJers and others. Some I’ve only met via cyberspace – Claudia Johnson, it was nice to finally meet you in person!

And, here are the photos from the morning.

CIMG4564Plenary

CIMG4565good crowd at the Plenary

CIMG4566exhibits before the crowd hits . . .

CIMG4567Lawyers and Social Workers Workings Together: Resolving Ethical Dilemmas

CIMG4570ATJ Lunch Roundtable (sans table)

CIMG4572more round (no table)

CIMG4573Fostering Information Sharing and Collaboration to Maximize Successful Team and Partnership Efforts

CIMG4576stay tuned . . .

-RFW