DURHAM · Jan. 23, 2019 – Our Durham office celebrated its 50th anniversary at an event it hosted on December 19, 2018. Community members and Legal Aid staff gathered to celebrate. Remarks were made by Managing Attorney Gina Reyman, County Commission Chair Wendy Jacobs, N.C. Rep. Marcia Morey, District Court Judge Amanda Maris, District Attorney Satana Deberry, Mayor Pro Tempore Jillian Johnson, and Mayor Steve Schewel.
Highlights of the event included Mayor Schewel’s closing remarks, “I am real excited that we as a city are funding attorneys for the DEAR program…. and the Eviction Diversion Program… I’m just glad that we’ve taken that step, and we wouldn’t have been able to take that step if we hadn’t had confidence in Legal Aid and our other partners… We are a very prosperous city… our whole task is to make sure that everybody is able to share in our new found prosperity.”
Several of the speakers underscored the importance of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s work and addressed the need of further civil legal aid. District Attorney Deberry said, “I’m excited to be here…. As a former housing and economic development advocate, I can tell you that civil justice debt is as big an issue as criminal justice debt for the populations that we serve.”
Long-term supporters of the Durham office were present, including Judge Maris. She reflected on her admiration for Gina Reyman’s commitment to justice and on the growth of Durham’s expunction programs. She stated, “Fifty years, that’s amazing, and it’s a tribute to the powerful work that you do here… I can tell you that I believe in what [Legal Aid] does. It is close to my heart. Thank you so much for everything you do. Congratulations on 50 years!”