Legal Aid Society

Projects, Units & Initiatives

Racial Justice Unit

The Racial Justice Unit (RJU) serves all three Practice areas of The Legal Aid Society to ensure that racial justice and equity are fully integrated in the amazing work we do. It works to ensure that our organizational policies, practices and systems fit within a racial equity framework. The RJU raises critical awareness of the systemic oppression that communities of color experience through the use of research, policy advocacy, impact litigation, community engagement and strategic communication.

This unit is grounded in principles of racial equity and social justice, providing visionary, strategic leadership to ensure that every facet of our organization promotes racial justice.

Our Impact

With our coalition partners, we helped pass the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, the most progressive marijuana legalization bill in the country and the only bill to build in reparations to Black and Latinx communities that were the hardest hit by marijuana prohibition.

The RJU has become one of the go-to legal teams for racial justice activists in New York City. We provided critical jail support and legal advice to activists and participants who were arrested during actions. We connected them with pro bono attorneys and supported activists on the ground during critical protests by providing legal observing and jail support.


The RJU fiscally sponsored a staff attorney to support Court Watch NYC. We designed and provided court watch trainings for community members, supported the Court Watch infrastructure, and supervised and guided the Court Watch staff attorney.