Kennedy of California Legal Services described the goals of "poverty
law"--"We try to defeat the root causes of poverty; we
lend the power of the law to people who need it," he said.
But, "lawyers can't give people power--the only lasting effect
we have is when people learn to empower themselves." He recounted
a situation last year in which a Japanese absentee landlord gave
30-day eviction notices to hundreds of Sacramento families living
on his property. Bill Kennedy wondered how California Legal Services
would be able to handle the potential onslaught of litigation this
unconscionable mass eviction would cause.
That's when ACORN became involved, and "there
was a shift of power from a billionaire and his money to a group
of well-organized people with justice on their side." ACORN
got neighbors and families together and filed injunctions. ACORN
was the plaintiff that fought for a 120 day relocation period instead
of the initial 30 days. Now "ACORN is the base from which power
and democracy are flowing!"