Kendra never envisioned herself becoming a lawyer, per se. Like becoming a minister, earning her J.D. and opening her law firm became a way to drive positive change within minority communities – improving access to justice as an agent inside the system. Recently, Kendra also launched The Justice Renewal Initiative, a faith-based non-profit also supporting her singular goal through alternative methods.
- Conception and struggles for a firm built to bridge the Justice Gap (1:00)
- The Justice Renewal Initiative’s three focuses for change (10:45)
- Case Study: A man stuck in the broken criminal justice system (14:18)
- What Kendra Spearman wants to see changed in law (35:43)
“The bar exam poses a major impediment [to more minorities becoming attorneys]…everything that it asks is stuff that you can kind of look up, it's not a test about intelligence, but some people just don't do well with tests.”
“What I hope to do through the Justice Renewal Initiative is bring all backgrounds together. All private citizens: I want judges, police officers – and that's a group that tends to be excluded because of the mistrust – private citizens of the church…. People tend to ignore an issue if it does not affect them. So, I wanted to create this space where everybody could feel like they're involved.”
“The other uncomfortable thing for me in that setting is that black women tend to have this stereotype that we're angry… And I'm pretty confident that had I not lost my temper, that my client would have been taken into custody, and from what I was hearing from the different numbers that they were throwing out, we're talking about years.”
“One of the main things I tell people is to talk about it. People look at racism and systemic racism and these issues as, you know, the awkward conversation to have.”
CONNECT WITH KENDRA SPEARMAN
Kendra is a civil rights attorney and minister. She is the owner and founder of Spearman Law LLC, a civil rights law firm, and founder of The Justice Renewal Initiative, Inc., a faith-based, non-profit that is dedicated to criminal justice reform. She works diligently to fight injustice on the behalf of disadvantaged populations, in particular, those impacted by mass incarceration and racial disparities.
Spearman Law: www.spearmanlaw.com
Justice Renewal Initiative: www.thejri.org
“13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Abolition of Slavery (1865)” Our Documents
“Common Interpretation: The 13th Amendment” National Constitution Center
“School-to-Prison Pipeline” American Civil Liberties Union
“The School-to-Prison Pipeline” Teaching Tolerance (Issue 32; Spring 2013)
“Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline” NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
“Camden’s Turn: A Story of Police Reform in Progress” Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), U.S. Department of Justice (US DOJ); Not In Our Town
“Former Chief Of Reformed Camden, N.J., Force: Police Need 'Consent Of The People'” NPR
Injustice Watch – Cook County option for Judicial information
Kendra, and The Justice Renewal Initiative, was featured in Chicago Lawyer! Read the full article: https://ablog.amatacorp.com/blog/posts/rearranged-as-covid-19-drags-on-law-firms-assess-their-largely-empty-offices/
Have comments, questions, or concerns? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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