Login | December 11, 2017

Legal Aid column: Harry Potter and the season of hope

STEVEN MCGARITY
Special to the Legal News

Published: November 22, 2017

For anyone who has kids, the Harry Potter series should be second nature to you, by now.

I have been making my way, this year, through the seven books with my son. To say he’s a fan would be putting it mildly.

Our nighttime routine: reading Harry Potter.

This year’s birthday party theme: Harry Potter.

Halloween costume: Harry Potter.

So, when Albus Dumbledore quotes pop into my head in the middle of the work day, I can’t be too surprised.

It happened earlier this month. I was sitting in my office, working on a grant report, when I came across a client’s story. (Many of our funders ask for examples of our work in the form of client stories.)

I’ve worked at Legal Aid for two decades. In this time, I have worked, mentored on, and otherwise seen hundreds of cases. And to be honest, sometimes they blend together. Every foreclosure bears the same sad hallmarks. Each domestic violence victim’s story is as harrowing as the last. Every homeless veteran who comes through our door makes my heart sink.

No - it wasn’t this particular client’s story that made the fictitious educator pop into my mind. Rather, it was the overwhelming sense of loss that our clients all feel - loss of home, loss of financial stability, loss of dignity. This notion flooded over me, and I sat there, feeling the weight of Legal Aid’s mission as heavy as ever.

And then, I heard it.

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Most of our clients, by the time they get to us, are in their “darkest of times.” We are frequently a last resort for many, which adds even more of an emotional burden to what they are grappling with.

But all they need is a little light. Or, in a word, hope.

Hope is having an advocate fighting for you. Hope is understanding your rights. Hope is knowing that you have a fair chance at justice.

For our clients, hope is you. As someone who supports Legal Aid’s vision, you are working toward eliminating poverty. As someone who supports Legal Aid’s work, you are giving hope to those in the darkest of times. Thank you for your support - as a volunteer, a donor, or just someone who helps spread the message about the importance of justice for all.

As we wrap up another year, we also are wrapping up our year-end appeal. Please donate now by visiting www.communitylegalaid.org/hope2017. Every dollar makes a difference.

For Dumbledore also said, quoting Matthew, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Steven McGarrity is the executive director of Community Legal Aid.


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