Civil rights organizations, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), are nonprofits that provide legal aid and organize and sponsor civil rights campaigns across the country. As part of their services, the NAACP gives legal advice and assistance to people who have had certain civil rights violated.
Anyone who needs legal help for a discrimination case should first learn what the NAACP is, what types of cases they take and how to enlist the help of this organization. Furthermore, you should consider other civil rights organizations that help people in similar ways.
What Is the NAACP?
The NAACP began in 1909 as a response to the race riots in Springfield, Illinois, the previous year. Since its first day, the NAACP has aimed to guarantee civil rights for all people. In particular, the organization was established with a goal to ensure all people receive their 13th, 14th and 15th amendment rights as guaranteed by the Constitution.
Today, the NAACP is the largest civil rights organization in the United States. The organization continues to work toward its mission to use democratic processes to remove the effects of racial discrimination throughout the country. One way the NAACP lawyers strive to meet this goal is by drafting and pushing for legislation regarding issues such as:
- Environmental justice.
- Criminal justice.
- Fair housing.
- Public accommodations.
Generally, any case that the NAACP helps with will involve racial discrimination as it relates to these issues.
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Another avenue through which the NAACP helps end discrimination is through the organization’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund (NAACP LDF). This fund allows the NAACP to provide legal assistance to people who have faced racial discrimination. While the NAACP lawyers take many types of cases, they generally fall into these categories:
- Economic justice.
- Voting rights/political participation.
- Criminal justice.
For the NAACP lawyers to take the case, the person bringing the claim should have faced racial discrimination. However, people of minority races may also claim discrimination based on intersecting identities, such as gender, sexual orientation or disability.
Enlisting Help From NAACP Lawyers
People who want legal aid from the NAACP can go through one of several routes to get in contact. First, if such a person has already secured a lawyer, they should have that lawyer contact the NAACP. It’s important for people to secure lawyers soon after experiencing discrimination, as they only have a certain amount of time to file claims.
Another way to get help is to call the NAACP number for the nearest chapter. The NAACP has more than 2,000 units across the country, so most people can find an office near them. The organization’s website lists all chapters by state.
Finally, people in need of legal assistance con use the NAACP LDF’s contact form. The NAACP warns that sending this application does not “stop the clock” on the deadlines for filing a racial discrimination lawsuit and urges people to file as soon as possible.
Other Ways to Get Legal Help
The NAACP can only accept a small fraction of the legal aid requests they receive. As such, anyone seeking assistance from NAACP lawyers may want to also apply for help from other organizations. For example, the United States Justice Department provides legal aid for civil matters for applicants that meet specific income standards.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is another major civil liberties organization that provides legal aid to people. Anyone in need of the ACLU’s assistance should contact their local ACLU office as soon as possible.
Finally, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law offers free legal help for matters that involve civil liberties. The committee’s website gives instructions on finding such help.