A decade ago, Advancement Project’s founding team of veteran civil rights lawyers believed that structural racism could begin to be dismantled by multi-racial grassroots organizing focused on changing public policies and supported by lawyers and communications strategies. The collective experience of Advancement Project’s founders, as well as the conclusion of some of the most creative thinkers in the civil rights field, suggested that when this method of change is employed, it can have much greater resonance than policy advocacy, litigation, or organizing tend to have on their own. Yet racial justice efforts that incorporated this essential-and powerful-mix of lawyers, organizers, and communication experts rarely occurred.
To implement our theory of change, Advancement Project operates on two planes:
- Locally, it provides direct, hands-on support for organized communities in their struggles for racial and social justice, providing legal and communications resources for on-the-ground efforts, while assisting in building their own capacity and power in their communities.
- Nationally, the group actively broadens and extends the practice of community-centered racial justice lawyering through training, networking, creation of tools and resources, media outreach and public education. They also use strategic communications to influence public opinion on issues of race, democracy and justice.
Advancement Project chooses project activities, whether national or local, with the potential to build power at the grassroots level and to reframe and accelerate the quest for racial justice. They do not shy away from difficult issues and typically are first responders to civil rights crises, as well as on the cutting edge of racial justice issues.