With the new year comes a time for reflection. Here at PIAC, 2017 was a year of tremendous growth as an organization, and we’d like to take a moment to share where the past year has taken us.
To begin with sheer membership and involvement, our organization has expanded drastically. When the year began, we were four people meeting with a handful of members corresponding digitally. Currently, we regularly have double digit attendance at our weekly meetings, plus an ever-expanding network being involved and corresponding otherwise. We have our first two interns joining the organization. As our membership has boomed, we have been able to increase our output and community engagement.
Our MCLE, Diversity Matters: Transgender Rights, successfully brought lawyers to the heart of Hillcrest to learn about both social and legal issues confronting the transgender community. Speakers Vicki Estrada and Danielle Blackhall brought laughs, tears, and inspiration to lawyers and non-lawyers alike. With the completion of that MCLE, our next MCLE in January should give us automatic accreditation for our future MCLE programs, so long as the currently pending accreditation is approved. This will enable us the provide programming at a much faster rate going forward, working to provide the knowledge and practical tools to fight for social justice.
Early in the year, PIAC was busy drafting legislation, meeting with City Council members, and advocating for the PIAC Plan to provide citywide funding and organization to addressing homelessness. Though the mayor’s own plan stalled efforts towards the PIAC Plan, we were able to ensure using the TOT for homelessness remains a part of conversation as the city decides how to best use the available tax increase.
Even further, it allowed us to become an integral member of Build Better San Diego Coalition, a community and labor coalition that works to preserve and increase access to permanently affordable quality homes, jobs, and transit for all San Diegans. PIAC provided affordable housing policy expertise, engaged in coalition meetings, drafted the coalition’s affordable housing policies letter used during meetings with the democratic City Councilmembers, actively participated in the meetings with City Councilmembers to encourage timely implementation of the housing policies, and participated in the Human Rights Day of Action.
PIAC also began its work in providing legal services to other non-profit organizations. Its members began working on San Diego Performing Arts League’s corporate bylaws, which should be finalized in early 2018. This was the first step in PIAC’s work to begin utilizing its lawyers on specific projects for public interest causes.
On top of all of this work, 2017 saw PIAC launch its Twitter page and The PIAC Blog. The goal of our online presence is to provide analysis on a wide range of topics affecting local, state, and federal issues. We will also be discussing events, literature, and media which can help one’s understanding of how to fight for social justice.
It’s been an eventful 2017 for PIAC, but there’s still far more to do in 2018 and future years. We will be expanding our MCLE programming to continue educating the community about hot-button issues and practical tools which can be used to pursue the public good. In between such programs, The PIAC Blog will be providing insights from a legal team on a regular basis. We will be continuing the professional relationships we’ve built up to this point, and actively seeking other relationships to grow. We will continue our outreach to the legal community to grow our membership, so they we may expand our reach and the amount of work we can undertake. We can’t predict all the ways we will seek the public good in 2018, but we are excited for your input on the directions we take. Please contact us on our Facebook page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.