A2J with Angela: Auld Lang Syne – New Year’s Resolutions for Justice

Post authored by Angela Inzano

I recently read an article that said that New Year’s Resolutions are for “losers.” Yikes.

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But aside from that click bait-y headline, there were some kernels in there of good tips and tricks for making your resolutions stick like Miley Cyrus’ double sided tape.

It’s true though, 80% of resolutions we all make, bright eyed looking into the New Year, will fail. Our hopes for a better diet, more exercise, and saving tons of money might not pan out the way we hope.

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A real Debbie Downer post so far…

Still, as an inherently optimistic person, I maintain there has to be a solution! One adjustment the aforementioned (and terribly titled) article made was to instead choose a “word of the year” to be your personal theme and help guide your decision-making.

I think that is a great idea, and for 2019, we’re all in luck. Merriam-Webster’s 2018 word of the year can serve as our inspiration:

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No, not “truthiness,” that was 2006’s word, believe it or not.

I know, you’re shocked. You had to know we were getting there eventually though, right? I found what our favorite dictionary (after Urban Dictionary, of course) said about “justice” and why they chose it this year, to be particularly compelling for our work in the new year:

Justice has varied meanings that do a lot of work in the language—meanings that range from the technical and legal to the lofty and philosophical. For many reasons and for many meanings, one thing’s for sure: justice has been on the minds of many people in 2018.

My guess is that this public interest in various forms of justice will continue to be true in 2019 as well. Merriam-Webster’s write-up acknowledges interest in topics of racial, social,criminal, restorative, and economic justice. Of course, we at the CBF might like to request adding “civil justice” and “access to justice” to that list for 2019.

So, let’s say we all choose “justice” as our word of the year for 2019. What does that mean? Well, it might mean something different to each of you, but we hope that it might mean a continued commitment to ensuring access to justice for all. It might mean taking on a new pro bono case or signing up to contact your legislators about funding for legal aid.

Whatever it means to you, we look forward to partnering with you again in 2019. Remember, the key to New Year’s resolutions is to be patient with yourself, start small, and be optimistic about your future. I couldn’t be more optimistic about the future of access to justice in the New Year thanks to the hard work of all the CBF’s partners and each of you in 2018.

On a personal note, I’m also filled with gratitude for the opportunity to have had fun this year writing “A2J with Angela”and combining my love for increasing access to justice with my love for making obscure references to musicals and classic 1990’s era television and movies. “Blog” might have been Merriam-Webster’s 2004 word of the year but for me, it was one of the highlights of 2018.

Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and see you all in 2019!

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About the Author:

HeadshotAngela Inzano is the Senior Manager of Advocacy and Engagement at the Chicago Bar Foundation. Since 2015, Angela has managed the day-to-day operation of the CBF Legal Aid Academy and the CBF Pro Bono Support Program, and assists with the CBF’s legislative and policy advocacy work. Angela also staffs the CBF’s Young Professionals Board, the CBA’s Legal Aid Committee, and supervises CBF interns.

Prior to joining the CBF, Angela was a Staff Attorney and the Policy Project Coordinator at The Family Defense Center. Prior to the FDC, Angela was a Public Interest Fellow at Lambda Legal. Angela earned her law and undergraduate degrees from Loyola University Chicago. While at Loyola Law, she was involved in the school’s Life After Innocence and Civitas Child Law clinics and served as a fellow at its Center for the Human Rights of Children.

Angela successfully completed the Chicago Marathon in 2012, enjoys traveling as well as politics, and is a novice “foodie.”

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