Legal Aid’s Partnership Award honors extraordinary individuals or organizations who have helped advance our mission of making justice real in DC.
Cynthia Spencer is a former Legal Aid client and member of Legal Aid’s Community Advisory Council. Since 2012, Ms. Spencer has worked with Legal Aid on a range of cases involving housing, Social Security disability insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare Part D. This past year, Ms. Spencer, like thousands of DC residents, lost her job as a result of the pandemic. Working with Legal Aid once again, she successfully navigated the unemployment compensation system in order to receive federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits. Several months later, Ms. Spencer – seeking to ensure that others would not encounter the same roadblocks she faced – testified before the DC Council about the performance of DOES and identified extensive issues with the agency’s processing of unemployment claims. Additionally, Ms. Spencer devoted additional time to work with journalists, which included lengthy interviews at her home with her family to tell her story and raise awareness about this systemic issue with a broader audience. Since 2018, Ms. Spencer has continued to give back by serving on Legal Aid’s Community Advisory Council to raise awareness and access to Legal Aid’s services.
Ms. Spencer has proven to be not only a tenacious advocate for herself but also for others in the community. Her personal courage and commitment to access to justice in the DC community make her truly deserving of this recognition.
Legal Aid Client, Homeowner, Survivor
Terrace Manor “Organized for Change” Tenants Association
DC Fiscal Policy Institute
Fair Budget Coalition
Housing Counseling Services
Dr. Rhonique Shields Harris
Children’s National Medical Center
Dr. Gloria Wilder-Brathwaite