legal aid justice center

Doug Muir, the Bella’s Boycott, and Black Lives Matter

By Crisis Communications, Social Media

A week ago, we attended Rooting Out Injustice, the signature fall event put on by Legal Aid Justice Center and Central Virginia Legal Aid Society. Full disclosure, I’ve been involved with Legal Aid for more than seven years and am on their advisory council. The event featured co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, Alicia Garza, who was a fantastic, inspirational speaker. The speaker panel, emceed by local attorney and author John Grisham (you may have heard of him) explored the intersection of race, injustice, disparities within the system, and ways the nonprofit organizations are tackling civil injustice.

In the midst of the event, a local business owner, Douglas Muir, saw fit to post a comment on Facebook stating, “Black lives matter is the biggest rasist (sic) organization since the clan. Are you kidding me. Disgusting!!”


Mr. Muir is the owner of Bella’s, an Italian restaurant in Charlottesville. He’s also listed as a guest lecturer at the University of Virginia.

What Mr. Muir obviously didn’t know is that the wrath of the offended via social media is swift and ruthless. There’s a hashtag #boycottbellas and there has been a peaceful demonstration. But that’s not the end of this. Doug Muir deleted his comment and is, no doubt, keeping a low profile while his employees suffer a lack of income (restaurant workers make their money mostly in tips. No customers = no income.)

I think this is an opportunity for all people — not just the people who attended the event, or who have heard and seen Mr. Muir’s comment and are aware of the boycott of Bella’s to go look at the http://blacklivesmatter.com/ page. Think about civil rights and a movement that didn’t just start last year, but has been going on since before Abraham Lincoln was president. This isn’t new. Racism isn’t new. Social media is, though, and how we use it can change minds and change our society.

UPDATE 10/12/2016:

The Cavalier Daily ran an apology from Douglas Muir about the comment. It’s a good apology.

Believing in the Power of Technology to Help Nonprofits: Cabell Foundation and Legal Aid Justice Center

By Communications, Media, Public Relations, Social Media

Laurel HennemanToday’s guest post is by Laurel Henneman. Laurel, the Foundation Relations Manager for the Legal Aid Justice Center, in a former life was a transactional attorney for a large firm in New York City. She now lives in Charlottesville with her family, where she is active in the community and enjoys both local food and Facebook. She appreciates the invitations she has received for Google+, but says they will have to wait until her children are grown or the laundry figures out how to wash itself.

Do you believe in the power of information technology to improve nonprofits’ services, spread the word about important developments, and reach out to supporters? The Cabell Foundation does, and is providing the Legal Aid Justice Center with a $64K “challenge grant” to upgrade our systems. $136K more is needed by December 2011 to meet this challenge. Please contribute if you can, and spread the word to others who might be interested in supporting our work!

For more than 40 years, we have been meeting the civil legal needs of our low-income neighbors with a special focus on vulnerable populations, including children, immigrants, the elderly, and the institutionalized. We now face an urgent need to upgrade the information technology used by our program, in order to meet the increased needs of our clients in a challenging funding environment.

While there are currently some signs of recovery in the broader economy, there are also signs that for the foreseeable future, we should prudently prepare for a “new normal” level of doing more with less. Strategic investments in information technology (including telecommunications, case management, and e-advocacy) are essential for improving the efficiency of our work on behalf of clients, sharing the learning of our advocates with others, and reaching potential funding sources.

As you know so well, state-of-the-art tools in online advocacy now allow nonprofit organizations to disseminate information easily through email and social networking channels, and guide recipients of this information—through simple navigation and a few mouse clicks—to join their cause, contact legislators and other officials to express views on important pending issues, and donate to the continued work on causes they believe in.

Join us in investing in the future of our program and its important service to our low-income neighbors! Click here to donate, or learn more about the Legal Aid Justice Center at www.justice4all.org. If you have questions or want additional information, contact Susan Kruse: susan at justice4all.org, our Donor Relations Manager.


Editor’s Note: Jaggers Communications supports Legal Aid Justice Center with time, talent and dollars and we hope that you will, too.