The Westside Branch of NAACP held Law Day last Saturday for the residents of the Austin community. The seminar was held at NAACP headquarters, 1140 N. Lamon.

The NAACP Westside Branch offered this seminar as a way to bring together citizens in the community to discuss legal matters and encourage interactive discussions with local lawyers. After opening remarks and explanations, residents had the opportunity to meet in small groups or one-on-one discussions with the various attorneys present.

One important area for many seniors has been preparing wills and maintaining their property, especially if there is a major illness. Many homeowners also find it difficult to resolve issues with tenants and many have to use the legal system to remove non-paying tenants or unruly tenants. The attorneys helped residents with these and many other issues.

Branch President Vera Davis stated, “Law Day was a day dedicated to providing information to the residents on the West Side. There are many issues that we need information to deal with, for instance after the [Terri Schiavo] case, people now know that we need living wills. People have disputes with their employees, landlords, tenants?”there are just several instances where we can help people, so we were providing the information to the people in seminar forum and then we did one-on-one counseling with people, because people had individual questions and needs that needed to be addressed. Law Day provided that for the residents on the West Side who wanted to come and receive this information. We had members from the Cook County Bar Association who donated their time to this effort. And we had people who specialize in school education law, discrimination, wills, taxes. We had a full realm of lawyers who could address any issue that is brought together by people who came to the seminar. If we were not able to handle their case or if that case really needed a different legal specialty, then the participants would get names or information to seek that specialty help.”

The Chicago Westside Branch of NAACP invites participation and membership. Another community effort this branch works on is WOW (With Ownership Wealth), an initiative launched by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in 2001 to promote African American homeownership.

NAACP feels that when people own their homes, the quality of life improves for everyone. The homeowner becomes more responsible, the neighborhoods improve and children grow into responsible individuals. For information call 773/261-5890.