Potential Within

Guest: Washington Supreme Court Justice G. Helen Whitener on poetry, personal identity and new solutions to old problems.

Public interest attorneys are charged with advancing justice for all, but according to Washington Supreme Court Justice G. Helen Whitener, the practice of public interest law has lost its focus since the 1960s. Solving the intersecting inequities that face underrepresented communities requires that we reckon with our history and commit to creating new solutions together.

Justice Whitener was appointed by Governor Inslee to the Washington State Supreme Court in April 2020 and retained by voters in November 2020. Honored by the American Bar Association with the 2022 Stonewall Award, Justice Whitener uses her lived experiences as a multiple minority to continually raise awareness of matters of race, justice and equity and act as a voice for marginalized communities. In April 2022, Justice Whitener gave opening remarks at UW Law’s Public Interest Law Association gala in support of the theme, “Personal Identity in Public Interest Law: How Me Becomes We.”

In this episode, Justice Whitener shares her poetry and wisdom on the importance of transcending the biases and stereotypes that come with labels, unlocking our individual and collective potential by creating action plans for our dreams, and developing a new movement to solve old problems, so we can move forward as a society.

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