Letter from the Editors

As the Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor, we are humbled by the dedication of the authors and editors who worked to prepare Volume 28, Issue I of the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy. In line with our mission, each piece aims to inspire our readers to continue fighting against the policies, practices, and laws that create the conditions of poverty. From housing to technology, this Issue highlights the critical intersections of class, race, and location, by focusing on the inequalities that remain within society.

This year the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic[1] and racial justice protests against police brutality[2] have highlighted the disproportionate impact of the growing wealth gap and systemic racism, as well as the critical need for intersectional anti-poverty measures. In many ways, the pandemic and movement for racial justice have tested our progress in the fight against poverty and inequality. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the need for the law to recognize new fundamental rights, such as the right to affordable housing and technology. We witnessed the importance of progressive responses,[3] such as state and local stay orders[4] temporarily halting the “Eviction Economy”[5] and companies offering free mobile internet access,[6] as millions of renters lost their jobs and low-income students susceptible to the digital chasm struggled to navigate the remote learning environment.[7] The #BlackLivesMatter movement also sparked a racial reckoning, demonstrating that the temporary success of federal and state action could not undue the racial barriers created by harsh government policies. For example, the persistence of residential segregation and discriminatory policing practices in disproportionately low-income communities of color require a deeper understanding of our nation’s history and commitment to pursuing justice. As a result, Issue I provides timely and important insights on the origins of poverty along with more nuanced understandings of poverty law and policy related issues.

With news of the COVID-19 vaccine,[8] there is great anticipation for the return to some semblance of normalcy. However, restoring normalcy also means a tidal wave of evictions; continued discriminatory renting practices; the expansion of the digital chasm; and the harmful over-policing of public housing residents. By reshaping public opinion on what it means to experience poverty, we can begin to progress beyond our fears to reconceptualize what is needed to truly achieve economic justice.[9] It is our hope that this Issue prompts each of us to study the past as we build a better future, providing a starting point for a path forward, as we launch into this next chapter.




Victoria King, Editor-in-Chief, Vol. 28

Rikisha Collins, Managing Editor, Vol. 28


[1]. See Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), World Health Org. (Nov. 10, 2020), https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.

[2]. See Syreeta McFadden, Black Lives Matter Just Entered Its Next Phase, Atlantic (Sept. 3, 2020), https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/09/black-lives-matter-just-entered-its-next-phase/615952/; Larry Buchanan, Quoctrung Bui & Jugal K. Patel, Black Lives Matter May Be the Largest Movement in U.S. History, N.Y. Times (July 3, 2020), https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/07/03/us/george-floyd-protests-crowd-size.html;

[3]. See Tucker Doherty, Victoria Guida, Bianca Quilantan & Gabrielle Wanneh, Which States Had the Best Pandemic Response?, Politico (Oct. 15, 2020, 4:05 PM), https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/14/best-state-responses-to-pandemic-429376.

[4]. See Dan Keating & Lauren Tierney, Which States Are Doing A Better Job Protecting Renters From Being Evicting During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Wash. Post.  (Apr. 29, 2020), https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/04/29/which-states-are-doing-better-job-protecting-renters-being-evicted-during-coronavirus-pandemic/?arc404=true.

[5]. David A. Dana, An Invisible Crisis in Plain Sight: The Emergence of the Eviction Economy; Its Causes, and the Possibilities for Reform in Legal Regulation and Education, 115 MICH. L. REV. 935, 935 (2017).

[6]. See Jonathan Greig, Dozens of Companies Offering Free Wi-Fi and Other Services to Those Working or Studying From Home, TechRepublic (Mar. 17, 2020, 1:59 PM) https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/when-back-to-school-means-a-parking-lot-and-the-hunt-for-a-wifi-signal/2020/08/27/0f785d5a-e873-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html.

[7]. Petula Dvorak, When ‘Back to School’ Means A Parking Lot and the Hunt for a Wifi Signal, Wash. Post (Aug. 27, 2020, 4:47 PM), https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/when-back-to-school-means-a-parking-lot-and-the-hunt-for-a-wifi-signal/2020/08/27/0f785d5a-e873-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html.

[8]. See Allison Whitten, Why A COVID-19 Vaccine Is Key for Returning to Normalcy, Discover (Nov. 4. 2020, 5:45 PM), https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/why-a-covid-19-vaccine-is-key-for-returning-to-normalcy.

[9]. Economic justice is defined as “a set of moral principles for building economic institutions, the ultimate goal of which is to create an opportunity for each person to create a sufficient material foundation upon which to have a dignified, productive, and creative life beyond economics.” Economic Justice, INVESTOPEDIA (Mar. 23, 2020), https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/economic-justice.asp.