Volume 31

Letter from the Editors

by Sierra Campbell and Ruby Grace

This Issue concludes the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy’s publication of Volume 31. As Volume 31 comes to a close, we would like to thank all of the authors that contributed thoughtful and innovative scholarship to combat poverty and promote economic justice. We would also like to express our gratitude for our Faculty Advisors, Professors Yael Cannon and Peter Edelman, as well as our Board of Advisors for their unwavering support and guidance. Finally, we are so grateful for the diligent work and the community of the Volume 31 staff. The work of the journal would not be possible without the dedication of so many anti-poverty advocates.

In March, GJPLP hosted our biannual symposium entitled “The Future of Work: The Intersection of Poverty and Labor.” Our symposium highlighted the ways in which worker protections and pro-worker policies are critical to addressing racial and economic inequities. As one presenter, Sejal Singh, expressed during the event, “Poverty is a policy choice. It is a policy choice shaped by, reflected in, and entrenched by labor and employment law and policy.”

The first four pieces of this Issue center on these intersections of poverty and labor. First, Mell Chhoy and Mark Gaston Pearce’s Article explores the evolution of case law on union employees’ protected speech; the intersection between the NLRA and an employer’s obligation to curtail discrimination in the workplace; and suggestions for implementing workplace specific rules to balance interests between employers and their workers’ rights. In his Note, Vol. 31 Executive Editor Blake Phillips analyzes the history of American work law to examine the rise of positive liberties in the mid-20th century and understand the Roberts’ Court’s divergence toward an embrace of negative liberties. Next, Wayne Comstock’s Note explores the challenges preventing wage theft prosecution from being more widespread and offers recommendations to encourage widespread adoption and better help workers. In the final symposium Note, Julian Lutz highlights the underenforcement of HUD Section 3’s requirement that federal housing funds for jobs and contracts go to residents of low-income areas; looks to Philadelphia as a case study; and analyzes various cities’ public works hiring policies to assess best practices for improving compliance.

Our remaining piece, a Note written by Erin Fullerton, argues that local and federal public housing admission policies should support housing for criminal offenders to disrupt the cyclical nature of recidivism and housing instability.

For more than 30 years, GJPLP has highlighted solutions to systemic and deeply entrenched issues relating to poverty law. Throughout our online and print publications in Volume 31, we have aimed to continue this mission by highlighting the real-life impacts of inequities and offering inspiration to continue fighting against poverty and the policies, practices, and laws that perpetuate inequities. The work of our staff, authors, and partners brings us hope of a more equitable, just, and caring world. We are so excited to see Volume 32 carry on this advocacy and optimism.


Sierra Campbell, Editor in Chief, Vol. 31
Ruby Grace, Managing Editor, Vol. 31