OneJustice Blog

Bring life-changing legal help to Californians in need.

Get your gamble on for justice

Project Rocket Lawyer is hosting a Casino Night in downtown San Francisco to help raise money for OneJustice, and we’d love for you to join us! Come enjoy a fun-filled evening full of blackjack, poker, drinks, and yummy snacks—all for a good cause!

Rocket Lawyer Casino Night Screenshot

For only $20, you’ll get:

Rocket Laywer Ticket Pricing & Raffle

We hope to see you there!

OneJustice

Meet our very own financial guru

A chat with Executive Fellowship faculty, Elizabeth Schaffer.

We invited Elizabeth Schaffer—a nonprofit leader, consultant, trainer, and author—to tell us about herself and her work with the OneJustice Executive Fellowship.

Elizabeth is a longtime faculty of the Executive Fellowship. She coaches nonprofit leaders in the process of improving the quality of their organizations’ financial data and analysis, and also assists in enhancing organizations’ decision-making abilities. She is the co-author of Financial Leadership for Nonprofit Executives: Guiding Your Organization to Long Term Success (Fieldstone Alliance Press), a book that we use in our program, and an absolutely essential resource for all nonprofit leaders.

Please join us in welcoming Elizabeth!

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[PHOTO: Elizabeth Schaffer, CFO at the Global Fund for Women and Executive Fellowship faculty.]

Elizabeth Schaffer, Chief Financial & Operating Officer at the Global Fund for Women and faculty of the Executive Fellowship.

Thank you for joining us, Elizabeth! Tell us a little more about yourself and what you do.

I am currently the Chief Financial & Operating Officer of the Global Fund for Women – the largest foundation exclusively funding international women’s rights organizations. I have been involved with nonprofit financial management for over 20 years, as a finance director, consultant, trainer, and author.

We are so happy to have you as an Executive Fellowship faculty. Tell us why you are involved in the Fellowship program.

The fellows cohort is consistently smart, dedicated, and engaged.

I especially love teaching in the program because so many folks introduce themselves by saying: ‘I’m not good at finance,” and then go on to really, really understand the content – and bring it back to their organizations. Without question, my best student is Julia!

As a nonprofit financial management coach, what is your top advice to nonprofits hoping to develop and strengthen their financial leadership?

Trust your instinct, not necessarily the numbers on the paper. If what you have at hand does not seem correct, challenge it!

Amazing advice! Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for your guidance and leadership teachings! 

Wrapping up a summer on wheels

Justice Bus mobilized volunteers to bring legal help where it’s needed most!

As we wrap up the summer and prepare for fall, we’re excited to report back on a very successful Justice Bus summer season! This summer, the Justice Bus traveled to nine locations around the state–sometimes traveling to two locations in the same week! In three months, our amazing volunteers assisted 264 low-income individuals with a variety of legal problems, including housing, immigration, veterans benefits, expungements, estate planning, and medical debt-related issues.

A big thank you to all of our wonderful Justice Bus Riders, supervising attorneys, supporters, firms, and partnering organizations for bringing justice where it’s needed most!

Summer Season Pic Stich

Thank you to these firms and organizations for participating in this summer’s Justice Bus season!

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The Justice Bus Project takes teams of attorney and law student volunteers from urban areas to set up free legal clinics for low-income Californians living in rural and isolated communities.  These clinics provide life-changing legal assistance to low-income veterans, vulnerable seniors, children with disabilities, low-wage workers, immigrant youth, and families.

Correction: August 18, 2015

This blog post has been updated to include O’Melveny & Myers LLP  and Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

Announcing the 2015-2016 Executive Fellows!

Empowering leaders to transform the legal services sector.

As schools get ready for the school year, OneJustice is getting ready for the newest class of Executive Fellows. We invited Director of the Healthy Nonprofits Program, Kim Irish, to give us a sneak peak into this year’s class and what is ahead.

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Guest Blogger: Kim Irish, OneJustice Healthy Nonprofits Program Director

It hardly seems possible, but in September, OneJustice will welcome its 6th class of Executive Fellows! The 2015-2016 cohort promises to be outstanding, with 20 participants hailing from a wide variety of organizations located in cities like San Diego, San Bernardino, East Palo Alto, Fresno, and Berkeley. We’re excited to have representatives from 18 organizations, including 5 organizations who are joining us for the very first time.

[Photo: 2014-15 Cohort during one of their many Executive Fellowship classes, which include becoming a great communicator, human resources, financial context and ratios, and budgeting and change management.]

2014-15 Cohort during one of their many Executive Fellowship classes, which include becoming a great communicator, human resources, financial context and ratios, budgeting, and change management.

This year’s curriculum is divided into three core modules, starting with “You As A Leader,” which focuses on Fellows’ personal leadership and communication styles, as well as their relationship with their organization’s board of directors. Module Two – or “Managing Resources” – teaches Fellows how to manage and leverage human and financial resources, including the always-important and sometimes-confusing skill of budgeting.

The third and final module, “Creating Change,” encourages Fellows to take a broader view than their everyday work and think about how they can make changes in their organizations and even the broader legal services or nonprofit sector. A special learning opportunity called the capstone project is woven throughout the fellowship year. Fellows each choose an issue they are grappling with at their organizations and work to define the problem, gather data, research potential solutions, and present a memo and oral presentation to end the fellowship year in June. Though Fellows have reported it can be hairy at times to balance the capstone work with the everyday demands of their jobs, some claim it is the most beneficial part of the Fellowship experience.

As I begin directing the 2015-2016 Fellowship Program, I know I will reflect on my experience as a Fellow in the most recent class. Understanding what it’s like to go through the learning, camaraderie, and professional skills development that takes place during the Fellowship will hopefully help me to provide support that current Fellows may need as they embark on this new adventure.

Welcome new Executive Fellows!

The OneJustice Executive Fellowship is a 10-month comprehensive program that brings legal aid leaders new business and leadership skills.

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As Director of OneJustice’s Healthy Nonprofits Program, Kim Irish is responsible for directing the Executive Fellowship and developing continuing education programs for Alumni of the Executive Fellowship Program, including in-person trainings and other support. She also oversees OneJustice’s consulting work and provides training, resources, and coaching to the Board of Directors and Executives of legal services nonprofits on governance, fundraising, and strategic planning.

Departing Fellow reflects on social justice

OneJustice’s Megan Kent shares how human stories inspired a lifelong passion.

With her Fellowship coming to an end, we invited Megan Kent, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, to share with us her inspiration for becoming a public interest attorney.

We are so fortunate to have Megan as our Justice Bus Project coordinator in Southern California. Thanks to her leadership and coordination, 231 clients have received life-changing legal help!

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Guest Blogger: Megan Kent, OneJustice Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow

[Photo: Megan Kent, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, at an IMPACT LA with volunteer attorneys.]

Megan Kent, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, at an IMPACT LA with volunteer attorneys.

What drove me to start my career as a public interest attorney? It’s simple – social justice.

Prior to law school, I served as a social worker and educator committed to social justice advocacy. The people I met – their stories – were humbling and inspiring. I witnessed firsthand the effects of generational poverty, mental illness, and social isolation on an abused six-month old.  I also saw the child’s mother successfully battle a meth addiction and thereafter pull herself and her child out of poverty. I watched as depressed and isolated mothers gathered together for our weekly support groups, battling the effects of mental illness while simultaneously strengthening their attachment with their newborns.

Later, I advocated on behalf of a 22-year-old survivor of human trafficking whose condition had become so severe that he had to use a walker. He suffered from a severe neurological disorder that developed from the modern-day slave-like conditions under which he was forced to work. After receiving a visa granted to victims of human trafficking, he was able to receive an experimental surgery he needed to overcome the effects of his illness.

These people – their stories – inspired me to start my career as a public interest attorney. By serving in this capacity, I continue advocating for social justice causes, and continue addressing challenges affecting marginalized individuals and their families. At the same time, I can more effectively address systemic issues (like anti-poverty policies, racial injustice, and immigration laws) that affect marginalized individuals’ ability to thrive and succeed in our county.

My inspiring colleagues at OneJustice and I are able to do just that. Through projects like the Justice Bus, we’ve implemented innovative strategies to address systemic issues that affect low-income and underserved populations. Marginalized veterans, immigrants, seniors, and families throughout California are able to access quality legal services to address problems they face – services they likely would not access without our programs.

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[Photo: Megan Kent, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow.]Our guest author, Megan Kent, is an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow and member of the national Equal Justice Works Veterans Legal Corps. At OneJustice, she runs the Justice Bus Project in Southern California, bringing life-changing legal assistance to low-income Californians in rural and isolated communities.

How a hiker and a dancer got into Justice

OneJustice welcomes new staff: Part 2.

Welcome back! This month, we are featuring a two part series to introduce our new staff: two last week and two this week. Please join us in welcoming our other two newbies: Sandra Hernandez, Pro Bono Program Associate, and Katherine Pluymert, Healthy Nonprofits Program Associate. We are so excited to embark on this adventure with them, and would like to introduce them to you too!

Please welcome Sandra and Katie!

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Photo: Sandra Hernandez, Pro Bono Program Associate

Sandra Hernandez, Pro Bono Program Associate.

Sandra, what drew you to the work of OneJustice?  

I was born and raised in a rural part of California, and I witnessed first hand how difficult it was to access basic legal help. When I heard about OneJustice and their commitment to making legal help accessible to  communities like the one I was raised in, I knew I had to be part of this amazing team.

What will you be responsible for at the organization – and what do you hope to achieve?

As the Program Associate for the Pro Bono Justice Program, I will be responsible for supporting and coordinating many aspects of the Law School Pro Bono Project, Rural Justice Collaborative, and Justice Bus programs. I am also very excited to be working on the upcoming Statewide Conference in 2016. In the future, I hope to help the Law School Pro Bono Project grow so that many more students have the opportunity to be directly involved in making a difference in California.

We can’t wait to hear about the upcoming conference! Now tell us, what did you do before coming to OneJustice?

After graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in Theater Directing, I pursued my developing passion for community engagement. I worked at a nonprofit organization where I focused on outreach and helping families access resources and basic life necessities.  Through this work, I began to see the necessity for free legal help for underserved communities. Soon after, I began to seek opportunities in legal services to be able to make a direct impact.

And what is something quirky about you?  

One of my hobbies is hiking. Not the kind of hiking that you have to wear special shoes or carry around ropes and walking sticks for, but I do enjoy a moderate hike/climb. I find it is a very relaxing and rewarding activity!

Photo: Katherine Pluymert, Healthy Nonprofits Program Associate.

Katherine Pluymert, Healthy Nonprofits Program Associate.

Thank you, Sandra! Hello Katie! Tell us, why work with nonprofits and in particular, OneJustice?   

I really love the nonprofit sector, and I care deeply about providing essential services like legal assistance to people in need. But I think that a successful nonprofit is mindful not only of the services it provides, but also of the way that the organization functions as a whole.  It’s a huge blessing to work at a place like OneJustice, which helps train attorneys, executives, and entire organizations in best practice. It’s all the little things put together that make a nonprofit great. And a nonprofit functioning at its fullest potential can provide the best services to people who really need it! I feel really lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of the amazing work that OneJustice is doing.

What will you be doing at OneJustice?

I’ll be helping out by providing program assistance for the Executive Fellowship program, which helps train legal service nonprofit executives in a holistic set of skills like effective fundraising, communications, strategic planning, and board development. I’m also providing support for various consulting projects, and I will be coordinating PI/PS Day, which connects law students from several Bay Area law schools with public interest/public sector groups for their summer clerkships. I hope that the work I do will help support legal service nonprofits and law students, so that they can provide legal justice for all.

What did you do before coming to OneJustice?

I recently graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Sociology. One of the most formative experiences of my undergrad was a full-time summer internship with the St. Anthony Foundation in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, where I worked to provide homeless and low-income individuals with food, clothing and basic computer skills. It was through that experience—and others like it—where I discovered my love for nonprofits and the tangible impact that they can have on the lives of people in need.

Sounds like amazing work! Tell us something else about yourself!

I just finished up my tenure as Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper at my college, so if you need a catchy headline, I’m your person! I also used to be a competitive tap dancer and dance teacher.

Welcome Sandra and Katie! Thank you for joining us!

Justice with a side of Burritos and Science

OneJustice welcomes new staff in a two part series.

This month, we will feature a 2 part series to introduce our new staff: 2 this week and 2 next week. So many great new folks at OneJustice and we can’t wait for you to meet them! Please join us in welcoming the first two newbies: Chris McConkey, Staff Attorney of the Healthy Nonprofits Program and Patrick Fodell, California Pro Bono Institute Coordinator.

We were so excited to hear about these new positions that we asked them to share with us a little about themselves and their projects.

Please welcome Chris and Patrick!

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EDITED_Chris McConkey Photo

Chris McConkey, Staff Attorney for the Healthy Nonprofits Program.

So Chris, what drew you to OneJustice and in particular, the Healthy Nonprofits Program? 

OneJustice leads with cutting-edge best practices and optimism. I love that the Healthy Nonprofits Program (“HNP”) concentrates on strengthening California’s legal nonprofit infrastructure. HNP works –at both the organizational and system levels–through nonprofit management consulting and public policy advocacy. We help legal services nonprofits to become more robust and grow. A larger and stronger legal nonprofit infrastructure expands the availability of quality legal representation for people who are lower-income.

Tell us more about your Staff Attorney position. What kind of work will you be doing?

As a Staff Attorney, I will help with OneJustice’s consulting and public policy work. This includes researching, crafting, and sharing best practices in nonprofit law and management, such as strategic planning, program assessment, board governance, employment, ethics, and tax. I will also track and advocate for public policies that promote the health and positive perception of legal services nonprofits.

What was your career path that led to OneJustice?

Just before I came to OneJustice, I was the Staff Attorney and Intake Coordinator for the Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project (“LA HLPP”) at the Disability Rights Legal Center. At LA HLPP, I provided counsel and representation to people living with HIV or AIDS. Most of our clients were lower-income, LGBTQ, monolingual Spanish-speaking, and/or had co-occurring chronic health issues. I advised them on legal issues arising from their medical conditions such as employment discrimination, medical privacy, public benefits, and medical planning. Before LA HLPP, I clerked at the ACLU of Southern California and Public Counsel Law Center in Los Angeles.

All great answers, Chris! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I really like science–especially astronomy and astrophysics. I even prepared to study those subjects in college. Now, I visit the California Academy of Sciences whenever I can, and try to camp where there is little light pollution, so I can see the stars!

Thank you so much for answering our questions, Chris! Patrick, your turn! Tell us, why OneJustice?  

Photo: Patrick Fidell, California Pro Bono Institute Coordinator

Patrick Fodell, California Pro Bono Institute Coordinator.

I love how OneJustice fights for justice by engaging a broad network of individuals throughout California. I find this comprehensive approach very effective in fighting for those who need assistance the most. I also shared an office space with them while working at the Legal Aid Association of California, so I knew they were some of the most passionate and hardworking people I have ever met.

What will you be responsible for at OneJustice – and what do you hope to achieve?

100% of my time is dedicated to the California Pro Bono Training Institute (CPBTI), a new project of OneJustice. With our partners at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and Neighborhood Legal Services, we hope to achieve CPBTI’s goal of increasing efficiency in the statewide pro bono delivery system and expanding overall pro bono in the state by increasing access to trainings, reducing the creation of duplicative trainings, and facilitating easier recruitment and support of private sector attorneys. We all know how impactful pro bono volunteers are, so I am very happy to be part of a project that will bring in more pro bono volunteers throughout California to assist those seeking justice.

What did you do before coming to OneJustice?

I’ve been working in legal aid since I graduated from college in 2008. My positions at the Legal Aid Association of California, the Watsonville Law Center, and Self-Represented Litigation Network revolved around planning and executing trainings for either legal service organizations or community members. I am so excited to continue to plan trainings but this time for future pro bono attorneys!

And tell us something about you that is not work-related.

As a recent transplant to the Los Angeles area, I’m very into exploring LA in order to determine if Southern California does indeed have a better burrito than Northern California. The jury is still out, and I am open to suggestions.

We are so excited to welcome you two to the team!

See you all next week when we introduce our other 2 new staff members!

 

Dining out for Justice has never been so tasty!

This month, you can support OneJustice by dining at Credo Restaurant in downtown San Francisco.

Signature Cocktail_New Amsterdam

Credo’s Signature Cocktail: New Amsterdam Premium Gin, Fresh Squeezed Lime juice, and Ginger Ale

Each year, Credo restaurant (and long time supporter of OneJustice) seeks to reinvest in their community through direct action, charitable giving, and long-term partnerships with organizations whose goals and aspirations they share. Through their “Credo Community Partners” program, Credo reaches out to organizations they believe in that have matched the strength of their convictions with energy and action and highlights a specific issue that they care about. This July, they chose OneJustice as the beneficiary of this terrific program!

This means that every day in July, $2 of each signature cocktail (New Amsterdam Premium Gin, Fresh Squeezed Lime juice, and Ginger Ale) and signature appetizer (Fava Bean Crostini with Parmesan Cheese and Tuscan Oil) will be donated to OneJustice.

And as a part of this partnership, OneJustice will have a special “Take Over Night” on Thursday, July 16th, in which 20% of all sales during dinner service will be donated to us. 

So take advantage of this absolute permission to indulge – and feel good doing it! Come join us for food and drinks while supporting a great cause!

Hope to see you there!

OneJustice

Credo Image Newsletter

Did you hear about what happened last Thursday?

The OneJustice Network brought justice where it’s needed!

[Photo: Julia with Honorees: Kathryn Fritz, Claire Solot, and Martin Tannenbaum]

OneJustice CEO Julia Wilson and honorees, Kathryn Fritz, Claire Solot and Martin Tannenbaum, at the 2015 Opening Doors to Justice event.

Last Thursday night, over 60 corporate and individual sponsors and over 300 OneJustice supporters came together for this year’s Opening Doors to Justice event to honor Kathryn Fritz, Claire Solot, and Martin Tannenbaum for their leadership in advancing access to justice for Californians.

Generous individuals and sponsors, like you, raised a total of $273,000 to fund the Immigration Pro Bono Response Network. This project will provide regional training, support, and coordination to deploy private sector volunteers in the Bay Area and Los Angeles to bring vital legal help to those eligible for immigration relief. In addition, your support will launch a pilot project serving three high need rural counties — Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin — with local clinics and virtual connections to urban volunteers.  We promise to bring immigration relief to 450 Californians over the next year -thanks to you!

Photo: Betsy White, ‎Legal Counsel, Apple & OneJustice Advisory Board member at the 2015 Opening Doors to Justice event.

Betsy White, ‎Legal Counsel at Apple & OneJustice Advisory Board member, at the 2015 Opening Doors to Justice event.

We are so honored to be surrounded by passionate and amazing individuals, corporations, and organizations that bring life-changing legal help to those in need. We look forward to seeing you next year!

Thank you for bringing justice where it’s needed most.

The OneJustice team

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P.S. And in case you were unable to attend, check out our thank you videos in honor of Kathryn, Claire and Martin below!

2015 Opening Doors to Justice: Kathryn Fritz from OneJustice on Vimeo.

2015 Opening Doors to Justice: Claire Solot & Martin Tannenbaum from OneJustice on Vimeo.

Camelot photographer & seeker of justice

The OneJustice network lost a lion of a supporter.

But Randy Silver’s passion for justice continues through the Veterans Clinics in his honor.

My heart is broken.

Julia Wilson with Randy and Anne Silver at the Opening Doors to Justice event, standing together.

A sweet moment together at the 2014 Opening Doors to Justice celebration.

There are simply no other words for it.

Last year, Randy Silver, my dear friend and a talented photographer, donated an original, signed print of President John F. Kennedy for the live auction at our Opening Doors to Justice event.  Randy was the official photographer to President Kennedy from 1961 to 1963, while he was serving in the U.S. Navy.  He took this photo of the President at the Press Association Dinner in Washington D.C. in May 1963. Over the years, he had only produced three prints – until last year, when he created the 4th and donated it to the OneJustice auction.

Randy and Anne, his wife of 35 years, were there in the audience as the bidding went fast and furious.  Just at the point when the next-to-last bidder dropped out, Randy graciously agreed to produce and sign a 5th print so that there could be two final winners.  Together, the prints raised $8,000 – and to Randy’s surprise and delight, I announced on the spot that we would use the funds to create two Randy Silver Justice Bus Clinics to bring life-changing legal help to veterans in rural California, in honor of Randy’s years of service in the Navy and his incredible personal commitment to justice.

If I could go back in time to that moment, I would also run over and give Randy a huge hug.  And oh, how I wish that I could.

Because, you see, Randy passed away unexpectedly in January, leaving an unimaginable hole in the OneJustice network – and in my heart.

Just six weeks after his death, a team of volunteers boarded the Justice Bus and traveled to Northern California.  Over two days, they staffed the Randy Silver Memorial Legal Clinics for veterans in Chico and Redding – serving 36 veterans and their family members.

Photo of President Kennedy smiling.

And now Randy’s beautiful print of JFK is back in our office.  When one of last year’s winners, honoree Erika Rottenberg, learned of Randy’s death, she decided to donate her print back to OneJustice to be part of our live auction again this year.  Once again we will use the funds raised to support another series of Randy Silver Justice Bus Clinics, bringing volunteers from urban areas to set up mobile pro bono clinics for veterans in isolated communities.  It is incredibly generous of Erika, and I think Randy would be so pleased.  I wish so much that I could tell him in-person, but instead I have to just trust that he knows, somehow.

“For me, it is not a matter of giving back; it’s a matter of just giving because it’s the right thing to do.”

Anne & Randy Silver at the 2014 event holding a sign that says "I'm with Julia"

Anne and Randy Silver at last year’s event.  This message brings me great joy.

This was Randy’s acceptance message when the San Mateo County Chapter of the NAACP presented him with their 2014 Distinguished Service Award for his many years of devoted volunteerism with the NAACP and many other causes.  He was an active volunteer with the NAACP, Second Harvest Food Bank, Relay for Life, and Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo.  He offered his photography skills pro bono to the Annual Cyril Magnin Awards, Red Cross, San Mateo Women’s Hall of Fame – and of course, OneJustice.

He had a quiet and deep-seated passion for justice and a commitment to serving others.  He earned  a JD from Boalt School of Law, but knew mid-way through that the law was not his life’s work.  Instead, he began working as a social worker in Napa County and found a true calling in helping people work through the challenges and problems of life.  He obtained his Masters in Psychology at Chapman College, which launched a long and successful private practice  as a psychotherapist.

A third generation photographer, Randy created his first print on his 9th birthday, in his mother’s darkroom, and continued with photography his entire life.  This included teaching throughout the Peninsula, organizing national and international trips for groups of beginning photographers, and the production of three books that showcase his particular area of expertise – infrared photography.

Randy and Anne Silver at the 2013 Opening Doors to Justice event.

Randy and Anne attending the 2013 Opening Doors to Justice event.

And now Randy’s generosity will live on.  We will once again auction his original print of JFK – which sadly we now know must be the last signed edition.  His art will once again bring much-needed assistance to veterans facing pressing legal problems.  And I will try to find solace in the fact that in this way, Randy is still giving back – still making great things happen in the world – and that those of us left behind can continue on, in his name and taking inspiration from his life.

For Randy was a man of palpable integrity.  He cared deeply about the people around him and was effortlessly generous with his time, talents, and energy.   He died as he lived, with great dignity, and he will be sorely missed by all of us who had the great joy of knowing him.

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