To develop effective tools and resources that assist state court leaders in engaging marginalized and disenfranchised communities to ensure equal access to justice for all, and to improve the trust and confidence those communities have in state courts to protect their individual rights and liberties and resolve disputes fairly.
The Community Engagement in the State Courts Initiative had its beginnings in the wake of Ferguson and has since continued to evolve. Community engagement is essential in light of the numerous tragedies the nation has faced, including those involving Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Antonio Valenzuela, Melissa Ventura, Preston Bell, Loreal Tsingine, and many more. The goal of the project has been to get proximate, to get close to socioeconomically disadvantaged, underserved communities – in order to help advance understanding of how courts can best engage these communities to address structural, institutional, and other problems which undermine trust and confidence in the courts.
The project included three phases:
(1) The Listening Phase, which featured the nationally televised Courting Justice Listening Tour
(2) The Problem Identification Phase, which clarified and prioritized the main findings of the Listening Phase and helped frame the purposes of the pilot projects
(3) The Pilot Phase, which resulted in the present toolkit
Use the tiles below to learn more about the listening tour and pilot projects or to go straight to the toolkit and resources.
Video Toolkit Tidbits
Kansas City, Missouri and Texas pilot teams reflect on the importance of the ENGAGE! toolkit to court community engagement across the nation
Watch several state pilot sites give overviews of their efforts.