As 2020 draws to a close in the midst of a global pandemic, economic upheaval, social unrest and a national awakening to the pervasiveness of systemic racism, we talked with Anne Robinson, General Counsel at Vanguard, CR board member and co-chair of this year’s Children’s Rights gala benefit.
What are your feelings as a Black woman in this moment?
Police brutality and racial violence are not reserved for black men. I fear for my brothers, but I also fear for myself and my daughter. Breonna Taylor was in her own home when police officers entered unannounced in the middle of the night and filled her body with bullets. My 13-year-old daughter Olivia was just a toddler when seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was gunned down in her grandmother’s home under strikingly similar circumstances. When people ask me how I am doing, sometimes I answer with honesty and vulnerability and instead of saying “I’m fine” I say, “I am tired.” Yes, I am saying that I am sick and tired but I am also just tired because some nights I genuinely can’t sleep comfortably in my own home.
Where do you find your hope?
Hope, for me, is squarely about a vision for a better future. Hope isn’t derived from where we are or what is happening today. It’s not about how close to or far away we are from that vision for a brighter tomorrow. It’s the vision itself. If you can’t imagine a future of health, fairness and equality, and prosperity and happiness, then you won’t fight for it. The status quo wins. Dissent is my hope.
How does being a dissenter align with being a lawyer?
I learned how compatible the two roles are from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, whose death was another blow for me and so many people this year. It’s almost impossible to honor the practice of law and not have a profound respect for Justice Ginsburg’s impact as a civil rights advocate propelled by her brilliance as a constitutional law scholar. She was known as a great dissenter. And she knew what makes dissent powerful. She recognized the value of the debate, the philosophical and constitutional analysis, and the transparency into the process. She knew that dissent, as court opinion, is really speaking to the future. She described this as “the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today, but for tomorrow.”
Why do you believe so strongly in Children’s Rights?
My beautiful daughter is blessed and highly favored. If she needs me, she has me. But girls in group homes have no mom, no aunt, no grandmother, no Godmother. No one is there for them. Children’s Rights is their staunchest advocate. The mission of Children’s Rights is simple: we use the law to make sure all children get the basic protections that they deserve. As a lawyer, advancing that mission is a no-brainer. It’s what attracted me to Children’s Rights. As a board member, I am proud to say that Children’s Rights is having a greater impact on the lives and futures of kids than any other child advocacy organization in the U.S.
Children’s Rights has worked for more than 25 years to create broad systemic change in child welfare, juvenile justice, healthcare, and immigration systems. Our work is even more crucial today, as the children we serve disproportionately bear the brunt of the crises of this tumultuous year.
And we don’t just help one child. We have helped 1.5 million and counting.
Don’t miss out on an evening of gratitude, celebration, and fun to celebrate 25 years of fighting for kids. Join us as we honor Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award-winner Cyndi Lauper in recognition of her lifetime commitment to protecting the rights of vulnerable children from homelessness.
Special guests Lexie Perez-Gruber and Sixto Cancel invite you to discuss how we can create #1Nation4Children.