Page 17 - LifelineInaugural
P. 17

at the numbers of those incarcerated, you will easily  on his property value.
        see who  has been  convicted  more for crack form
        of cocaine versus the powder substance. So what  “We’ve done a lot of things that are bad for business,
        message are we sending?  When a black woman is  but sometimes it’s not all about business  and being
        convicted for Medicare fraud for $2,500 and is facing  safe.  The family of Martin Lee  Anderson  hired  us
        10 years imprisonment and a white man is convicted  after being turned down from two firms because they
        for embezzlement of $25 million and is facing two years  considered  the case too controversial,” Crump says.
        imprisonment, what can you do? I’m not proud that I left  Anderson was the teen who was murdered by boot
        criminal cases, but civil cases gave me an even shot  camp officials. His murder was ruled an accident, but
        in the courts. I have a greater chance in court battling  the family won a civil suit. “Many firms would have done
        BP, State Farm, and big corporations like that versus  the same, but causes like this mean a lot to our firm,
        getting an equal shot at justice for fellow black men in  Crump says. The hiring of numerous Black law clerks,
        criminal cases…and that says a lot.”                   giving ex-convicts a second chance, and the numerous
                                                               sponsorships of community service events… none of
                                                               it’s good for business, but it’s good for our community
        “    WE TRY OUR BEST                                   and we try our best to give back, even if it hurts us to
                                                               do so.”
        TO GIVE BACK,

        EVEN IF IT HURTS                                       As the phone  continues  to ring, Crump has realized
                                                               he has talked beyond  his limit. He grows eagerly
        US TO DO SO.                      ”

        Although  Crump left the criminal  law practice, it
        doesn’t mean that he’s deserted those who need help.
        He’s  vocal  in  his  community  support.  His  firm  offers
        numerous clerk positions for law school students, he’s
        hired ex-convicts to  work for  companies he owns or
        have partnerships with, and most notable he donated
        one million dollars to North Florida Legal Services.
        “In our community we can’t afford to pay the top lawyers
        by the hour. I understand that, but I also understand
        the needs of those that have been wronged and need
        representation,” Crump says. “So that’s why I support
        legal services, they take on the cases that most private
        lawyers,”  can’t take and  many of these cases come
        from our communities.”
                                                               passionate when speaking of equality, civil rights and
        Staying  visible  in the community is a main  focus for  the uplifting of his community. His secretary tells him
        Crump. Although his firm is very successful, he (along  that lawyers have arrived from Jacksonville  to meet
        with Parks) elected to build his home on the southside  him. He asks her to spare him one last minute for he
        of the city, which is often riddled with neglect.      wants to make sure he adds his final comment.
        “Sure we could have built our homes in Killearn (the  “I speak out a great deal about our (American) laws, but
        ritzy part of  Tallahassee),  but what would  that have  I want to be very clear. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere
        displayed? Sure, our homes would have been worth  else  in the world.  It may not always  be fair, but in
        more. Sure, our property value has plummeted, but  America you get a shot at justice. In some countries
        we  are  staying  true to our  commitment to serve  our  you don’t even get that.”
                                                               As long as Benjamin Crump continues to practice law,
        Another reason that Crump decided to call the southside  one shot is usually all he needs. He just hopes that in
        home is because  he wanted  his property tax dollars  the future, as it relates to black men, that it’s more of
        to benefit the schools in his community. Crump, being  a fair one.
        the philanthropist he is, knew he wanted to continue to
        donate to the disenfranchised, even if it meant losing

       LIFELINE magazine                                                                                       17
   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22