OneJustice Blog

Bring life-changing legal help to Californians in need.

Tag Archives: legal help

It’s never too late for a fresh start…

Over 100 individuals receive free legal help in Los Angeles!

IMAGE: Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and the John M. Langston Bar Association volunteer attorneys at the Fresh Start Legal Clinic in Los Angeles.

Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and the John M. Langston Bar Association volunteer attorneys at the Fresh Start Legal Clinic in Los Angeles.

On Saturday, March 19, 2016, OneJustice, in partnership with Jenesse Center Legal Advisory CommitteeAlternate Public Defender, Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Californians for Safety and JusticeICE out of LAIMPACT LA, the John M. Langston Bar Association, Legal Aid Foundation of Los AngelesLos Angeles Public DefenderNeighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, A New Way of Life Reentry ProjectOne LA I.A.F., and other Los Angeles-based community organizations helped give Angelenos a Fresh Start.

At the newly created Fresh Start Legal Clinic, South LA residents completed applications for the Traffic Ticket Amnesty program, which allows individuals with unpaid fines on traffic and non-traffic infraction tickets to get a reduction of up to 80% of the amount owed to the court or collections agency. Clients also filled out applications for Proposition 47, a program that changes low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanors.

Having a suspended driver’s license or felony criminal record can be a barrier to employment that keeps individuals and families trapped in an endless cycle of poverty. Without the ability to work and earn a living, families are forced to make difficult decisions about housing, transportation, and other life necessities. Traffic Ticket Amnesty and Proposition 47 programs can help end this cycle. Both programs are crucial to bettering individuals’ lives. Participants in these time-limited programs are able to improve their employment prospects, regain driver’s licenses, remove immigration barriers, and reduce old debts all through a brief application and short post-clinic process.

IMAGE: Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and the John M. Langston Bar Association volunteer attorneys hard at work at the Fresh Start Legal Clinic in Los Angeles.

Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and the John M. Langston Bar Association volunteer attorneys hard at work at the Fresh Start Legal Clinic in Los Angeles.

At the clinic, about 70 volunteers helped over 100 South Los Angeles community members with Proposition 47 reclassification and Traffic Ticket Amnesty. Volunteer attorneys helped clients with the support of community organizations. Thanks to the Fresh Start Legal Clinic, South LA residents face fewer barriers to success in their futures.

“[The clinic was] extremely helpful and it helps people to achieve what they always wanted to do,” said one client.

Thank you to our wonderful partners, supporters, and volunteers for making this clinic a reality!

For more information about Proposition 47, please visit http://myprop47.org/.

To learn more about Traffic Ticket Amnesty, please visit http://www.backontheroadca.org/.

Seasons greetings and…

Image: Happy Holidays from OneJustice

Wishing you a joyful holiday season and a happy New Year!

Thank you for being a part of the OneJustice family and for caring deeply about access to justice for everyone, regardless of income or geography.

You make OneJustice’s work possible…and we could not be more grateful!

During this season of gratitude, we thank you for bringing life-changing legal help to those in need. Thank you for bringing justice where it’s needed most.

Sending you warm wishes,

the OneJustice staff, Board, and Advisory Board

 

85 trips and counting…

Our very own Justice Bus Program Coordinator, Ruby Kimberly, tells us about bringing vital legal assistance to Hollister.

In her time at OneJustice, Ruby has coordinated 85 Justice Bus trips around the state! These trips are made possible by our amazing volunteers, partner organizations, corporations, and firms, who join forces to bring life-changing legal help to communities all over the state. As a valuable member of our Pro Bono Justice program, we asked Ruby to share a trip that resonated with her the most during her time at OneJustice.


Guest Blogger: Ruby Kimberly, OneJustice Justice Bus Program Coordinator

[Photo: Hollister-CA]

Photo credit: Realty World

I had been an employee of OneJustice for less than eight months when I boarded a bus to Hollister in July 2014. Before this trip, I had already attended over 20 Justice Bus trips bringing free legal services to nearly 600 low-income individuals throughout the state. Since joining the Pro Bono Justice team as the Justice Bus Program Associate the previous October, I had traveled to and helped organize free legal clinics in communities as far flung and geographically diverse as the Klamath, just south of the Oregon border, to Pixley, a census designated place at the far end of California’s drought-ridden Central Valley. And while each mile traveled proved as critical as the next, I felt something special on this particular day as we made our way down the 101, through Santa Clara County and into the sparsely populated San Benito Valley. This was the first time that the Justice Bus had ever traveled to Hollister, but it would not be the last.

The story of Hollister for me is one of a justice gap and how to fill it. For those who have never heard it, “justice gap” is a term used to describe the discrepancy between the concentration of legal resources in urban areas versus the concentration of low-income and particularly vulnerable populations in rural ones. For example, where as in San Francisco there is one attorney for every six low-income individuals, San Benito County has just one attorney for every 120 low-income individuals. Bridging gaps such as this is the entire raison d’etre for the Justice Bus Project, and it is a goal which requires the effort of a diverse group of stakeholders, usually located in multiple different regions, as well as dexterity and mobility (hence the bus!). And, never had it been more evident to me how well suited the Justice Bus Project is for this seemingly insurmountable task than in the case of Hollister.

[Photo: Lowenstein Sandler LLP attorney volunteers assist a client with citizenship matters at the July 2014 clinic.]

Lowenstein Sandler LLP attorney volunteers assist a client with citizenship matters at the July 2014 clinic.

Our journey to Hollister had begun several months earlier when we received a call from a teacher at the local community college. He heard about a Justice Bus clinic we were holding in a neighboring town to assist Green Card holders with their applications for citizenship and wanted to sign some of his students up. Despite the dearth of resources in San Benito County, we would not be able to serve his students, because funding restrictions on this particular clinic limited appointments to locals only.

But the thing I love most about the Justice Bus Project is that where there’s a will, there’s usually a way, and -– after piecing together four different partners from four different counties -– a way we found! Now just over a year later, we’ve held two immigration-focused clinics there, delivering free services to 42 individuals and helping to build a permanent network dedicated to serving the Hollister community.

We continue to receive phone calls from organizations across the County inquiring about our services and how they can help, and together, we’re watching as day-by-day this gap slowly shrinks.

“I am so thankful for this event because much of the time I don’t have the resources necessary to take care of things like [my immigration paperwork]. For me, it is very important to vote but I couldn’t for lack of money to apply for citizenship. Thank you for coming to our community and changing this.” – Client from Hollister clinic


Ruby KimberlyAs the Justice Bus Program Coordinator in the Pro Bono Justice Program, Ruby Kimberly coordinates Justice Bus trips in Northern and Southern California, mobilizing attorney and law school student volunteers to bring life-changing legal help to isolated communities in the state.

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