The electric slide, bicycle-powered juice stand, and growing up in Taiwan

Meet the new OneJustice staffers

Look who we stole away from the City of LA, Alpine Legal Services, and San Diego State University!

We’re delighted to welcome a new crew to OneJustice!  A heartfelt welcome to Cheryl, Ruby, and Arbour – all of whom fit right into the OneJustice network with their big hearts, big ideas, and big visions of a more just world.  We sat down with them and subjected them to a series of questions to satisfy our curiosity and yours.  Read on and get to know them a little better!

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Cheryl Banares, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Fellow – running the Justice Bus Project in Southern California

Cheryl, what drew you to the work of OneJustice?Cheryl Banares, Justice Bus Fellow

I was interested in learning more about OneJustice’s unique approaches to closing the justice gap in California, particularly the Justice Bus® Project. I worked at several public interest organizations throughout law school, but unlike the other projects I had worked on the Justice Bus was the first, in my experience, that was focused on providing free legal services to low-income Californians in rural and isolated communities. The idea of providing “pop-up” legal clinics in areas where they are most needed is what really interested me in the work of OneJustice.

What will you be responsible for at OneJustice?

I will be responsible for the Justice Bus Project in Southern California. I will continue to foster the existing partnerships with laws schools and legal services organizations in Southern California. I also plan to establish new partnerships and further expand the number of legal clinics throughout Southern California. I would like to plan trips to areas and counties the Justice Bus has never gone to in the hopes of providing legal services to more communities in California.

What did you do before coming to OneJustice?

Before I attended law school, I was a Legislative Analyst at the City of Los Angeles where I worked with other City departments to preserve and establish new parks and recreational areas throughout the City of Los Angeles. While in law school, I worked at several public interest organizations and participated in Loyola Law School’s Employment Rights Clinic. It is the culmination of these experiences that led me to the fellowship at OneJustice. Each of these experiences share a common theme of providing much-needed services to communities in the most need.

And tell us something else we should know about you!

I love to dance…though not professionally. You can often find me on the dance floor at weddings/clubs/lounges cutting a rug. My favorite type of music to dance to is 90s hip-hop and R&B, but I will dance to it all from the “running man” to the “electric slide.”

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Ruby Kimberly, Justice Bus Project Program Associate

Ruby Kimberly, Justice Bus ProjectSo Ruby, what caused you to want to work at OneJustice?

Having interned at a struggling legal services organization in rural Colorado, I was ecstatic to discover OneJustice and its critical support of small nonprofits of that nature. I was particularly drawn to the Justice Bus Program for its community building effect. Much of the pro bono legal work I have been exposed to in the past happened behind closed doors between an individual attorney and an individual client.  While this is certainly a part of Justice Bus clinics, there is also a much broader community engagement aspect that is fostered through the highly collaborative nature of the Justice Bus Program. This includes engagement between law students and attorneys with a common dedication to social justice, between OneJustice and smaller organizations, between urban and rural populations, and between clients and the legal services community.

What will you be doing at OneJustice?

As the Justice Bus Program Associate, I am responsible for organizing the logistical aspects of Justice Bus trips. This includes everything from booking the Justice Bus to ensuring each clinic is equipped with the tools necessary to best serve our clients. Through this position, I hope to continue improving upon the efficiency and sustainability of the Justice Bus project and assist in its expansion to reach as many underserved Californians as possible. My ultimate goal as an employee of OneJustice is to help empower disenfranchised individuals to exercise their legal rights as a means of cultivating a more accountable justice system for us all.

What did you do before coming to OneJustice?

I graduated from Colorado College in 2012 with a degree in History and Political Science and a deep commitment to social justice advocacy. While I had participated in nonprofit work extensively over the course my educational career, it wasn’t until the fall of 2012 that I became directly involved with legal aid as an intern at Alpine Legal Services in Glenwood Springs, CO. Through this experience I gained a profound understanding of the challenges confronting those forced to navigate the justice system with limited resources, and a lifelong passion for countering the detrimental effects this has on society as a whole.

And please share something not work related!

While in college I co-founded The Peddle Palace, a bicycle-powered, carbon neutral juice stand. This endeavor included biking 60 miles over a mountain pass while hauling a trailer of fruit to ensure our brand’s environmentally friendly status.

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Arbour Decker, Donor & Corporate Relations Manager

Arbour, tell us what drew you to the work of OneJustice!Arbour Decker, Donor Relations

I have always been passionate about equality, poverty alleviation, and assisting the disadvantaged. For me, the most important aspect of any job is knowing that I am positively impacting people’s lives. I feel strongly that all individuals have the right to successfully navigate the legal system regardless of income, race, education level, or geography. Therefore, it is a privilege to work for an organization that provides life-changing legal services to Californians in need.

What will you be responsible for at OneJustice?

I will be responsible for managing relationships with our organization’s wonderful and generous supporters. Without the involvement and dedication of this community, our services would not be possible. I look forward to further strengthening OneJustice’s amazing support system, which will allow us to continue funding our vital programs and services.

What did you do before coming to OneJustice?

Prior to OneJustice, I held various development roles, spanning from the Pacific Northwest to San Diego, California. I’ve recently engaged in fundraising for organizations such as the Boys & Girls Clubs as well as San Diego State University (also where I received my Masters Degree in Communication). I naturally gravitate towards nonprofit environments and have also volunteered as a domestic violence and sexual assault advocate for abused women and children in Portland, Oregon.

And what else should we know about you?

I did not move to the United States from Taiwan until I was 18, I am a food and travel enthusiast, I love watching and playing sports, and I was born two months premature!

Images that sear the mind

Thought-provoking images of justice and injustice

Results of the October justice contest

Win this awesome OneJustice water bottle!Congratulations to Emma W., the 16-year-old winner of our October “Images of Justice” contest.  Emma posted a photo of Minnijean Brown Trickey, one of the “Little Rock Nine” who integrated all-White Little Rock Central High in 1957.  And when we learned the back story to Emma’s connection to this photo, we just had to select it as the winner.

You see, Emma actually traveled with Minnijean on a 10-day bus journey through the south, learning about the history of the civil rights movement.  This trip was made possible by the amazing and award-winning nonprofit Sojourn to the Past,which takes thousands of high school students on an interactive history course that travels to civil rights sites, meeting with key leaders and participants in the southern United States.

And so Emma shared the photo of Minnijean not only because of Minnijean’s work as a civil rights activist, but also because Emma learned so much from Minnijean directly in the course of their Sojourn to the Past bus trip together.  (And yes, we loved that there is another bus out there focused on social justice – there are sister justice bus trips!).  Congratulations Emma – enjoy your Justice Bus water bottle.

Below is a collage of all the images that were submitted – a visual representation of both suffering and victory, despair and hope.  Thank you all for submitting.

And keep your eyes open for the November contest.  We’re going to switch up the contests for the next 4 months . . . so you can expect some changes – but still the same great Justice Bus water bottle as the prize!

Because lawyers and law students can be heroes

Serving those who have served our country.

And those who seek refuge on our shores.

What an amazing pro bono celebration this week has been.  What a great opportunity to recognize the work of the legal services nonprofits, law firms, corporations, and law schools – and thousands of individuals – who give back to their communities.  That you all!

We have you have enjoyed our daily doses of the power of pro bono – and that it has inspired you to get involved and volunteer in your community.  Please enjoy our final three videos that document the power of pro bono to serve two particular populations – veterans and immigrants who are seeking refuge in our country.

Happy Celebrate Pro Bono Week and Campaign for Justice Month!

Serving those who served our country

The power of law students doing pro bono

Thank you all for celebrating Pro Bono Week with us!

When you can’t work or make ends meet

Can you imagine the fear of not being able to work?  Or cover your most basic expenses?

Sadly, for too many Californians, their economic realities are a tangled mess of legal problems.

What if you cannot obtain the license you need to work?  Or what if your working conditions are horrific?  What if you can’t work – and can’t cover your most basic needs, including medical treatment.  Too many Californians face legal problems that prevent them from gaining self-sufficiency – because they can’t work, they work but don’t get paid, or they face crushing consumer debt.

Many pro bono attorneys volunteer in order to help poor Californians find economic opportunity, safe working conditions, and financial stability.  Watch the videos below to find out more.  With just two more days left of Pro Bono Week, the pro bono celebration is in full swing!

Pro bono can remove barriers to employment

LinkedIn’s pro bono efforts focus on economic opportunity

What if you were working – but in horrible conditions and without pay?

Pro bono assistance helped mitigate and manage consumer debt issues in face of illness

And we want YOUR pro bono stories, too!  What pro bono have you done?  Please share!  And thank you to everyone who gives so generously of their time and energy to bring life-changing legal help to those in need!

Keep a roof over their heads

Securing housing.  Preventing homelessness.

The power of pro bono – safe and stable housing.

It’s one of those basic life necessities – a roof over our heads.  To know where we will sleep tonight.  Someplace where we feel safe and secure.

But what if you are about to lose your housing – because you played by the rules?  Or because a foreclosure predator tricked you and 200 others?  Or because you fell into hard times – and couldn’t even get into the worst possible public housing complex?

What if your ability to gain or remain in housing was all tied up in legal problems?  Well, then it takes a pro bono attorney to step in and help.

Enjoy today’s daily dose of the Power of Pro Bono – all in celebration of national Pro Bono Week and California’s Campaign for Justice month.  Because lawyers can be heroes.  Just watch these videos, and you’ll see what we mean!

When pro bono makes the biggest difference you can imagine

When you risk losing your housing because you followed the rules

When a community needs to stop a foreclosure predator

When there is an overwhelming need for assistance

When you can move from being homeless

Pro bono means safety, security, and love

Pro bono makes all the difference for families.

Safety from violence.  Security after heart-breaking loss.  Keeping loved ones together.

Today’s daily dose of the power of pro bono focuses on families.  One mom helping another – and it just happens that one is a pro bono attorney and the other is escaping an abusive relationship.  Children who need the stability of loved ones in the face of heart-wrenching loss.  Family members who face legal barriers to staying together.

These stories could have happened to our neighbors, co-workers, and friends– and they might be similar to our own experiences.  Nothing is more central to the human experience than family. And what made the difference in each of these stories of loss and crisis?  Attorneys who were willing to donate their time, expertise, and energy to give back.

During this Celebrate Pro Bono Week and Campaign for Justice month, we raise a glass to all the amazing attorneys who step in to provide life-changing legal assistance to families in need.  Thank you.

What pro bono have YOU done for a family or a child?  Share your pro bono stories with us, as the OneJustice networks celebrates the power of pro bono to make all the difference!

The Power of Pro Bono – to save lives and serve seniors

Join the national pro bono party!

Yep, it’s Pro Bono Week and Campaign for Justice month.

Alright OneJustice network – are you ready?  We’ve got a lot to celebrate this week!

In honor of national Celebrate Pro Bono Week and California Campaign for Justice month, we’ve prepared a daily dose of pro bono bites for your enjoyment.  Tune in every day this week for a series of 4-5 videos starring folks who are on the ground delivering pro bono services.  Hear their stories about why they do pro bono, some of the clients they have helped, and lessons they have learned.

And of course we want to hear YOUR pro bono stories, too!  Don’t be shy – be a part of the national pro bono conversation.  Share your pro bono tales in the comments here or on any of our social media sites.

To launch our “Power of Pro Bono Bites”, below a set of powerful stories about how pro bono brings life-changing legal assistance to older Californians – bringing peace of mind, preserving Adult Day Health Care, helping in the midst of a medical crisis, and saving lives.  Dig in and enjoy!

Share those images of justice . . . or injustice

Nope, not your selfies please . . . 

Win this awesome OneJustice water bottle!But please do share photos and images for October’s contest

It’s time for the October “social justice on social media” contest, and you could win this nifty OneJustice water bottle!  Just post the most striking image you can think of showing JUSTICE or INJUSTICE to any of our social media sites.  Post by October 11th to have your image  reviewed by the team of OneJustice judges.

Don’t know where to post?  Great question – here is the list of options:

  • Post the URL to the image in a comment to this blog post (below)
  • Post the URL or the image to our facebook wall
  • Post the URL or the image to our LinkedIn page
  • Tweet the URL or image to twitter, using #OneJusticecontest @OneJusticeOrg
  • Post the photo or image on Instagram, using #OneJusticecontest @OneJusticeOrg
  • Pin the image on Pinterest using #OneJustice or pin to our special group Pinterest board

We’ll start your wheels turning by posting the first photo here. For us, this image is an iconic representation of INJUSTICE.

October Injustice Photo: water hoses in Birmingham

Birmingham 1963

Birmingham in 1963 had become a focal point in the civil rights movement as nonviolent demonstrators led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. repeatedly faced jail, dogs, and high-velocity hoses in their tireless quest to topple segregation. This picture of people being pummeled by a liquid battering ram rallied support for the civil rights movement.

See the image online here.

Thank you for posting!

Andrea is a pro bono dynamo

Removing barriers to justice . . . in both the nonprofit and private sectors!

OneJustice supports a network of 100+ nonprofit legal organizations, law firms, law schools, and businesses.  Each year this network provides life-saving legal help to over 275,000 Californians facing legal barriers to basic life necessities and core civil rights.  You – like everyone in our network – are an essential part of the solution for the millions of Californians who are suffering needlessly from solvable legal problems.

Andrea knows pro bono - from her prior work at the Justice & Diversity Center and now as Pro Bono Manager at Covington & Burling LLP

Andrea knows pro bono – from her prior work at the Justice & Diversity Center and now as Pro Bono Manager at Covington & Burling LLP

In honor of the work that our network does, each month we feature an interview with a different participant in the network. This month we interviewed Andrea Fitanides, California Pro Bono Manager at Covington & Burling LLP and former Supervising Attorney and Pro Bono Manager at the Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco.

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Andrea, you are involved in managing pro bono work at Covington & Burling LLP. How do you approach that work, and how does your approach also inform your work with OneJustice?

I have been fortunate to be involved in pro bono work from several different angles. First, as an associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP volunteering on a range of pro bono matters. Second, as an attorney with the Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco (JDC), developing pro bono projects and cultivating relationships with our volunteers and pro bono partners, including large law firms. And, currently, in my position as Pro Bono Manager at Covington & Burling LLP, partnering with legal services organizations on pro bono matters.

Having worked at a legal services nonprofit, I have a strong awareness of the invaluable support such organizations provide for law firm pro bono programs, from expertly screening matters for placement, to structuring volunteer opportunities, to training and mentorship over the course of the matter. And, as a corollary, we couldn’t have provided the services we did for the community at JDC without pro bono support from law firms. At Covington, I’m glad to have the opportunity to be part of providing resources to legal services programs, both in terms of volunteer hours and charitable giving.

Because of this, I believe strongly in collaborations in our pro bono work. OneJustice, in bringing together different pro bono stakeholders, is a great resource for supporting collaborations and thereby strengthening the services delivered to the most vulnerable in our society.

How does Covington & Burling approach its pro bono work and what are some recent successes?

Covington has a strong commitment to public service, and we strongly encourage all of our attorneys to participate in pro bono work.  We devote significant resources to finding pro bono projects that reflect the interests of our attorneys. Because of this, our pro bono program encompasses a wide range of areas, including civil rights, gay rights, veterans benefits claims, criminal matters, and transactional work for nonprofits.

Most recently, we are excited about victories in two racial profiling cases this year. The first was in Melendres v. Arpaio, a nationally publicized Arizona racial profiling case where a Covington team challenged disproportionate stops and arrests of Latino drivers and passengers by an Arizona sheriff’s office. The court there permanently enjoined the use of race as a factor in such stops and arrests—a significant civil rights victory for our clients.

The second was in Floyd v. City of New York, a federal class action lawsuit, challenging the unconstitutional stops-and-frisks made on the basis of race or ethnicity. In August of this year, a federal judge found the New York City Police Department (NYPD) liable for a pattern and practice of racial profiling and unconstitutional stop-and-frisks.

What have you enjoyed about being part of the OneJustice network, from both the nonprofit and law firm perspectives?

The Bay Area Rural Justice Collaborative brings monthly clinics to Napa County, as well as the Gilroy area and the coast of San Mateo County.

The Bay Area Rural Justice Collaborative brings volunteers to staff monthly free legal clinics in Napa County, as well as in the Gilroy area and the coast of San Mateo County.

I have always had a wonderful experience working with OneJustice and its dedicated, passionate staff. I greatly appreciated the support OneJustice provided to me as an attorney at a legal services nonprofit, including its orchestration of quarterly meetings for legal services pro bono managers throughout the Bay Area where we had a forum to share ideas, problem-solve, and develop our community.

At Covington, I’ve been excited to work with OneJustice on the Bay Area Rural Justice Collaborative (RJC) and to support its mission to expand access to legal services in rural communities throughout the Bay Area. I had the opportunity to volunteer at an early RJC housing clinic in Napa, along with one of our Summer Associates, Paul Meyer. There, we met with clients to discuss their housing issues and provided referrals, drafted letters to landlords, and gave clients information about their rights. As always, the OneJustice staff provided the needed support and training, in advance of and during the clinic, to further our ability to serve the clients. It was a rewarding experience and we look forward to supporting upcoming Rural Justice clinics.

Which project with OneJustice is most exciting to you right now?

Again, I would note the work that the RJC is doing, which is particularly exciting because it’s the first IMPACT (Involving More Pro bono Attorneys in our Communities Together) Project to launch in the country. The IMPACT Project is a direct response to a meeting held in Washington, DC in 2012 among Vice-President Joe Biden, Board members of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel (APBCo), and senior management of the board members’ firms, and is intended to provide increased access to free legal services for those in need. I hope that the Rural Justice Collaborative can become a model for delivery of legal services in rural areas that can be replicated nationally.

I’m also excited for the upcoming OneJustice California Pro Bono Conference this fall. It’s always a great opportunity to connect with pro bono stakeholders throughout California.  (Staff note: Click here for more information and online registration for the October 9th Pro Bono Conference.)

Thank you, Andrea, for your outstanding commitment to pro bono and legal services, and for your terrific work at Covington & Burling LLP.  We are so fortunate to have you in the OneJustice network!

 

Your icons of justice

What individual most represents justice?

You had some amazing answers to this question!

Thank you all for posting your ideas of the one person who most embodies the concept and/or work of justice.  The suggestions were wide ranging and truly inspiring!  We’ve posted nine of the submissions below – can you identify them just from their photos?  (Answers at the bottom of the blog).

And the winner of the awesome Justice Bus water bottle is . . . (drum roll please . . .)  Tim Smith for his suggestion of Martin Luther King, Jr.  With the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement underway, we couldn’t agree more!  Tim is a change agent and justice seeker in his own right as the Director of Programs and Engagement at the Full Circle Fund.  (Haven’t heard of the Full Circle Fund? Click here to check out their thoughtful and strategic approach to driving lasting social change.)

The October justice contest will be announced here and in our “Justice Matters” newsletter next week – keep up the posting, we love it!

From left to right:

Row 1: Martin Luther King Jr., Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt

Row 2: James Gilliam, Fred Korematsu, Ella Baker

Row 3: Dorothy Day, Alice Walker, Dolores Huerta