This is a guest blog post from Equal Justice Works’ Senior Manager of Pro Bono, Mia Sussman.
A colorful mural painted by students outside of the RYSE Youth Center in Richmond, Calif. includes inspirational phrases such as “youth leadership” and “justice equality.” Young people in this community face various challenges, including convictions that may threaten future employment and other opportunities. On February 25, young people with criminal records came to RYSE, a center that builds youth power and leadership for diverse Contra Costa youth ages 13–21, in order to obtain assistance in getting their juvenile records sealed.
The juvenile record sealing clinic was organized by 2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow Virginia Corrigan as part of her Equal Justice Works Fellowship. Virginia is spending her two-year Fellowship at the Youth Law Center in San Francisco, providing direct civil representation to incarcerated youth in Contra Costa County to protect their rights to education and health care. Virginia is also developing policy to ensure that California respects incarcerated youths’ civil rights.