EQUAL JUSTICE WORKS FELLOW, CLASS OF 2009
Peterson St. Philippe
Name of Host Organization: Gulf Coast Legal Services, Inc.
City, State: St. Petersburg, Florida
Issue area: Immigrant Populations
Sponsor: The Florida Bar, The Florida Bar Foundation
Being an immigrant myself, I have personal knowledge of some of the hardships that immigrants face. Growing up in an immigrant community, I understand the importance of quality immigration services. After realizing how few resources are available specifically to Haitian immigrants in the Tampa Bay area, I was moved to do my part.
My project targets Haitian immigrants in Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties and is designed to raise the awareness of the Haitian immigrant population about immigration relief that may be available to them through outreach and legal rights presenations. I will also meet their immigration needs by providing direct legal representation in immigration court.
Pompano Beach/Ft. Lauderdale, Fl, Florida
Making the connection:
Although I was always interested in public service, my work with Gulfcoast Legal Services during law school is what led me to want to do this project. My work with Gulfcoast showed me how much quality immigration services for Haitians was lacking. Given my background, I was naturally drawn to the work involving Haitians and felt that a project like this would be a great way add to Gulfcoast's services.
Surviving law school:
I spent a lot of my time at Gulfcoast Legal Services doing pro bono work with attorneys. I also did a clinical at Gulfcoast representing victims of domestic violence.