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Ayanna Butler

2010, AmeriCorps Legal Fellowships, Ayanna Butler

Ayanna Butler

Name of Host Organization: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services
City, State: New Orleans, Louisiana
Issue area: Children/Youth, Family Law - Adoptions,

The Project

I represent children in foster care, adoption and Family in Need of care proceedings. Many of these children end up in State's custody as a result of abuse or neglect exacerbated their parents' substance abuse problems or untreated mental illnesses. I advocate for the children's best interests by working with social workers, court appointed special advocates and parents' attorneys to provide their families with resources that allow the children's caregivers to provide for their health, safety and well-being.

Biography

Hometown:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Law school:

Making the connection:

I deferred after Hurricane Katrina and started law school again in 2006. Almost every day there attorneys and community activists discussing work they were doing in education, criminal defense, immigration, and protecting the environment. I realized that they were fighting for a lot of ideals I believed in and that I could help.

Surviving law school:

Befriending and networking with like-minded individuals was the key. I focused on trying to put myself in a position where I would be excited to get up to go to work (most :)) mornings.

Recommended books:

Mama Day by Gloria Naylor - my all-time favorite which I have read at least 15 times; Medical Apartheid - Harriet Washington; The Immortal LIfe of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot; Say You're One of Them; All Deliberate Speed - Charles Ogletree; The Me I Want to Be - John Ortberg.

Favorite website(s):

facebook, www.salon.com, www.theybf.com