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Kathleen Kersh

2013, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Kathleen Kersh

Kathleen Kersh

Name of Host Organization: Advocates for Basic Legal Equality
City, State: Dayton, Ohio
Issue area: Immigrant Populations
Sponsors: Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation

The Project

Katie promoted and facilitated trust between immigrants and law enforcement in the Dayton area in conjunction with existing efforts to successfully integrate immigrants into the community.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
Recent increases in immigrant populations and heightened political attention that immigration issues receive have put pressure on cities like Dayton to decide whether they will embrace immigrant communities or isolate them. The Welcome Dayton Plan, an immigrant-friendly city initiative, identifies a mistrusting relationship between law enforcement and immigrant communities as one of the key barriers to immigrant integration. Katie’s project creates an immigrant-friendly law enforcement model for the Dayton Police Department and surrounding jurisdictions. Katie presents know-your-rights trainings to immigrant communities to raise awareness of legal rights and remedies available to victims of crime, workplace exploitation, and racial profiling; Katie also provides direct legal representation on these issues.