Back to top

Rick Mula

2015, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Rick Mula

Rick Mula

Name of Host Organization: Southern Poverty Law Center
City, State: Montgomery, Alabama
Issue area: LGBT Rights, Children/Youth
Sponsors: Albert & Anne Mansfield Foundation

The Project

Rick will reduce bias and violence that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth in Alabama and Tennessee face in school, foster care, group homes, juvenile detention, and homeless shelters through advocacy and representation.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
Many LGBT young people face severe and pervasive bias, harassment, and even violence in school and in out-of-home care because of their gender or sexuality. These problems are more prevalent in the South than in other parts of the United States, with 80% of LGBT youth in Mississippi feeling that they do not fit in with their peers, compared to 47% of LGBT youth nationally. For every dollar of domestic LGBT funding, no more than four cents goes to southern LGBT people due to a lack of regional philanthropic funding sources. This project will help to fill the significant gap in services for LGBT people living in the South caused by the scarcity of funding while also focusing on youth, a particularly vulnerable segment of the LGBT community.
The Right Person For This Project
Rick is the right person for the project because:
• He has practiced legal advocacy for LGBT individuals at the Southern Poverty Law Center, Lambda Legal, and the National LGBTQ+ Task Force
• He is from Northeast Tennessee and understands the types of communities he will be serving, due to his own discrimination in his home town
• He is passionate about creating a world where all genders and sexualities are valued equally
Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship
In the first six months, Rick will:
• Expand existing online social media presence to publicize referral resources and identify potential clients
• Develop media campaigns around recurring legal issues involving settled areas of law such as the right to take a same-sex partner to prom or the right to use a restroom that corresponds to one’s gender identity
• Conduct “Know-Your-Rights” trainings for youth
• Train key players in schools and the child welfare system on LGBT cultural competency and legal obligations to serve all young people
• Begin to conduct intake interviews, counsel clients, and provide representation