2015 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Mindy Phillips

Mindy Phillips

Name of Host Organization: East Bay Community Law Center
City, State: Berkeley, California
Issue area: Children/Youth, Immigrant Populations
Sponsors: Anonymous

The Project

Mindy will eliminate barriers to education and employment for undocumented youth and families through legal advocacy and community education in partnership with school-based health clinics in Oakland, California.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Lack of legal status compromises the education of undocumented youth and lack of education deepens poverty. Undocumented youth face multiple challenges, including educational access, inadequate housing, unfamiliarity with the legal system, fear of deportation, and limited English proficiency. Barred from legal employment, public benefits, and even internship programs and many scholarships, undocumented youth struggle to escape poverty. Because of these barriers, students and their families rarely obtain effective legal representation. This project overcomes access barriers by delivering immigration legal services directly at the school site. It also creates vital linkages to the East Bay Community Law Center’s holistic legal services and its medical-legal partnership with La Clínica de la Raza, an organization that runs school-based health centers.
The Right Person For This Project: 
Mindy is the right person for the project because:
• She has advocated for low-income immigrant communities, especially immigrant youth, in education, social services, and legal services organizations
• Prior to law school, she advocated on behalf of sex-trafficked youth in schools, juvenile courts, foster care, and health clinics
• As the daughter of a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines, she understands the fundamental difference legal status makes for youth and their families
Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship: 
In the first six months, Mindy will:
• Launch school-based immigration services at four schools
• Secure legal status for youth and their families through consultations and direct representation
• Empower youth and their families to advocate for their own rights and find the legal help they need through community education workshops

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