FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APPOINTEES UNITE FOR SERVICE DAY AT THE WHITMAN WALKER HEALTH CENTER
Washington, DC June 23, 2016–Key Obama Administration appointees from various government agencies gathered today to recognize the exemplary work of AmeriCorps members at the Whitman-Walker Health Center. Attendees learned about Whitman-Walker’s innovative medical-legal partnership—one of the oldest in the nation—that integrates legal and health care services under one roof. The event was hosted by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the agency that administers AmeriCorps, as a part of its ongoing celebration of Pride month.
Whitman-Walker is a longtime partner of national service, and current host site for AmeriCorps members serving as a part of Equal Justice Works’ Employment Opportunity Legal Corps. Under the program, one full time Legal Fellow and three AmeriCorps JD members provide holistic legal assistance to the LGBT community, with a special focus on removing employment barriers for transgender clients. The service members provide legal assistance for name and gender changes to legal documents; create pro se resources for criminal record expungement; and coordinate outreach and community education events with local partners who provide direct services to the transgender community.
“Having identity documents, Social Security, and other legal records that accurately reflect one’s actual name and gender is critical for a transgender individual, who lives with pervasive stigma and misunderstanding and who frequently encounters discrimination in employment, medical care, and housing,” says Amy Nelson, Director of Legal Services at Whitman-Walker. “Thanks to Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps members, we are working to fight this discrimination by providing direct legal services to transgender clients and working to expand a monthly name and gender change legal clinic at the center.”
As part of the service project, AmeriCorps members led a roundtable discussion, sharing their personal stories and engaging in a dialogue about the role that national service plays in benefitting the LGBT community. Whitman-Walker leadership and CNCS officials also got involved by detailing the origins of the program and its alignment with Presidential priorities. Finally, at the end of the day, appointees helped prepare STI testing kits that will be distributed at an upcoming community event.
Equal Justice Works is the national leader in creating public interest opportunities for law students and lawyers. Collaborating with the nation’s leading law schools, law firms, corporate legal departments and nonprofit organizations, Equal Justice Works offers a continuum of opportunities that provide the training and skills that enable attorneys to provide effective representation to underserved communities and causes. Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, visit www.equaljusticeworks.org.
Established in 1978, Whitman-Walker Health is a non-profit, community health center serving the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Through four sites in the District of Columbia, Whitman-Walker Health offers primary medical and dental care; mental health and addictions counseling and treatment; HIV education, prevention, and testing; legal services; and medical adherence case management. Whitman-Walker Health is committed to meeting the health needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and people living with HIV/AIDS. www.whitman-walker.org.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit www.NationalService.gov.