Photo of Asiyahola Sankara

Asiyahola Sankara

  • Hosted by American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California
  • Sponsored by Latham & Watkins LLP
  • Service location Los Angeles, California
  • Law school Howard University School of Law
  • Issue area Economic Justice, Racial Justice
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Asiyahola (he/him/his) will combat transportation enforcement practices that harm Black, Brown, and low-income people, by providing legal support and advocacy for alternatives to keep all Los Angeles County communities safe and mobile.

Travel on our transportation systems—roads, bridges, sidewalks, and public transit—is the most policed activity of everyday life. Each day, Black, Brown, and unhoused residents of Los Angeles County must decide between risking fines, fees, and traumatizing police encounters to reach their destination or avoiding their trip and facing the consequences. Further, adjudication of transportation-related penalties often occurs outside formal criminal court, without counsel, in privatized citation processes or kangaroo courts where the citing agency is prosecutor, judge, and jury. Yet the penalties are severe: spiraling debt, lost licenses, lost vehicles. There is currently great need for legal support for people facing this system and great opportunity to work with communities leading the charge to change it.

Fellowship Plans

During his Fellowship, Asiyahola will provide direct representation and legal services, including Know Your Rights trainings, to individuals facing transportation-related fines and fees. He will partner with directly impacted individuals, community coalitions, and labor unions to expand and institutionalize community-centered safety supports on transportation systems. He will also develop a policy report on reinvesting savings gained from discontinuing discriminatory transportation enforcement into alternative transit safety resources.

Ending punitive police practices makes financial sense, says ‘we hear you’ to the families of people killed by police, and allows us to truly reimagine safety on transportation systems by creating millions in savings to invest in alternatives.

Asiyahola Sankara /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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