Since high school, my goal has been to provide quality immigration legal services to my community. After learning the skills and knowledge I need to be an effective advocate, I am happy to have the opportunity to return and serve my community.
Jenny Ballesteros Magdaleno /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow
Maya (she/her/hers) will establish a farmworker Medical-Legal Partnership hosted by the Central West Justice Center and in partnership with the Connecticut River Valley Farmworker Health Program to provide holistic care and advocacy in housing, benefits, and employment matters to farmworkers in Massachusetts.
Thousands of farmworkers in Western Massachusetts work for long hours and low pay to put food on our tables. In addition to extremely hazardous labor, farmworkers are twice as likely to live in severe poverty, face housing instability, poor living conditions, and food insecurity. Some farmworkers are also isolated and difficult to reach through traditional legal aid models. Maya’s project will develop and implement a Medical-Legal Partnership to address farmworkers’ unmet legal needs and work with medical clinic staff to improve the health and wellbeing of farmworkers and their families.
Maya is passionate about improving access to critical services for farmworkers in her community and aims to use her legal education to fight for the health justice and legal rights of this underserved population.
During her Fellowship, Maya will represent farmworker clients with their housing, benefits, and employment needs. She will be on-site in the farmworker medical clinic to provide advice and consultation to farmworkers. Maya will also engage with farmworkers and other organizations to conduct outreach and training on the rights and resources available to farmworkers. Finally, Maya will engage in policy advocacy on issues impacting farmworker health at the state and national levels.
Farmworkers are one of the most essential and underserved populations in Massachusetts. Having grown up in Springfield, I am proud to develop a model of holistic services to improve the health and well-being of farmworkers living in my community.
Maya McCann /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow
Gabo (he/him/his) will advance the rights of low-wage, Spanish-speaking workers in Yakima, Washington, experiencing wage theft, health and safety violations, discrimination, and retaliation.
In May 2020, warehouse workers across the Yakima Valley walked off the job demanding stronger protections as COVID-19 raged across their workplaces. Overwhelmingly Latino and often undocumented, these workers suffered the highest rate of infection on the West Coast, with no access to unemployment, workers’ compensation, or adequate health care. No other legal services provider in the state can help individual workers in employment matters regardless of immigration status. As a result, Yakima workers face a profound access-to-justice gap that makes it nearly impossible to recover stolen wages, enforce workplace safety protections, and fight discrimination in the workplace.
Gabo will represent individual workers with wage theft, health and safety, discrimination, and retaliation claims. He will also provide assistance to workers filing administrative complaints with state agencies. Alongside Fair Work Center’s Yakima-based educators, he will develop Spanish-language know your rights materials for Yakima workers. Finally, he will develop strategies to increase Washington labor agency enforcement of state wage and hour and health and safety standards.
As the child of a Latino immigrant, I went to law school to use my language skills to empower workers. Fair Work Center’s holistic model creates the opportunity for the type of collaborative, creative approaches I’ve seen transform the conditions and power dynamics of workplaces.
Gabo Gutierrez /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow
Anne provided direct legal services to Haitian farmworkers and the Haitian community through a Medical Legal Partnership with Florida Legal Services and Orange Blossom Family Health.
This Fellowship addressed the lack of legal services available to the Haitian community in Central Florida due to language barriers and cultural competence gaps. Haitian Farmworkers and their families have difficulties accessing legal aid and face unique barriers to healthcare access. This Medical-Legal Partnership provided the community with legal assistance and medical professionals that were culturally aware of their needs.
During the two-year Fellowship, Anne:
Established a Medical Legal Partnership with Florida Legal Services and Orange Blossom Family Health to serve the Haitian community in Central Florida
Provided full representation to 35 clients, including on matters involving Social Security Disability claims, Temporary Protected Status, mortgage claims, and eviction issues
Provided brief services, advice and/or referrals to over 95 individuals
Gave 12 presentations to local community organizations on Temporary Protected Status and immigration scams to avoid, reaching nearly 300 community members
Through engagement with statewide organizations for farmworker justice, advocated for the creation of Florida’s first Farmworker Advisory Council under the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Developed the first Haitian coalition in Central Florida, known as the Central Florida Haitian Coalition, to provide education on healthcare, immigration, and child welfare
Hosted four legal clinics with the Consulate of Haiti’s Emergency Haitian Task Force to address the needs of newly arriving immigrants in Orlando
Anne will continue to serve as the Medical Legal Partnership attorney with Florida Legal Services and Orange Blossom Family Health, growing the MLP to service Haitian crime victims. Anne will host legal clinics to ensure newly arriving immigrants have access to legal assistance and will host quarterly workshops to educate the Haitian community about healthcare, mental health, and housing issues.
“L'union fait la force”—which means unity is strength—is Haiti’s national motto. As a Haitian-American woman and child of Haitian immigrants, I am driven to not simply give back, but to help create change to better the lives of Haitian farmworkers.
Anne Piervil /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow