Tonya Herring

The Project

Tonya Herring worked with the Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) Housing Specialist to address the housing issues of Montana’s low-income population. Tonya provided direct services to MLSA’s housing clients. These services included giving legal advice through MLSA’s Helpline; working with pro se clients through MLSA’s Self-Help Law Project; and directly representing clients in housing cases. Additionally, Tonya was responsible for recruitment and training for pro bono attorneys and law students.

The Inspiration

The Project

The Equal Justice Works justice AmeriCorps Fellow will be responsible for providing direct legal representation in immigration and related proceedings for unaccompanied immigrant children aged 15 and under. The Fellow will be part of the justice AmeriCorps program – 100 lawyers and paralegals working throughout the United States to provide representation to unaccompanied children. Fellows will conduct thorough intakes of child clients and provide legal representation to children in immigration removal proceedings, including in cases involving asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and other forms of relief.

The Inspiration

The Project

Represent adults 60 and older in abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation cases. This project ensures that elders are taken care of in later life through guardianship or power of attorneys. The project protects elders from abusive situations and financial exploitation and connects the community senior service providers to create a support system for elders.

 

The Project

Jacklyn engaged Tribes to hold Wisconsin accountable to Clean Water Act (CWA) by legally and technically assisting a collaboration that assesses and addresses Tribes’ risks from the State’s regulatory failures.

Failures in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (WDNR) administration of the federal CWA were documented in a Petition for Corrective Action filed by Midwest Environmental Advocates (MEA), and in a report by the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau. Deregulation of public health, cultural practices and governmental sovereignty are all compromised by WDNR failure to comply with the CWA. Degradation puts the Tribes at special risk of harm as they depend on intact wild places for their cultural and nutritional well-being.

Fellowship Highlights

Jacklyn researched foundational relationships already established between host site, agencies and various Wisconsin tribes. She established an inter-tribal Advisory Committee that provided tribal issue area guidance and perspective. She traveled around the State to speaking engagements that aimed at educating and rallying tribal allies and advocates to join in understanding the complexity of this work. Finally, Jacklyn’s proudest highlight is leaving a new Class of 2019 Fellow to take over the work she’s leaving behind.

What’s Next

Jacklyn plans to transition back to California where she will continue to contract with Big Pine Paiute Tribe as a Tribal Policy Analyst in the immediate future.

Media

The Roots of Jacklyn Velasquez’s Work on Tribal Rights and Environmental Justice

Earth Day speaker discusses water and Wisconsin tribal communities