Aurora Martin

The Project

As an Equal Justice Works Fellow, Aurora worked on the housing justice project, a pro bono eviction defense program for low-income tenants.

Fellowship Highlights

During Aurora’s Fellowship, she learned how to coordinate pro bono services for eviction defense and directly represent clients.  Toward the end of her Equal Justice  Works Fellowship, Aurora had the opportunity to address systemic issues related to predatory eviction practices of slum landlords.

Next Steps

After working at Columbia Legal Services from intern to executive director, for a total tenure of nearly twenty years, Aurora stepped down to develop her own consulting business focused on social justice work.  Although she continues to do some consulting for a few nonprofit and legal aid clients, she is mostly now focused on co-leading a coalition-based environmental and climate justice organization, comprised of communities of color-led groups. Additionally, other key engagements include helping to launch the Social Justice Film Institute and coordinating the Federal Acknowledgment efforts of the Duwamish Tribe, the maternal tribe of Chief Seattle.

Media

Where Are They Now: Equal Justice Works Alumni Reflections Panel

Sowing the Seeds of Next Generation Rural Innovation: Two Rural Colleges in the Small Towns of WA, Have Big Ideas for the Future

In the Process of Reinvention, I found Sisters

A Few Last Words on a Career with Lawyers for Justice: Keep the Movement Moving

On Leadership, Still In Love with Justice

The Project

Lauren provides legal services to Bay Area residents harmed by encounters with the police through direct representation, community outreach, and impact litigation to defund the police and reinvest in communities.

Black and Latino communities are subject to constant low-level policing. This results in frequent encounters with officers, who then leverage their power in traffic, infraction, and other enforcement of laws that criminalize ordinary human behavior. All of these police encounters can lead to lifelong health consequences such as PTSD and asthma, the exacerbation of existing mental illnesses, trauma in Black communities, criminal punishment of the police’s victims, and interruption of employment and childcare. A gap in legal services exists when it comes to representing these kinds of injuries, leaving community members with the understanding that they must endure their injuries without redress.

Lauren’s Mexican-American upbringing and pre-law school work with incredible students of color in New York City motivate her commitment to racial justice.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

In the past year, Lauren has:

  • Founded and opened The People’s Clinic, which provides legal support to people who have been harmed by encounters with the police and other law enforcement agencies
  • Met with over 30 clients, drafted 15 government tort claims, and helped file two small claims actions against police departments in Northern California
  • Hosted a webinar for attorneys and activists about policing and surveillance in Northern California
  • Managed client contact and interviews for an investigation into a California city’s police department
  • Drafted portions of a complaint and subsequent motions for NAACP of San Jose/Silicon Valley v. City of San Jose challenging the city’s response to protestors during 2020 uprisings against police violence

Next Steps

In the next year, Lauren plans to:

  • Continue running and expanding the reach of The People’s Clinic
  • Continue providing legal support to current The People’s Clinic clients
  • Draft portions of future motions for NAACP of San Jose/Silicon Valley v. City of San Jose and assist in discovery process
  • Draft sections of the report on a Bay Area city’s housing authority police department
  • Support investigation into a California city’s police department’s policies and practices
  • Engage with communities in Northern California to learn about their experiences with police and how LCCRSF can provide support

The Inspiration

The Inspiration

The Inspiration

The Inspiration

The Inspiration