Maura Hagen

The Project

I am concentrating on promoting citizenship to refugees and other eligible immigrants. I will be conducting naturalization clinics throughout Michigan as well as engaging in direct individual representation for refugees experiencing significant delays in their applications for green cards and citizenship. I will also be working on immigration integration efforts including promoting access to government and social services and working on public awareness regarding the contributions of immigrants to the local community and economy.

The Inspiration

The Project

Elly provided legal support to low-income and homeless veterans, with a special focus on serving women, people with mental illness and traumatic brain injury, survivors of sexual assault, and LGBT veterans. We represent clients who have been denied VA disability benefits, and assist clients to navigate other public entitlement systems as well. We also assist clients to expunge their criminal records so that they face fewer barriers to employment. Finally, we collaborate with other veteran-serving organizations to identify and eliminate systemic barriers to housing, healthcare and benefits.

I am proud to be able to respectfully support people so that they are better able to live well, heal, and be able to draw on the resources they need to survive and thrive.

Elly Kugler /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Alex focused primarily on the barriers and discrimination former inmate’s face when re-entering the general population. Alex worked with individuals, groups, and service providers through trainings, support activities and the production of written materials.

The Project

My project is focused on victim based immigration legal remedies, such as U visas (for victims of certain crimes), Violence Against Women Act self-petitions (for battered spouses, children and parents of abusive U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents), and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status applications (for unaccompanied minor immigrants). My responsibilities are a combination of direct client representation, pro-bono attorney recruitment, training and support, as well as community education and outreach.

The Inspiration

The Project

Pauline focused on homelessness prevention, landlord and tenant issues, affordable housing advocacy, and community development in Orange County, CA. The direct legal services component provides eviction defense, habitability, subsidized housing benefits, home ownership, foreclosures, and discrimination. Also, Pauline advocated on behalf of low-income residents for fair and affordable housing through litigation and education.

The Project

In the aftermath of the BP Oil Disaster in 2010, Lan Diep moved to Biloxi, Mississippi to serve as an Equal Justice Works/AmeriCorps legal fellow at the Mississippi Center for Justice, where he provided assistance to fishermen, small business owners, and other victims looking to file claims against BP. Fluent in Vietnamese, he particularly focused his efforts on aiding the limited-English-proficient Vietnamese American community in the Gulf, who account for over a third of the fishing industry in the area. Lan’s project included outreach and education efforts into the Gulf communities at large and particularly the Vietnamese American community.  In his second year, Lan focused on creating a lasting impact beyond his Fellowship term. Lan worked to ensure that as many documents as possible are translated in to Vietnamese and educate the community as to their rights and to ensure that they know a denial from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility is not the end of the road.

What’s Next

After two years of public service in the Gulf, Lan Diep returned to San José and took a job with the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center, directing the Vietnamese American Workers’ Rights Project, where he again used his Vietnamese language skills to help disenfranchised Vietnamese Americans learn about and pursue their rights, this time in the context of employment law. In this role, Lan Diep helped improve the condition of low-income workers while simultaneously combating the anticompetitive business practices of unethical employers. Lan ran for San José city council in in 2016 and won. Since taking office, he has worked to build a stronger San José and a more inclusive city by focusing on economic development, building affordable housing, improving transportation options, and smart land use.

Lan Diep’s record of service has won national recognition. The Huffington Post hailed him as the Greatest Person of the Day for April 27, 2011; President Barack Obama deemed him a White House Champion of Change in 2011; and President George H. W. Bush selected him as a Daily Point of Light awardee in 2012. Most recently, he was featured in the Washington Post, CNN, Upworthy, and Nerdist.

Media

A comic book nerd won a city council seat — and was sworn in holding his Captain America shield

The man behind the shield: San Jose Councilman Lan Diep

My Impact: A Conversation with 2011 Equal Justice Works Fellow Lan Diep

The Project

My project at Legal Aid of the Bluegrass is to provide legal representation to victims of domestic violence at protection order hearings, and with matters related to custody and divorce. In Kentucky, there are a large number of rural counties with limited access to legal representation for victims of domestic violence. I will be expanding the services offered to this population of clients in these rural communities by personally representing them or referring them to our volunteer attorney's for that area.

The Inspiration

The Project

Roberto provided access to justice for low-income residents of Orange County, California by providing direct legal assistance to low-income clients in the areas of dissolution, child custody, paternity, domestic violence, adoptions, guardianships, and conservatorships. Roberto used a combination of legal counseling, document preparation, court representation, community education, and legal clinic coordination, including staffing a courthouse based guardianship clinic.

The Project

Lauren practiced foreclosure defense and predatory mortgage lending by defending low-income homeowners in foreclosure cases and affirmative cases against lenders who have engaged in illegal lending practices.

The Project

The goal of the medical-legal partnership is to facilitate legal triage and access for hundreds of vulnerable families whose health or medical conditions are threatened by their overwhelming legal needs. Katrina dramatically changed the lives of New Orleans citizens. Five years later, people are dealing with a combination of environmental issues and stresses that complicate the overwhelmed health care system’s attempts to address the patients health care needs.