Sui Tlang* was first referred to the Clinic through several different partner agencies that were already working with her. As a young girl living in Burma, she was orphaned and grew up in a refugee camp near Thailand. While in the camp, she received little education and never learned to read or write in her native language. No one ever even tried to teach her English. When she got older, she was married and had two sons, but was soon widowed.
Recently, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic was honored at Exodus Refugee Immigration’s Celebrate the Life Ahead gala. We were given the award for Community Partner of the Year. Elizabeth Standiford, Director of Development and Communication at Exodus, says, “[The Clinic] is a true partner in upholding human rights and you have made such a difference for refugees.”
A huge thank you to everyone who attended our Justice for All gala 2016! We had record attendance with over 300 people coming to the event–our biggest JFA ever! Because of you, even more of our low-income neighbors will have access to justice. If you were unable to attend, above is a video we shared during the event.
This September was a flurry of preparations for our Justice for All gala on Thursday, Oct. 6th featuring guest speaker Bob Goff, best-selling author of Love Does. To everyone already planning on attending, we can’t wait to see you! And if you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, there’s still a little bit of time left!
We also released Episode 3, Part 2 of our podcast Courting Justice this month, in which we learn more about the community found by refugees who are resettled in Indianapolis. And we met Stephen, a veteran who suffered from PTSD and came to the Clinic seeking assistance with his mortgage.
Do you know any “Yes!” people in your life? You know what I’m talking about—the kind of person that’s up for anything, always ready to jump on an opportunity at a moment’s notice. Their idiomatic lexicon is replete with sayings like, “Let’s do it!” and “I’ll try anything once!” and “No regrets!”
If you don’t think you have anyone like that in your life, it’s you. For sure.
After completing the initial steps of the Clinic’s intake process, Stephen was assigned to Housing Counselor Helene Rodriguez, who was determined to help him. “It just made me realize that sometimes it’s not [a client’s] fault that they fall behind on their mortgage,” she says. “It’s their medical condition, or traumatic events.”
What kinds of things might bar a refugee or immigrant from entering the United States? What is our obligation as a UN nation to helping refugees? And what role does faith play in providing services to them?
In Part 2 of our special two-part series on Immigration and Refugees, Director of Outreach & Immigration Services at Exodus Refugee Megan Hochbein and Immigrant Justice Program Staff Attorney Rachel VanTyle answer these questions and share some of their favorite moments working with refugees.
This August, we contemplated the idea of sacrifice with the help of Executive Director Chris Purnell’s musings on sacrifice’s hope for a better future. We also learned more about Volunteer Coordinator Kathleen Bloxsome and her role at the Clinic.
We were introduced to two committed donors of the Clinic and their reasons for regular giving. And we celebrated both the success of our Naturalization Day, when Clinic staff and volunteers helped 62 clients on their path to citizenship, as well as the success of a Project Grace client who got his life back on track again.
On August 20, the Clinic held a 1-day event known as Naturalization Day. Hosted by Washington Township at Northview Middle School, volunteers and Clinic staff served 62 individual clients on the path to citizenship. According to Immigrant Justice Program Manager Brandon Fitzsimmons, tackling such a process in a single day is beneficial to everyone involved, with a higher volume of clients served in a much shorter timeframe. “We’re looking at 2 possibly 3 months of meetings, revisions, signings—everything truncated,” he says. “[Naturalization Day] is a benefit to the client and it also allows us to be more efficient with our own production.”
For those who want to begin volunteering, or who do not quite know where to start, Kathleen recommends the one-day events at the Clinic, saying, “No matter who you are, an attorney or not an attorney, they’re just a really great, engaging way to see what the Clinic is about.” These events are scheduled for a specific service, such as Refugee Adjustment Day, where staff and volunteers help refugees adjust their paperwork very quickly for the entire day. “It’s kind of like a one-and-done opportunity for them to come in and get some legal services,” Kathleen explains.