Alexis Bullock found the Clinic through Career Services at Franklin College, where she’ll enter her senior year in the fall. “I love the intersection of nonprofit work with legal services,” she says. This summer, she’ll be assisting Project GRACE and loves having the chance to connect the work she wants to do with her faith. “There’s so much more that the Clinic does for this community that I didn’t even know about and I’m really excited to help,” she says.
Due to recent events, the Clinic hopes to clarify and provide information to the public and our supporters regarding refugees. In the upcoming days, we’ll be sharing stories of just a few of the clients we have come to know and appreciate on social media, so be sure to like us on Facebook. We’ll also be sharing more information about why the Clinic serves refugees and why we believe this work is an important part of our mission.
The newest addition to the Victim Justice Program (VJP) came to the Legal Clinic by way of the Prosecutor’s Office. For the past several years, Annie Anderson prosecuted major felonies and worked some jury trials, with cases involving crimes like kidnapping, confinement, and armed robberies. While she enjoyed seeking justice for victims in the courtroom, she found herself wanting to work more directly with those in need.
Happy New Year! Above is a look back at the Clinic’s photo highlights from 2016–an abundant year filled with abundant life! In partnership with Outreach, Inc., we launched our Homeless Youth Justice Program this year, which allows us to provide free legal services to one of Indianapolis’ most vulnerable, and often-underserved populations. We also expanded our Victim Justice Program thanks to a VOCA grant through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, helping us to better meet the great need in our community.
What considerations must be made when working with victims of violent trauma? How can service providers help them feel safe and empowered? What are the potential pitfalls?
Join host Ashley Caveda as she discusses these questions, the long-reaching effects of trauma, and more with Legacy House Executive Director Michael Hurst and Victim Justice Program Immigrant Advocate Noemí Gallegos.
Brandon Fitzsimmons, who serves as the Program Manager for IJP, acknowledges the hardships faced by immigrants who come to this country. He says, “There is a sacrifice taking place on the side of the client, because they are leaving their homeland, the place where they were born and have their earliest memories and deepest cultural sensibilities.” Considering the hardships faced by immigrants helps to spur on their work, day by day. Rachel adds, “I like to remind people of how hard working immigrants are—that they are not taking advantage of our system. They’re not criminals; they’re not rapists; they’re not horrible people. They’re just trying to make a better life for themselves.”
Kelsey says, “In church and devotionals, the message that kind of kept coming up is that God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. So I feel like that’s been a comfort to me, just trusting that I do feel like God has brought me here. Trusting that I’m going to do the work that He wants me to do. And that’s kind of a prayer that I pray just about every day: Let me serve my clients the way that He wants them to be served.”
The last straw came when Leslie’s husband graduated from hitting her to hitting their children. One day, she came home from work to discover that he had beaten their three-year-old daughter, Samantha*. This small child looked up at Leslie and told her that she was scared of her father. Leslie knew the situation was untenable. And so, a few days later, while her husband was out of the house, Leslie made her move. She packed up some belongings and she and her three children fled to the Julian Center.
Such upsetting cases can be difficult to see everyday, so Patti and the rest of the VJP staff try to remember the higher purpose behind their work. Patti says, “This population is what I would consider the most vulnerable, especially the immigrants and human trafficking victims. So just knowing that we’re called to help the vulnerable, I would say that really, when it’s hard, you just reflect on that. These are the people who need help the most.”
Every day at the Clinic, we encounter new clients who are seeking refuge in our country. Though their reasons for leaving their homeland may vary, they are often in need of legal services. As a legal services agency, we are committed to assisting these individuals, but oftentimes the need is greater than the resources that are available. That is why we’re asking other attorneys to equip themselves with vital information regarding Immigration Law and to consider taking on a volunteer case with the Legal Clinic.