Check it out: tips for inclusion workshopping, an upcoming LGBT panel, and more!

Five Hallmarks of Effective Equity & Inclusion Workshops by Shakti Butler, PhD, World Trust

  1. Begin by building community.

At World Trust, we always begin equity & inclusion events with a community building process known as conocimiento. Conocimiento is a term that comes out of the 1 Chicano movement that means ‘having knowledge of.’ In this context it means pooling participants’ strengths and acknowledging their value to the group’s collective learning and ability to take action. More than an icebreaker, the intention of conocimiento as a beginning activity is to draw out from each participant their own ‘lived experience’ regarding that topic at hand. She/he will recall what they have lived that constitutes a knowledge base (conocimiento) that will act as a foundation for further learning. Personal reflection and the sharing of conocimiento creates a more trusting learning environment that promotes a sense of belonging, critical for transformative learning on the topic of inequity. Regardless of the amount of time you have allotted for your session or event, I recommend you begin with your own conocimiento or community building exercise. Participants can arrive at an equity event with stifled fear, guilt, anxiety and anger, or simply distracted by other happenings in their day and not fully present. Taking even a brief amount of time for community building links personal reflection to feelings of unity and collective humanity. This exercise could involve asking participants to contemplate a question and share their thoughts in dyads, and then culling the whole group’s knowledge/values from the sharing (30 minutes or more.) If I only have 50 minutes to work with a group, I might simply invite the group to close their eyes, breathe together and recall a strength that they offer in their world. When I facilitate an evening screening & dialogue event with one of my films, I sometimes begin by teaching the entire theater a song and having them stand and sing it together. All of these exercises, and many others, can fulfill the critical role of beginning an event with community building.

Continue reading here

Equal Justice Works is launching a nationwide competition
to find seven passionate immigration attorneys
to begin two-year, postgraduate Fellowships in September 2015!

Each Fellow will work with a prominent nonprofit organization selected by Equal Justice Works in one of six cities – Denver, Los Angeles (2 Fellows), New Orleans, Oakland, Sacramento, and San Francisco – to provide high-quality, high volume legal services to immigrants in the host organization’s community seeking relief under the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs. Services may include but are not limited to:

  • conducting outreach to underserved populations to locate individuals eligible for DAPA or DACA relief;
  • providing direct legal representation to assist with DAPA and DACA applications;
    creating and conducting culturally competent “know your rights” sessions;
  • training and managing pro bono attorneys to expand DAPA and DACA services;
  • preparing written brochures and/or manuals on DAPA and DACA issues for widespread distribution; and
  • collaborating with other legal and non-legal service providers in the community to share information and run trainings.

The Equal Justice Works Fellowship Program provides financial and other forms of support to lawyers serving vulnerable individuals and communities throughout the United States. The two-year Fellowships offer salary (at least $41,000 annually), fringe benefits, generous loan repayment assistance, a national training and leadership development program, and other support services during the term of the Fellowship.

General Information about the Application Process:

Candidates may submit applications here on our website from APRIL 17 THROUGH JUNE 1. Completed applications require a resume, personal statement, references, and two letters of recommendation.

Fellows will be placed at a host organization with expertise in immigration law chosen by Equal Justice Works. Candidates may request to be considered for multiple cities. Top-scoring candidates will interview with the host organization, but final selection of the Fellows will be made by an anonymous sponsor. Interviews will be conducted nationwide throughout June, and offers will be extended on a rolling basis beginning in July. Fellows will start work in September 2015.

To be considered, a candidate must be a qualified and dedicated graduate (spring 2015 graduates welcome to apply) of an Equal Justice Works member school committed to working with immigrant populations. Individual candidates will be judged based on immigration law experience (in general and DACA/DAPA in particular); language skills; personal connection to the issues and to the locale; and strength of recommendations.

Please visit our website for more detailed information about the competition, including candidate criteria and timeline of the selection process. Please contact fellowships@equaljusticeworks.org with any questions.

May 13: On the Human Rights Frontier – The Global Struggle for LGBT Equality 

LGBT equality is one of the defining civil rights issues of our generation. While LGBT groups have achieved remarkable, rapid progress in many Western democracies, other regions of the world continue to repress and actively discriminate against LGBT individuals. Come listen and engage with international experts and transnational activists working toward LGBT global equality.

This event is part of the Intersections in International Affairs series, hosted in partnership with the World Affairs Council and Crosscut, and made possible with generous support from Henry M. Jackson Foundation. These events are free and open to the public. They are designed to engage international affairs stakeholders in honest and proactive conversation about the work occurring at the intersections of government, business, and philanthropy. And how we can do it better.

Advantages of being a rural attorney by Aaron Burt

Ever fantasize about retiring to a sleepy little town on the Washington coast or a bustling wheat town on the Palouse? Why wait? Here are five reasons for becoming a rural attorney, gleaned from interviews with three rural Washington attorneys.

Community. Rural towns have a larger sense of community, as your neighbors are also likely involved in aspects of your social life. Attorneys say that smaller communities really allow you to take the time to get to know everyone. This means it’s not client 14-5632 who’s calling in again about matter number 1405632A, but Joe Smith who’s having issues with his property line again.

Location. Despite what the country “lacks” (according to urban denizens), there are some incomparable benefits to living and working outside of the big city. Sure, there might not be a Starbucks on every corner and there probably won’t be that one restaurant that changes names and owners every six months. But with clean air, a welcoming community, and the opportunity to drink in nature on a daily basis and enjoy the silence and peace of mind of rural areas, the countryside features plenty of work-life benefits over the city.

Support networks. Rural communities offer a lot to new attorneys who are seeking mentoring. While in the city, it seems everyone is moving 150 miles an hour, rural attorneys have indicated they like to sit down and walk through issues with a new attorney simply because they can make time for it. This creates an unmistakable air of collegiality. Rural attorneys say they are just as busy as their city comrades; however, there is a different emphasis on what the best use of their time is. Dedication breeds dedication, and our rural attorneys are thoroughbreds of professionalism.

Variety of law. “Country law” is assumed to be land use, family law, maybe some criminal law, and, if you’re lucky, maybe some tribal law. And some think the city has the “real” law: intellectual property law, international law, and civil rights law, to name a few. However, the law is the law, whether it’s urban or rural. You will be dealing with all varieties of problems with your clients outside of the city, sometimes in the same day, and even in different practice areas. If you like your 31 flavors of ice cream in the same bowl, then practicing in the country could be for you.

Access to justice. Rural communities need lawyers like they need rain for the harvest. When the number of Washington attorneys representing clients in our rural communities is only marginally higher than the number of attorneys who practice exclusively out-of-state, this says something about where our attorneys are most needed.

Read the article here.

UW Law students: Come to the Access to Justice Conference, June 12-14, Wenatchee WA

Meet lawyers, judges and friends who are working for equal justice!

Attend workshops that will inspire you and take your learning to the next level about poverty law, racial justice and pro bono work, just to name a few!

UW Law will sponsor several students to attend but you must apply now. Email your resume and statement of interest to mestorms@uw.edu by May 1 with subject line “Application for ATJ Conference.” If you are selected to attend you will be notified by May 11. Sponsorship to conference will include paid registration for the conference and up to $250 reimbursement for documented travel expenses.

Learn more about the conference: http://wa-atj.org/

Learn about the amazing keynote speaker Lateefah Simon: http://wa-atj.org/lateefah-simons-keynote-at-atj-conference-guaranteed-to-inspire/