L.A. Justice Fund: Reflecting on Impact and Vision for the Future

February 20, 2019

Hon. Hilda Solis, Fred Ali, Antonia Hernández. Photo: Michael Baker, County of LA

From the vibrant streets of Chinatown to the aromatic scents of Olvera Street, Los Angeles is a beacon of America’s promise that investing in diversity and inclusion is investing in our future. Everywhere you look different people, cultures and ideas collide to bring you a kaleidoscope of potential. Our diversity is part of what makes us thrive. As a response to increased threats against our immigrant communities, Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles, the California Community Foundation (CCF) and the Weingart Foundation came together in 2017 to establish the L.A. Justice Fund (LAJF) in an effort to protect, defend and expand access to justice for Los Angeles’ immigrant families.

This week, the LAJF partners gathered to reflect on the impact the program has made so far, and look forward to how we can expand on this work in the future. CCF’s President and CEO Antonia Hernández kicked off the day of critical conversations followed by L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis and Weingart Foundation’s President and CEO Fred Ali discussing the history of the LAJF partnership and our goals for the future.

We also had the opportunity to hear from our community partners who are working on the front lines to uphold justice. They shared how the LAJF has evolved by building a network of immigration legal service providers to better reach the growing number of those in need of removal defense, as well as upcoming opportunities to support local deportation defense efforts. Below are a few highlights from the discussions:

Nina Siulc, Research Director, Vera Institute of Justice

“We need to embrace the immigrant community. We need to protect them. We need to show that here in L.A. County, we care about everyone.” – Antonia Hernández, President and CEO, California Community Foundation

“The L.A. Justice Fund is a part of a national movement to protect immigrant families.” – Nina Siulc, Research Director, Vera Institute of Justice

Judy London, Directing Attorney of Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project

“When you have closed systems, without a right to counsel, the kind of abuses you see affect us all.” – Judy London,  Directing Attorney of the Immigrants’ Rights Project, Public Counsel

Julia Vazquez, Director & Lecturer, Southwestern Law School – Immigration Law Clinic

“You come out of immigration court with an understanding of the vacuum of trained immigration attorneys…[through the L.A. Justice Fund] we’re creating a new approach toward pro-bono training.” – Julia Vazquez, Director & Lecturer, Southwestern Law School – Immigration Law Clinic

Check out more photos from the event here.

To learn more about how you can get involved in the L.A. Justice Fund’s work to preserve our diverse communities visit calfund.org/LAjusticefund.

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