I would like to start by honoring long-time board member and friend of CRLA, Clare Conk, who recently passed away. Clare served on our board for nearly 25 years. She embodied the heart of CRLA with her unwavering spirit of social justice service, in her case, as a representative of the Legal Defense Center and the Santa Barbara Community Housing Corporation. Clare had a heart of the teacher and activist and on the Board always acted as a clear voice for “the most exploited communities of our society” as the CRLA Mission demands. Our condolences and prayers go out to her family. She will be missed.
Walking away from domestic violence takes strength and courage. Economic hardships and burdensome administrative rules often create barriers on top of this plight.
Velma M., a mother of five, found that strength and courage when she left her home with her children and walked away from her abuser. Velma applied for government assistance but the agency administering the state program refused to grant Velma- and countless other survivors- critical temporary assistance. Without financial stability many domestic violence survivors are forced to make a choice between remaining in a violent relationship or being able to meet basic needs for their children and themselves.
CRLA is fighting this injustice and asking the court to halt the unlawful practice of denying CalWorks benefits to victims of Domestic abuse.
We represent California’s rural indigenous communities through our Indigenous Program. Part of that work includes ensuring adequate language access in the community. While cities and counties may have Spanish interpreters, indigenous people speak a variety of non-Spanish languages.
The courts, hospitals, schools, and other vital institutions lack qualified indigenous interpreters, which prevents those in the indigenous community from receiving adequate help. CRLA has been working, and succeeding, in the development of a qualified pool of indigenous interpreters.
This month we sponsored a large group of indigenous language interpreters to participate in one of the biggest interpreter conferences in the country. We sent interpreters with knowledge of the Triqui, Mixteco, Zapoteco, Mam, and Kiché languages to take part in the conference so that they the can increase their general skills. To address the justice gap, some sessions focused on working in the courtrooms and other service settings. The training that they received will allow them to have skills necessary to be better voices for the indigenous community.
We were able to make this happen with the help of your donations and additional funds by the California Endowment and the Judicial Council of California.