"I was born and raised on a farm in Iowa and from the age of five, my grandmother, for whatever reason, wanted me to be a lawyer. So I went to law school.
My job today is to help people in sometimes extraordinarily dire circumstances have access to justice that is otherwise going to be denied them, primarily because of their income level, or because of their ethnicity, or because of their age.
The wildfires have significantly impacted Southern Oregon. I don't think anyone who lives here is unaffected, even if we were lucky enough to avoid having our house burned down. This has created a level of generalized trauma throughout the population.
The work that the Campaign for Equal Justice does throughout the state of Oregon means I get to focus on doing my job to help those people. I don't have to worry about how the rent is paid, or how my salary is paid. The copy machine is there and I don’t have to think about it. That's a real luxury.
I believe that whatever skill, whatever energy, whatever resource we have in this world, that it really comes into bloom by being shared. Some do it by showing up and baking cookies. Some do it by helping to pay the rent for the place where the cookies get baked. That's how we become citizens. So if you can help with paying for the place to make the cookies, I encourage you to do that.
My job in this lifetime is to try to be as helpful as I can be to my fellow humans who otherwise may not have access to legal assistance. Just being able to hear someone's story is so important. Even if we can't give them the answer, people need to be heard and learn what their options are. I think it helps give dignity to all of us.
That’s the reason I do it."
"I am a child of lawyers. My mom would bring her work home every night and read through cases with us and pretty immediately I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer too. I saw the inequality and what was happening in the justice system and it really bothered me. I knew that I wanted to do something that would be beneficial; that would bring more kindness to the world.
So I became a legal aid attorney.
After the pandemic and then the wildfires hit, the world began changing pretty dramatically. The legal aid offices here became a safe place for many of our clients because they know us through our work. Our immigrant clients reached out almost immediately because these folks had lost their jobs, were struggling, and didn’t know where to turn. They didn’t know what services they’d be eligible for, or if any of the services would affect their immigration status. Oftentimes our clients do not feel safe reaching out to social services agencies. It can be scary, but we have built trust.
Pretty immediately our work pivoted. We still were doing our legal work, but we also began helping our clients and their family members fill out applications and doing all we could to keep food on their tables and warm shelter over their heads.
One of the many reasons that I love my job is that I wake up every day feeling like I make a difference because of the work we do.
That’s the reason I do it.
Donating to CEJ means that more people across the state will have access to justice. It means I can serve more people who need a helping hand."