The November 2005 Edition of Street Spirit

A publication of the American Friends Service Committee

 
 

National AFSC AFSC Economic Justice BOSS Website

 

 

In this issue:

AFSC Honors War Resisters

David Harris: A Stirring Call to Conscience

Leonard McNeil: Resisting 'Rich Man's Wars'

Karen Meredith: A Mother's Plea for Peace

Not One More Death, Not One More Dollar

Massive Police Sweeps in Contra Costa County

Housing First for Poor Families

Landlords Sue to End Just Cause

Struggle to Save the Free Box

YEAH! Shelters Homeless Youth

Gentrification in Berkeley

New Home for East Bay Law Center for Poor

Wal-Mart Pushes Philanthrophy

Sutter Health's War Against Health Workers

Growing Gulf Between Rich and Poor

Inequality in America

Poor Leonard's Almanack: On Forgiveness


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March 2005

February 2005

 

 

 


 

Street Spirit is published by American Friends Service Committee.

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The views expressed in Street Spirit are those of the individual authors alone, and not necessarily that of the American Friends Service Committee.

East Bay Law Center for the Poor Finds New Home in Berkeley

Law School Dean Edley, on behalf of Boalt Hall, committed $1 million to help build the new law center.

by Kevin McFarren

Jeff Selbin, executive director of the East Bay Community Law Center, announces their new "Building for Justice" campaign. Lydia Gans photo

The East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) is a vital resource for low-income and homeless people in need of legal help. Two years ago, they shut down the street in front of their Berkeley office on Shattuck Avenue to celebrate their 15th anniversary. Now they are doing something bigger.

Started in a simple storefront by a few law students at Boalt Hall at UC Berkeley who saw a need for legal aid for poor people 17 years ago, the law center grew as the need grew. Now, with over a dozen full-time attorneys, and up to 100 interns each year, storefront offices are no longer enough.

The East Bay Community Law Center has found a new home. At a kick-off on October 15 to their "Building for Justice Campaign" at La Pena, across the street from their current location on Shattuck, EBCLC had a strong presentation. Their new space will be at 2921 Adeline Street in Berkeley. The law center is taking a major step from renting to buying their own building.

So many persons who spoke at the event were wonderful, but the Dean of Boalt Hall, Christopher Edley, said it all simply, yet articulately: A first-class public law school needs a poverty law clinic. It was a clarion call for law schools to demonstrate a renewed sense of social responsibility and dedication to helping the poor.

He was quoted as saying the East Bay Community Law Center is "a jewel in Boalt's crown." Then he dropped the hammer. The law center needs $2.25 million to purchase the building and a $1 million fund for building maintenance. Dean Edley, on behalf of Boalt Hall, committed the $1 million. Jaws dropped.

It was a pleasure to see Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington present as an honorary member of the Building for Justice Campaign. Sen. Barbara Boxer and the Hon. Ronald V. Dellums were honorary co-hosts.

Services provided by the law center will not be interrupted by the move.

EBCLC has expanded its services in the last 17 years. Started as a simple legal clinic to help poor people get government assistance, when people scarcely knew what HIV/AIDS was, the law center has evolved. Now it provides health law, housing protection and employment support, and has even moved into policy issues such as Community Economic Development.
No wonder they need to move.

Attorney Ed Barnes, EBCLC unit director, said they had been eyeing the property for quite some time.

Their attorneys are world-class. Executive Director Jeff Selbin is one of five legal services lawyers named as a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine.

EBCLC also has expanded beyond its building, offering weekly tenants' rights clinics throughout the East Bay as well as the "Suitcase Clinic" for homeless people in Berkeley. They also hold workers' rights clinics.

They never charge for their legal services. But to expand, they need support from the community. Contact the East Bay Community Law Center at 3130 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94705.


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