“When I moved my family across the globe, I thought that was the end of my problems. Then came the mold.
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“I’ve always advocated for the well being of families in my classroom, so my next challenge seemed obvious: fighting for them in court.”
“The only thing that stood in my way was 50 hours of pro bono work. A friend suggested that I volunteer at Open Door Legal– I decided to give it a shot.”
“My mother’s family was upper middle class until the government seized their land and property. They were left with practically nothing; my mother had to start from scratch.”
“That’s when a debt collector showed up at my work saying I owed over $23,000– I had no idea what he was talking about. Still, my wages were being garnished; I wasn’t sure if I could make rent.”
“For example, one Friday, around a quarter till five, everyone was about to head out for the weekend. In walks a client in tears; her husband had abused her. She tried to get help from multiple other legal aid organizations but they all turned her away. We were her only option left.”
“After we won, the client pulled us aside. ‘Never forget,’ she told us, ‘that you saved a little girl’s life.'”
“Open Door Legal has taught me the power of passion. Passionate people can catalyze change and transform communities. I see that fire within everyone who works here. It is not enough to recognize injustice– to make a difference, you must be dedicated to fighting it.”
“Suddenly, my rent increased by $2,000. That was more than my income. I felt filled to the brim with stress. This is where my family celebrated Christmas – getting evicted meant losing my family’s home base.”
“My client never thought that she could get help for living in mold and mildew; that was everyday life for her. And we didn’t stop there. ‘Do you have any custody issues? Do you need to speak with a social worker? We can help you with that too.’”
“I believe that everyone with a legal need deserves a lawyer no matter who they are or what situation they’re in. If you don’t have a way to enforce your rights, you don’t really have them. I hope that the work I’ve done for Open Door Legal brings San Francisco one step closer to creating true equal protection under the law.”