PSJD Public Interest News Digest – January 31, 2014

by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships

Happy Friday everyone!  Can you believe it’s the end of January?  It’s spring public sector career fair time.  For a listing of ones in your area, check out PSJD.

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: If you know someone we should honor, drop me a line.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • West Toronto Community Legal Services to remain open;
  • Justice Department Canada provides federal funding to assist women at risk of violence;
  • Summer Public Interest Job Search Series webinars now available online;
  • MA Governor Patrick proposes $1M more in legal aid funding;
  • New Immigration Justice Corps seeking first members;
  • PSJD launches a new Postgraduate Fellowships Application Deadline Calendar;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Modern day abolitionists;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

January 27, 2014 – “West Toronto Community Legal Services is off the chopping block after a year of working side-by-side with Legal Aid Ontario, who has reversed its 2012 decision to not fund the clinic.”  “I think it’s fantastic for the community,” said Elisabeth Bruckmann, acting executive director of the centre. “I think it means that the community will continue to have direct access to legal support, which is informed by an understanding of the pressures facing the community and provided by professionals who know the community and care about the challenges facing low-income people in the west-end.”  (

January 27, 2014 – “Minister of Justice Peter Mackay and Minister of Labour and Status of Women Dr. K. Kellie Leitch today announced the Government`s support for the Girls Action Foundation’s project Building Bridges for Female Youth: National partnership project to address intimate partner violence and increase access to justice among marginalized young women.  The project, funded under the Justice Partnership and Innovation Program, is a pan-Canadian initiative designed to improve access to justice for marginalized young women and girls who are victims of partner violence or at risk of becoming victims. The project will offer these women and girls educational workshops on the justice system and their legal rights, along with other tools to assist them when experiencing dating violence.”  (Digital Journal)

January 28, 2014 – Did you miss the free two-part webinar series, co-sponsored by NALP and Equal Justice Works, that provides both law students and CSO professionals with insight on the key elements of the summer public interest job application process?  Not to worry – you can view them now on the NALP website.

January 28, 2014 – “Lonnie Powers, executive director of Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, applauds Gov. Patrick’s proposal to increase legal aid funding by $1 million.  As part of his fiscal 2015 budget plan, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has recommended a $1 million increase for civil legal assistance, an increase that could potentially benefit the state’s low income residents who need legal representation.  The additional funding, part of Patrick’s proposed $36.37 billion spending plan for fiscal 2015, would bring the state’s allocation for civil legal aid to $14 million. The funding would go to the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corp., which makes grants to 16 civil legal aid programs statewide.”  (Cambridge Community Television)

January 28, 2014 – On Tuesday the board of the Robin Hood Foundation, a poverty-fighting philanthropy, approved more than $1.3 million in funding for the new Immigration Justice Corps.  “The group’s plan is to recruit 25 graduating law students or recent graduates, immerse them in immigration law and then farm them out to community-based organizations. The young lawyers would commit to at least two years of service and as many as three.”  “The corps intends to hire a cadre of 25 lawyers every year, each earning a salary of $47,000 plus benefits. They will be assisted by recent college graduates with multilingual skills who will handle less complex cases, such as naturalization applications. The team will be supervised by a group of staff lawyers and advised by veteran lawyers.”  The initiative will start in New York City before being expanded nationally.  The Corps is another initiative stemming from Judge Robert A. Katzmann, the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, who has tirelessly championed increased access to justice.  (The New York Times)

January 29, 2014 – PSJD launches an exciting new feature – the Postgraduate Fellowship Application Deadline Calendar.  Search for postgraduate fellowships by post date, deadline date, or fellowship type, and view them in a convenient calendar or grid.  Add a fellowship of interest to your favorites.  See the Blog post from earlier this week for How-To’s on using this new resource.

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: On this day in 1865, the U.S. House of Representatives passes the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in America. The amendment read, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude…shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”  (  With that slavery was on it’s way out.  Except that it wasn’t.  “‘Are you Shandra? Yes, I am.’ With those few words, a young Indonesian with big dreams of a better life found herself catapulted into the murky underground world of sex slavery and violence.”  “After losing her job as a financial analyst in a bank in the chaos unleashed by Asia’s economic crisis, Shandra replied to a newspaper ad for temporary work in a hotel in Chicago.  In 2001, having passed a test, and armed with a visa from the US embassy, she left her young daughter, promising to return home soon.  But on her very first night on US soil, she was put to work in a New York brothel, before being passed from pimp to pimp — a Malaysian known as Johnnie Wong, a Taiwanese guy, a man who only spoke Cantonese, and even an American.”  This story is far from unique.  “The Alliance To End Slavery and Trafficking estimates about 14,000 to 17,000 men, women and children are smuggled illegally into the US every year to work in the sex trade or in factories, farms and bars as forced labour.”  Thousands more are young American runaways.  Thank you to those who work every day to save these men, women and children!  (Timeslive)  Here’s how you can help.  
Super Music Bonus!  As a parent, I am pleased (forced) to listen to a lot of kids songs.  Here’s a complilation that I could listen to repeatedly.

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