About Us

 

Mission

To promote justice and build a community that is more secure, productive, healthy, and hopeful by providing:

  • Legal services and policy advocacy that are responsive to the needs of low-income communities, and
  • Law training that prepares future attorneys to be skilled and principled advocates who are committed to addressing the causes and conditions of racial and economic injustice and poverty.

Vision

East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) envisions a California where Black and Indigenous communities, and those at the intersection of multiple oppressions, are positioned to realize thriving, healthy, and dignified lives with our three-pronged approach of: 

  • Our eight expert lead direct legal service practice areas with legal teams trained to resolve intersecting legal challenges caused by poverty and racial injustice;
  • Our robust clinical education program in partnership with the University of California Berkeley School of Law boasts of training over 150 law students as racial justice advocates annually; and
  • Our holistic statewide policy advocacy with legislation written and championed by EBCLC advocates, securing Californians millions of dollars in discharged court debt, rock-solid consumer protections, and transformative civil rights for children, workers, and whole communities. 

Rather than treating legal crises in isolation, EBCLC’s holistic approach aims to address the entire suite of legal and social service needs of under-resourced Black and Latinx clients, bringing together legal experts across housing, health, immigration, education, community economic empowerment, organizing, and social work case management. 


Meet Zoë Polk

Executive Director

“Black and Brown people are often referred to as ‘system impacted’ when in fact they are ‘system intended.’ Most of EBCLC’s clients are women of color, heads of households, aged 25-44 years old, and women with ambitions to launch their own businesses, organize movements, build homes and lead full thriving lives. It is our honor to work on their team and, in doing so, work towards our collective liberation.” – Zoë Polk

As EBCLC’s newest Executive Director, Zoë’s biggest goal for her first year was to ensure that her team would be able to serve the Bay Area’s most vulnerable populations. She is a proud Black, queer leader that knows the work her team is doing is critical to keeping clients, especially those who identify as Black and Brown essential workers, housed and healthy throughout this ongoing pandemic.

As EBCLC’s fourth-ever Executive Director, Zoë is dedicated to deepening EBCLC’s commitment to racial and economic justice. In under a year, she’s changed the composition of her executive management team to better reflect the racial diversity of EBCLC’s staff and the communities. In her first six months, Zoë installed an all-women of color Leadership Team and appointed 10 people of color to the Board of Directors. Zoë’s deep commitment to racial justice will lead to transformative changes for our communities, and our team is on the frontlines of radical racial justice work.


Our Key 2020 Victories:

EBCLC ensures that we’re proactively supporting the long-term health of Black and Brown people targeted by systematic barriers, and these prolific victories represent widespread economic relief and progress – in many cases, for all 40 million Californians.

 

AB 1869 (Families Over Fees Act) eliminates 23 criminal justice system fees and discharges 16B+ in outstanding debt for formerly incarcerated Californians. AB 2463 protects low-income homeowners by ending the forced sale of family homes over small, unsecured debts such as unpaid credit card or medical bills. AB 3088 keeps Californians housed throughout the pandemic, becoming the nation’s longest and strongest COVID-19-related eviction ban preventing a tidal wave of evictions and protecting public health.

 

The Oakland and Berkeley Parking Ticket Moratorium prevents residents from being saddled with debilitating parking ticket debt during the most economically devastating months of the pandemic. Sanchez v Caltrans wins $5.5M for people living in homeless encampments and protects them from future city sweeps during a time when the virus transmission rates are spiking. The Franchise Tax Board Debt Collection Pause prevents people who owe state- and county-level public debt from losing their wages and tax return income by pausing government debt collection during the pandemic.

 


East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (Tax ID: 94-3042565). Access our audited financial statement here.

 

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