Soto received a whopping eight nomination letters for the Swift Award, including one signed by 38 students and recent graduates. The supervising attorney of EBCLC’s Consumer Justice Clinic, he is widely hailed as a dedicated mentor who deftly trains students in litigation and legislative advocacy. Soto recently created a new teaching model and small claims case training manual for the student-led Consumer Rights Workshop to make them more accessible for 1Ls.
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EBCLC Staff Attorney, Oscar Lopez joins Drug Policy Alliance’s First of All: Advocating for Change Webinar.
Oscar Lopez, Staff Attorney/Clinical Supervisor in EBCLC’s Education Advocacy Clinic sits down with Sasha Simon, Safety First Senior Program Manager at the Drug Policy Alliance, and Claudia-Santi F. Fernandes, Associate Director of the play2PREVENT Lab at the Yale Center for Health & Learning Games, to discuss how we can be advocates for change within our schools systems during COVID 19.
Jason is a 12-year-old Black student who has a learning disability in addition to generalized anxiety disorder and depression. For years, his mother, Jennifer, who is herself an educator, pleaded with Jason’s school district to provide him with therapeutic counseling, but the district repeatedly denied her request.
This year, in the continued absence of any meaningful support, Jason’s social-emotional needs escalated; as a result, he was involved in multiple physical conflicts with peers. However, rather than finally acknowledging that Jason needed more support and amending his Individualized Education Program (IEP), Jason’s school instead recommended him for expulsion. His mom called the East Bay Community Law Center, which immediately requested a copy of Jason’s school records. But then schools shut down due to COVID-19.
A study of forced home sales by the East Bay Community Law Center revealed a stark pattern of small, zombie debts brought to life by debt purchasers and inflated by years of interest and fees; lack of adequate notice; mistaken identity; and disproportionate harm to low-income communities of color. It also chronicled the courage of Californians like Ingrid, who fought her mother Laura’s case after she suffered a stroke, and Julio, an immigrant driver who battled for three years to defeat a mistaken claim based on medical debt.
For more than 30 years, the East Bay Community Law Center has been a lifeline for Alameda County residents who need critical legal services. As the COVID-19 crisis grips the region, the center’s staffers are finding new angles for advocacy—and seizing the chance to shape the post-coronavirus landscape.
Listen in here 1:08 to learn more about the new Alameda County eviction protections.
“’It is incredible and unprecedented, and a profound act of both racial justice and pure kindness that the Franchise Tax Board did what it did,’ agrees Asher Waite-Jones ’16, supervising attorney in the East Bay Community Law Center’s Clean Slate Clinic, which works to keep people out of the criminal system and help people with criminal records reenter society.”
“Next are private debt collectors who have won a debt collection lawsuit in court. With a court judgment, they can ask the county sheriff’s department to file a lien on a person’s house, garnish their wages or order a bank to freeze all non-exempt funds in a person’s bank account on a certain day.
Knowing that the stimulus checks have started to arrive, debt collectors may opt to levy bank accounts over the coming weeks, said Sharon Djemal, director of the Consumer Justice Practice at the East Bay Community Law Center.
Each year, approximately 110,000 bank levies are served in California, according to the centers estimate based on 2014-2016 county data.”
EBCLC and partner organizations are requesting a moratorium on school expulsions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid Contention, Emeryville City Council Continues Efforts To Deter Evictions During Covid-19 Pandemic
The East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) advocated for extending the moratorium to cover all evictions via a letter. “Landlords will preserve their right to sue on these issues after the state of emergency passes and the moratorium is lifted,” the letter stated.
Their letter recommended that renters be excused if back rent is accrued during the state of emergency. “Any and all rent accrued during this moratorium should only be recoverable via small claims or regular civil action (Not unlawful detainer) after the landlord has attempted a reasonable repayment plan and provided tenant written notice of this ordinance,” the letter further stated.