Grantee Spotlight: East Bay Community Law Center

Monday, May 14, 2018

Akonadi Foundation Blog

Akonadi Foundation’s mission is to eliminate structural racism that leads to inequity in the United States. Using an ecosystem grantmaking lens, Akonadi supports and nurtures grassroots organizing, culture shift, and policy changes that build Oakland’s racial justice movement. We are lifting up the work of our grant partners through a monthly spotlight series; for our April installment, we feature East Bay Community Law Center and Somos Familia.

Oscar Lopez, attorney at East Bay Community Law Center’s Education Advocacy Clinic joined us to talk about the mission of EBCLC:

The mission of the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) is to promote justice and build a community that is more healthy, secure, productive and hopeful by providing: 1) legal services and policy advocacy that are responsive to the needs of low-income communities, and 2) law training that prepares future attorneys to be skilled and principled advocates who are committed to finding innovative solutions to the cause and conditions of poverty. The Education Advocacy Clinic is a program at EBCLC that aims to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline by addressing the multitude of interrelated issues that impact many young people’s ability to thrive. The clinic also provides holistic representation to young people with disabilities in dealing with school discipline and special education matters.

Personally, why are you a part of this organization? What draws you to the work on a personal level?

Too many kids of color get the message that their school doesn’t want them and that they aren’t a part of their school community. One issue that’s hugely motivating to me is the over-presence of law enforcement in East Bay schools, which leads to more arrests of kids at school and stacks the deck against families who are trying to advocate for themselves in discipline matters. When you talk to kids, they tend to say that having police officers at their school doesn’t make them feel any safer at all. I want kids to have everything they need to thrive in schools, and I want schools to be accountable to the demands of the community.

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