Eleven Gonzaga Law Community Members Volunteered Time and Expertise

On October 9th, about 180 recent refugees and immigrants living in the Spokane area attended a workshop intended to help build understanding of civic responsibility and the American legal system.  The American Law and Justice Workshop for Refugees and Immigrants was initiated by Refugee Connections Spokane and sponsored through Community Colleges of Spokane.  Gonzaga Law professor Megan Ballard worked behind the scenes to organize the half-day event as a volunteer for Refugee Connections Spokane.  Professor Mary Pat Treuthart, along with six Gonzaga Law students and three alumni joined the team of volunteers presenting the workshop.

An Introduction to American Legal Structures

“So many refugees have fled from their homes, in part, because of corrupt or violent legal structures,” said Ballard.  “To be able to introduce refugees to our legal system and some of its actors in a way that helped reduce their fears was quite powerful.”  For example, Ballard cited reactions to a short talk by Spokane Police Officer Theresa Fuller.  “One refugee reported that it was the first time he had ever been comfortable in the presence of a police officer.”  An ESL instructor from Community Colleges of Spokane who accompanied her students confirmed that the Workshop “changed people’s lives today.”  This workshop was the first of its type offered for refugees in the Spokane area.  Refugee Connections Spokane’s objective is to empower refugees to be fully engaged and contributing members of the community, and this workshop addressed the unique legal challenges of immigrants and refugees who are learning how to live in their new country. . . .

 

Read the full article at http://www.law.gonzaga.edu/blog/2013/news/faculty/refugee-connections-workshop/

 

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