The Center for Access to Justice has announced five Alternative Spring Break opportunities for Georgia State Law students in 2020. The trips provide students the opportunity to explore various areas of the legal system including: access to justice issues in rural Georgia, immigration detention, reproductive law, and the impact of unstable housing on elementary school kids. An information session for the trips will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 14 and applications are due Jan. 24.
“The impact of Alternative Spring Break lasts far beyond the trip,” said Darcy Meals, assistant director of the Center for Access to Justice. “Whether in their first or third year, students can see that they are already empowered to make a difference in people’s lives by using their legal knowledge and skills. Recognizing that gives them confidence and renewed energy to power through law school, and it lays a foundation for service throughout their legal careers.”
Participants will earn pro bono service hours while helping real clients who face barriers to justice. Alex Estroff, student director of the Pro Bono Program, went on the immigration trip last year. While at Stewart Detention Center, he and a team of peers assisted immigrants who were seeking asylum.
“While working with detained immigrants, I realized the immense difference lawyers can make in the lives of those who have nowhere else to go,” said Estroff. “I am grateful to the College of Law and Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative for allowing me a glimpse into my capacity to provide legal assistance to those in need.”
Spring break is March 16-20. A description of each trip is below:
Movement Building: Reproductive Law (Atlanta)
In partnership with the Center for Law, Health & Society, this is the first in a series of trips intended to give law students insight into the history and context of a particular movement. Students participating in this trip will spend spring break hearing from organizations and policymakers involved in organizing for and against the Heartbeat Bill (HB 481) to situate this current litigation/legislative moment in the broader history and context of reproductive law in the U.S.
Immigration Detention (Lumpkin and Ocilla, Georgia)
The Immigration Detention trips are a collaboration with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI). Students will work with SIFI to provide pro bono legal representation to immigrants detained at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia and Irwin Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia.
Rural Justice (Dougherty County, Georgia)
Despite the number of people living in rural Georgia, virtually all of the lawyers and legal services are concentrated in the metropolitan Atlanta area. Participants in the Rural Justice trip will spend the week working with Georgia Legal Services Program lawyers who “ride circuit” to cover a 31-county area of southwest Georgia.
Housing Instability’s Impact on Kids (Atlanta)
Law students will spend the week with advocates from the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyer Foundation’s Standing with Our Neighbors program and the Truancy Intervention Project. Under the supervision of AVLF attorneys, students will document housing conditions, interview clients, observe housing court and assist with AVLF cases to help break the cycle of poverty and housing instability for elementary-aged kids.