On Saturday, November 22, CALA held its first Community Legal Education workshop at the Teachers for Social Justice Curriculum Fair “Democratize Education! Democratize Chicago!” Staff attorney Sharlyn Grace partnered with Monica Trinidad from the anti-police brutality organization We Charge Genocide to host a know your rights and cop watch training for educators and school staff. The workshop provided teachers and education students with information about both students’ rights in schools and their own rights when witnessing student-police interactions. The workshop also provided space to discuss tools and strategies to avoid criminalizing students as an adult in a position of authority. Participants also broke into small groups to discuss future ideas for action, including: brainstorming preventative measures and alternatives to involving police when problem behavior occurs; developing a teachers’ action plan to challenge policing in schools; and the role of parents and community in challenging the punitive culture of schools.

More Community Legal Education workshops are on the immediate horizon! Working with our partner organization, Enlace Chicago, CALA will be hosting informational sessions about President Obama’s administrative relief plan at various venues in Little Village in December and January. Though applications will likely not be accepted until May 2015, helping community members understand whether they qualify and what steps they can take in anticipation of applying will be an important part of preparing for the actual application process. In addition, providing free, reliable information as quickly as possible following the President’s announcement decreases the likelihood that individuals will turn to costly (and sometimes fraudulent) for-profit immigration services providers.

Additional community legal education events being planned include several immigration know-your-rights trainings in suburban communities, a training on bail and bonds, and a training for public defenders on he needs of transgender youth in the juvenile justice system.

For more information about CALA's Community Legal Education programs (or to request a program for your organization), please check out the Community Legal Education section of our website.

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