CALA's 3rd Anniversary Gala

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Please join us as we celebrate our impact on our partners, our neighbors, and our clients at this third year anniversary event. Enjoy a spoken word presentation (by Young Chicago Authors), testimonials from community members, and cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.

Just by attending, you'll support the work of CALA. All proceeds - tickets, donations, silent auction items - will go directly to CALA and support those most in need of legal aid. 

To purchase tickets for the event, please click here



Thursday, October 12th 2017

6:30 PM - 8:00 PM



Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

155 N Wacker Dr

28th Floor

Chicago, IL 60606


Success Story - Pursuing Freedom


Success Story - Pursuing Freedom

Maricela’s green card was all but secured. She came to the United States using a tourist visa more than 30 years ago. Through her relatives in the U.S., she had filed an application to become a legal permanent resident. Unfortunately, Maricela’s application got lost in the system, and she never got her green card.


Success Story- Lawyering Beyond Boundaries


Success Story- Lawyering Beyond Boundaries

Sam was stunned when she received notification that her ex-boyfriend had filed an order of protection against her. They had broken up about 6 months earlier after he was physically aggressive and pressured her into non-consensual sexual acts.


Letter to Chief Justice Karmeier


Letter to Chief Justice Karmeier

CALA and other immigrant and civil rights organizations across Illinois have submitted a request to the Honorable Lloyd Karmeier, Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, to protect families from immigration activities at Illinois courthouses.


CALA's Helpline


CALA's Helpline

To address the increasing concerns of immigrant communities and Their allies, CALA has created special initiatives to help. 


Chicago Law Activists Fight Trump Orders with New Immigration Resources


Chicago Law Activists Fight Trump Orders with New Immigration Resources

The Community Activism Law Alliance (CALA) has created two special initiatives: the CALA Immigration Helpline and Know Your Rights Community Workshops. Both campaigns provide completely free support to immigrant communities—particularly those who are not eligible for federally-funded programs—and organizations serving immigrants that do not have access to an attorney.


CALA's impact in Lake County

CALA’s newest clinic is a partnership with the well-regarded immigrant-services organization, Mano a Mano in Lake County. Per a legal audit completed by Mano, there are only 2-3 immigration attorneys in all of Lake County. Of those,  all are private attorneys charging market rates. Due to generous funding, our Lake County legal clinic is able to offer free and/or reduced fee services to families throughout the county. Without our services, many families in Lake County simply would never be able to attempt to adjust status.
A recent case is an example of how our assistance can make all the difference in the communities we serve. Mr. Moreno Santillan’s daughter was murdered by a former partner in August. Since then, he has been in court trying to adopt his granddaughters and assisting the police in the investigation of his daughter’s murder. While Prairie State Legal Service’s have provided legal assistance for the adoption, Mr. Moreno Santillan had not been able to find anyone to help with his immigration case because he could not afford legal fees. Because of  CALA, he is now receiving free immigration assistance and is on the path to resolving his immigration issues. Mr. Moreno Santillan is relieved that he can finally breathe a little easier and doesn’t have to live in constant fear.

CALA in Solidarity with #Fightfor15 Movement

CALA staff members were proud to stand in solidarity with #FightFor15 protests on November 29th throughout the city of Chicago.

CALA stood with fast-food workers at McDonalds, uber drivers, hospital workers, and airport workers at O'Hare International Airport.

We demanded $15 an hour with union rights for all workers, saying no to all deportations, and demanding an end to police brutality against black individuals.

Get your CALA T-shirt today!

Check Out CALA's Lawyering Beyond Boundaries T-Shirt only $20 Dollars + Shipping. Perfect for this holiday season!

CALA T-Shirt - Lawyering Beyond Boundaries....

Our CALA T-shirt is a great way to support our work and share with others the community activism lawyering model 

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Welcome Charles Clarke to the CALA Team

CALA is excited to announce that Charles Clarke is joining our CALA team as a law clerk. Charles will join CALA as a staff attorney in the summer of 2017, after he completes a JD/PhD in law and political theory at Northwestern University. His dissertation examines the relationship between the legal concept of deportation and the political concept of democracy and his master's thesis analyzed the spate of anti-immigrant laws passed by states in 2010-11. He speaks Spanish and is proficient in French. 

Charles wants two things out of life: to live in a truly democratic society and to be able to look himself in the mirror everyday knowing he's done all he can to bring this about. He's incredibly grateful to CALA for providing him the opportunity to work towards both. 

CALA's Commitment to Our Communities, Partners and Clients

CALA’s Commitment to Our Communities, Partners, and Clients

Last Tuesday 11/8/16 was a hard day for us—for everyone who believes in justice and equality for all people. We at CALA have spent the past week processing the wounds the election has inflicted on us, our families, and the communities we serve. But we’ve also been preparing ourselves to fight: to fight as hard as we can, in every way possible, against every threat that the government poses, and will pose. 

CALA was founded to unite lawyers and activists together, and such collaborations will be desperately needed during the upcoming Trump administration. We promise that CALA’s commitment to working in genuine partnership with communities and activists will not only endure but grow stronger. We are more determined than ever to bringing community-located, community-collaborative, and community-directed free legal services to those threatened by insidious ideology, including undocumented immigrants, laborers, sex workers, and progressive activists.

In light of campaign and post-election statements by Donald Trump regarding the deportation of up to 3 million immigrants, we have developed the following recommendations and strategies to support not only our current partner communities but all immigrants without access to an attorney.

1.      Priority and Increased Resources. CALA will prioritize and increase its resources for free legal services to low-income undocumented immigrants.

a.       All of CALA’s staff will take on additional work to support initiatives focused on responding to, and protecting those targeted by, Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

b.      CALA will develop and support additional pro bono work for immigrants from private attorneys and law firms.

2.      Vigilance. We will create an attorney position to specifically monitor and strategize responses to potential threats in collaboration with our partner communities and organizations across the country. 

3.      Attorney Consultations & CALA Helpline. CALA strongly recommends that all legal permanent residents (green card holders) and undocumented immigrants consult with an attorney as soon as possible. We have created a helpline, 872-267-CALA (2252), to provide legal consultations for any undocumented immigrant who is not able to consult with an attorney. We will respond no later than 48 hours to any calls involving recent detentions, 72 hours to calls related to removal proceedings, and 7 days to all other calls.

4.      Screening Workshops. We will work with our partners to hold large-scale screening events, at which we will provide free immigration screenings and legal consultations.

5.      Know Your Rights. All immigrants should ensure that they know their rights in dealing with immigration and police officials, and how to handle potential issues arising from these interactions. Therefore, CALA will offer free Know Your Rights immigration presentations and trainings to any community that would like to host one. 

6.      Citizenship Workshops. All green card holders should consult with an attorney about naturalization as soon as they are eligible. We will increase the frequency and quantity of our citizenship workshops. Please check our website, Facebook page, and e-newsletter for upcoming dates.

7.      DACA. CALA will continue to offer DACA services, but only for current DACA recipients seeking renewal who have not had any change in circumstances. We advise against submitting initial applications or renewal applications with material changes such as a change of address or new criminal arrest issues.

8.      Advance Parole. We do not recommend applying, and will no longer offer services, for advance parole, except for emergency situations.

9.      Immigration Relief Applicants. CALA does not recommend that, absent very extenuating circumstances such as urgent deadlines, undocumented immigrants who have recently arrived; have criminal records; or have been suspected of gang involvement, terrorism, or espionage submit any applications until we have greater clarity regarding the changes that the new administration will make to immigration laws, regulations, and policies. We will continue to offer services for other forms of immigration relief; however, we will not submit most applications on behalf of clients who may be targeted by any deportation agenda set by Donald Trump from now until February 2017. For clients with pending applications, we will closely monitor their situations and contact any client about whom we have concerns. 

10.  Coalition Building. While undocumented immigrants are the immediate targets, Trump has made clear that his administration will seek to hurt many minority groups. We must ensure that all groups opposed to his divisive, hate-filled ideology work together in the upcoming struggle. CALA hopes its work with diverse communities and activists can contribute to cross-movement coalitions.

Please let us know if there are any other concerns that you would like for us to address, or if there are any other ways that CALA can help. Please also consult our website or Facebook page for future updates as we learn more about how things are developing. Finally, and most importantly, know that we will stand with you, and we will fight alongside you.

Solidarity in Resistance,

CALA (Community Activism Law Alliance)

Two Years of Community Impact Celebration Photos

Thanks to everyone that came to our 2nd Anniversary event on 10/14/16

Two Years of Community Impact - CALA's 2nd Year Anniversary Event

CALA's 2nd year Anniversary Celebration Event!

Please join us as we celebrate two years of community impact through our work with our community partners to create 5 “community activism-law clinics” directly in the communities we serve; helped over 3,500 clients—most of whom are undocumented immigrants, day laborers, and sex workers unable to obtain free legal aid from other legal aid organizations; empowered and protected the rights of activists; and supported activism campaigns that have impacted thousands of people.

Eventbrite - Two Years of Community Impact -CALA's 2nd Anniversary

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Welcome Sam Goldberg!

CALA's newest board member: Sam Goldberg

CALA is extremely pleased to welcome our newest member of our Board of Directors:  Samuel Goldberg. Sam is a public defender in the Juvenile Division of the Office of the Will County Public Defender. He recently moved to the Chicagoland area. Prior to moving, Sam worked at the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender in the Mercer County Trial Region from 2012 to 2015. In that capacity, he represented hundreds of individuals accused of felony-level offenses. Prior to his work at the Office of the Public Defender in New Jersey, Sam was the Gault Fellow at the National Juvenile Defender Center, where he co-authored a best practices manual for juvenile defense attorneys nationwide. Sam earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Columbia University in 2005 and his Juris Doctorate from NYU School of Law in 2010. Sam is fluent in Spanish.

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