TCRP Receives Grant from Texas Bar Foundation to Support Services for Victims of Domestic Violence
The Texas Bar Foundation recently approved a grant to the Texas Civil Rights Project’s VAWA Program in the amount of $5,250.00 for a period of one year. Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $9 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar foundation.
In 2000, TCRP launched an innovative VAWA circuit rider program that provides legal assistance to abused immigrant women and especially targets those in underserved rural areas. The program started with a single Circuit Rider in our South Texas office and grew to a state-wide program that currently has a staff of twelve and many volunteers. Our Circuit Riders travel to rural, underserved communities in Texas to raise awareness about domestic violence and the legal protections and resources available to immigrants in abusive relationships, as well as to assist victims in asserting their rights.
The program, which has become highly respected for its innovation and diligent work, has several components. Its first component is collaborative relationships with domestic violence service providers, churches, community organizations, and law enforcement. Additional components include direct case work with clients, free counselling and support services, community education and training, raising public awareness, and the Promotora Outreach Program — a unique pilot outreach launched by TCRP’s regional office in Odessa. The pilot program uses promotoras — trained volunteer outreach workers — to do community education and help victims access needed services, including the Circuit Rider Program, and a supportive peer network.
The grant is restricted to the purchase of laptops. The newly purchased laptops will replace the few outdated laptops that were being utilized by the VAWA program, allowing it to work more efficiently and successfully. In addition, the laptops that are being replaced will be available to TCRP’s interns and volunteers who did not previously have access to laptops.
"TCRP is grateful for the continuing support of the Texas Bar Foundation," said TCRP Director James Harrington. "Through their generosity, we are better able to serve low-income victims across the state."
Paso Del Norte Civil Rights Project Participates in Access to Justice Legal Fair
The El Paso Bar Association hosted the first Access to Justice Legal Fair at the Valle Verde campus of El Paso Community College.
Scheduled in conjunction with the American Bar Association’s National Pro-Bono Celebration week, the Legal Fair was part of the El Paso Bar Association’s year-long initiative to connect legal aid organizations with attorneys who will donate time toward assisting the city’s poorest and most disenfranchised residents.
The fair was free and open to the public, with representatives from various legal organizations present to educate those in attendance about their services, conduct informational seminars, and provide free legal consultations.
Paso Del Norte Civil Rights Project (PDN) participated in the event in all three capacities. Staff members set up a table to distribute literature, sign up volunteers, and answer general questions about PDN’s work.
Economic Justice Program team members Chris Benoit and Shalini Thomas gave a presentation about labor rights issues, while VAWA staff members Elvia Garcia and Diana Melendez conducted a "Know Your Rights" presentation.
Afterwards PDN Director Briana Stone and Staff Attorney Benoit held individual consultations with prospective clients on civil and labor rights issues.
The Access to Justice Legal Fair drew in over 500 people, and was hailed as a great success for the community, in which there is only one attorney for the over 11,000 people that qualify for legal assistance. The El Paso Bar Association hopes to make this an annual event.