Every year, LFW’s small grant program funds projects taking fresh, inventive approaches to legal aid. With grants of up to $5,000, this opportunity allows nonprofits to pilot new ideas and cultivate burgeoning collaborations. One of this year’s awardees was Refugee Connections Spokane, a nonprofit supporting refugee resettlement success in Eastern Washington.
Through their work empowering refugees, Refugee Connections Spokane realized that many of their clients lacked a basic understanding of the American legal system, sometimes even causing them to unintentionally break laws. Using an LFW small grant of $5,000, Refugee Connections Spokane held an American Law and Justice workshop specifically tailored to the needs of those new to the United States. Over 160 refugees and immigrants participated in the event which included a talk by Washington Supreme Court Justice Yu on constitutional rights, a meet and greet with Spokane Police Sergeant Dan Waters and 12 language-specific break-out sessions staffed by volunteer attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. The workshop was a tremendous success and received rave reviews from attendees many of whom expressed a new comfort with police and the justice system.