Who You Help

Anupama’s Story: Finding safety in a new country

“I came to the United States from India as part of an arranged marriage. My husband was physically and verbally abusive. He refused to let me work or to even leave the house without him. After a few years he completely abandoned me and I ended up at a women’s shelter. I was lost, alone, and vulnerable in a country I barely knew. The shelter told me to contact Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I don’t know how I could have afforded an attorney without NWIRP. They took my case, showed me kindness, and helped me get a green card. The day I got my green card was incredible. It gave me a confidence that made me feel like I could achieve anything. Now I am independent, and am excited to apply for US citizenship soon.”

Adam’s Story: Accessing a life-saving medication

As a tattoo artist, Adam knew the risks of working with needles and took plenty of precautions. Despite his careful efforts, he contracted Hepatitis C from an accidental needle prick. When he applied through Medicaid to receive medication to combat the disease, his claim was denied. The state said it was too expensive. Thanks to a successful class action suit filed by Columbia Legal Services, Medicaid reversed its original ruling, and Adam – along with 28,000 other Hepatitis C patients in Washington – received the life-saving medication before it was too late. “I cannot thank you enough for paying it forward. I hope you realize how profoundly you can affect society and people’s lives.”

(*Names changed to protect identity.)

The Statewide Need

Many people like Anapuma and Adam need legal help they can’t afford. The 2015 Washington State Civil Legal Needs Study Update estimates every year 71% of low-income households in Washington face at least one civil legal crisis, affecting a total of 1,000,000 families. These people are at risk of losing their homes, jobs, and families due to their legal problems. Unlike criminal cases, the state doesn’t provide people with representation in a civil case if they can’t afford an attorney. When a person’s basic needs are at stake, legal aid can make a life-saving difference.

Civil Legal Aid Provides Justice

For Anapuma and Adam, legal aid turned the tide. A local civil legal aid program connected Anapuma to the legal resources necessary to find safety and self-sufficiency. A volunteer attorney helped Anapuma navigate the complex legal process of getting a green card. Legal aid saved Adam’s life, and the lives of many other people in Washington, by ensuring life-saving medication was provided to all who needed it, regardless of income.

All across the state this year, people like Anapuma and Adam will need help with legal issues they can’t resolve on their own. An abused mother will need safety for herself and her children. A family threatened with wrongful eviction will face homelessness. A veteran will lose access to his benefits. By donating to the Campaign for Equal Justice, you can make legal aid available to people when it matters most.