Tidbits and Thoughts . . .Legal Aid's Bi-Weekly News
June 25, 2014
  
June has been an action-filled month with many events, changes, 
and happening in our offices statewide.
 
Yet, it may never top the action one public defender and judge in Florida had regarding courtroom decorum. Here's to the most random 
news of the day brought to you by the ABA:
Florida Judge Fights Lawyer Outside Courtroom | Judge Fighting Attorney | Lawyer Punched By Judge
Only in Florida . . .
 
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Now, on to Tidbits . . . 

LSC President Jim Sandman visits Honolulu 

 

LSC President Jim Sandman (he prefers "Jim" so as not to be confused with "Mr. Sandman") visited the Honolulu office on June 19 to speak with staff and learn more about the organization. He shared some valuable information with staff regarding the state of civil legal services nationwide and trends in other legal aid organizations. He listened as staff members shared stories about how their work impacted their clients' lives. Afterwards, a small reception was held at the Honolulu office and was well attended by board members, attorneys, and members of the judiciary. Thank you to Honolulu Executive Assistant, Charin Tomomitsu and Office Manager, Wade Honma for organizing the event!

 

Jim was also the keynote speaker at the 2014 Access to Justice Conference held on June 20 at the law school. Sponsored by the Access to Justice Commission, the conference brought judges, attorneys, and legal service providers together in discussing issues affecting access to justice. Executive Director Nalani Fujimori Kaina, Leeward Managing Attorney Russ Awakuni, and Director of Grants Management Elise Von Dohlen also took part in the panel discussions for the various workshops at the conference.

 

In his address, Jim inspired many to re-think how they view the basic principles and tenets of our democracy in ensuring "justice for all" as espoused in our pledge of allegiance. He attended various workshops at the conference and left believing that Hawaii is truly special in the collaborative nature of providing justice for its people. 

 

In parting, Jim sought to encourage staff to continue their great work and to share with others the importance of providing civil legal aid. If you have any questions, he answers his own email: jsandman@lsc.gov and phone: 202-295-1515.  

 

Click to read more 

  

HIJC holds successful "Immigration 101 Training"

 

 A Micronesian new to the U.S. called Hawaii Immigrant Justice Center at Legal Aid (" HIJC at Legal Aid"), desperately asking for help to become a U.S. citizen as soon as possible.  He had been advised by a well-meaning staff from a social service agency that as a citizen he qualifies for Supplement Security Income.    He was very disappointed to find out that he could not immediately apply for citizenship; he had to qualify for a legal resident card first, and after  few years in that status, apply for citizenship. 

 

 

 

It was because of misinformation given to immigrants and migrants such as this, that on June 5, 2014, HIJC at Legal Aid sponsored its first "Immigration 101 Training."  The day long training on immigration and immigrant issues for service providers was  held at the William S. Richardson School of Law, with assistance from Professor Calvin Pang, a former President of the Legal Aid Board of Directors.  About 70 people attended and participated in presentations such as: 

  • Overview of Immigration, with speakers Hawaii American Immigration Lawyers Association members John Egan, Esq., Gary Singh, Esq. and Staff Attorney Bow Mun Chin
  • Language Access, with speaker Becky Gardner from the Office of Language Access; 
  • A Newcomer's Experience, with speaker Justice Sabrina McKenna; 
  • FAQs:  Common Immigration Forms, with speakers Darlene Kutara from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Staff Homeless Paralegal Carly Williamson;  
  • Working with Newcomers:  Their Perspectives, a panel with Innocenta Sound-Kikku, Jokim Peter, Arsima Muller, Esq., moderated by Jennifer Rose, Esq.;  
  • Immigration Remedies for Victims, with speakers Staff Attorneys, Bow Mun Chin and Jennifer Jung
  • Resources for Immigrants, with speakers William Hoshijo, Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, and Denise Pierson, Office of Community Services;  and 
  • What Benefits are Immigrants Entitled To, with speakers Jane Burigsay, Social Security Administration, Patricia McManaman, Department of Human Services, and Jelani Madaraka, Housing and Urban Development.  Director McManaman unveiled a new chart, showing immigrant eligibility for financial assistance and other services from the Department of Human Services.  (Available on request from HIJC at Legal Aid.)

85% of the evaluations from the training were overwhelmingly favorable, with participants giving it the highest rating, that the training was very useful to them. Comments such as these were common: "Well organized and rich program"; "The speakers were excellent and the binder filled with educational materials is a treasure!" and "The one day training was a great educational experience for me and will help me to serve our immigrant clients more effectively. . . "  The lasting impact of the training can best be summed up by Justice McKenna's words:  

 Immigrant issues aren't just legal issues.  Immigrants to Hawaii and the United States  also have to adjust to a new culture. Trying to secure housing.  Trying to connect electricity and telephone.  And now, cell phones, computers. ATMs, and courtesy cards.  And not just TV shows, but Netflix, and HULU. And live streaming. And not just buses and bicycles, but all those plane fares and luggage restrictions.  And landlord tenant laws that differ from their homelands. . . Helping immigrants is not just about the law but is part of the aloha spirit. 

 

After the success of this training, HIJC at Legal Aid is considering its next step in providing outreach and education about immigration and immigrant issues.  Many thanks to the Hawaii People's Fund, which generously provided funds and support for the training.

Cultural Accessibility for Immigrant Victims 2014 Summit

 

HIJC is sponsoring the Cultural Accessibility for Immigrant Victims 2014 Summit
featuring Leni Marin this Friday, June 27.      

June Office Happenings 

 

HIJC joins with Mediation Center of the Pacific and Hawaii Literacy in organizing the Kukui Center potlock. Margarita Cholymay and Jennifer Jung used the opportunity to share with their neighbor tenants about HIJC's Lien Apinam Chuukese outreach brochure.

Great job Laura!

Laura Knudsen, from our Hilo office, receives flowers from a grateful client who Laura assisted in obtaining a default divorce. The case was difficult because the client believed that the father was sexually abusing the parties' 3-year-old son.  Laura helped to obtain (and drafted) a default decree granting our client sole legal and physical custody and denying dad any visitation until further order of the court!

 

 

HIJC Outreach Specialist Margarita Cholymay was quoted in the June 20 Star Advertiser regarding the new Hawaii Handbook for Immigrants

 

   

Thank you to all those that submitted articles and pictures for Tidbits.

Thank you to everyone that provided news and stories for Tidbits.
Please send any news/information for Tidbits to Sergio at sealcub@lashaw.org
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