At a time when our clients are the most vulnerable, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (CRLAF) advocates have stepped up from day one to do what is needed to protect the rights of rural communities. Within hours of Governor Newsom announcing the shelter-in-place mandates, CRLAF legislative advocates and project directors drafted a letter to the Governor calling for workplace protections for farmworkers and financial assistance for families affected by COVID-19 but ineligible for federal stimulus funds. When Governor Newsom announced that he was making available $75 million to provide disaster relief benefits for undocumented individuals, CRLAF was selected as one of the twelve organizations to screen individuals for Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI) benefits and disburse close to $4.6 million to families in the eight northern counties of the Central Valley. CRLAF's letter to the Governor was shared with private funders who have also selected CRLAF to disburse an additional $400,000 to undocumented families. In these unprecedented times, CRLAF has stood out as a relentless leader, change agent, and premier community-centered legal service provider committed to championing the rights of essential workers and their families.
As we advocated for greater protections for our clients, we also took measures to protect our staff by closing our doors to the public while continuing to provide all services remotely. Even though the doors to our physical offices are temporarily closed to the public, CRLAF advocates have been working around the clock developing timely and culturally responsive information on COVID-benefits, Know Your Rights, and other important resources; advocating for worker and tenant protections, safe living conditions for H2-A workers, night lighting, wildfire protections, heat illness prevention, Health For All, and access to legal services; providing legal assistance to aggrieved workers and immigrants seeking to regularize their immigration status; and advocating to secure the release of individuals from ICE detention centers.
You will see from the report below that CRLAF advocates have done truly amazing work on behalf of rural poor families. It is an honor for me to work alongside these advocates for justice, whose skill and understanding about the issues that affect rural communities has earned them the respect and admiration of both our clients and the legal services community. It is also a privilege to work with clients who motivate us with their resilience and hope for a better tomorrow.
As we continue to respond to this global pandemic and ensure that the most vulnerable in our communities have the protections and support that they need, we thank you for your support. CRLAFis stronger because of our commitment to shared leadership, caring for and supporting each other, especially in the midst of such unforeseen challenges that threaten everyone's health and well-being, and our passion for justice. Thank you for standing with us; we are stronger together.
2020 has been filled with unprecedented challenges raised by a global pandemic that turned every aspect of our normal lives upside down and wildfires that have pushed low-wage workers into greater economic insecurity. At the same time, immigrant communities are still continuously targeted and live in constant fear of being forcibly separated due to the Trump Administration's relentless attacks on immigrants and communities of color.
Amagda Pérez, Executive Director
2020 IMPACT REPORT
California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation