I am Somebody

I Am Somebody

“I Am Somebody” is intended to share glimpses into the lives of people who seek to inspire and enlighten. This teaches us that no one should ever be forever defined by their past. “I Am Somebody” is a movement that celebrates the victories of those who use their experiences to make a difference and transform the world!

Visible Voices

Visible Voices is a peer empowerment program for formerly incarcerated women.

We raise awareness and press for change in response to what we see in our daily work and in the trends that emerge as a result of policies or barriers that impact the populations we serve.

Our “Reunite Moms and Kids” Campaign is an effort to continue the policy goals and past victories of CLAIM focused on the needs of mothers and their families when involved with the criminal system.
Together, we are seeing outcomes that by far exceed what we could possibly do alone.

Leadership Council

The Leadership Council is comprised of former clients, who have been negatively affected by the criminal justice system.

Our definition of advocacy is to give voice to individuals in efforts to improve that system, address systemic injustice, and promote social change. Leadership Council members engage in peer-to-peer interactions with those in the community who have been impacted and help them to access CGLA services and other resources, as well as to understand issues that affect them and how they can make a difference by participating in the advocacy.

Presentations conducted by members of our Leadership Council expand CGLA’s capacity for community outreach and amplifies their skills. Together, we are seeing outcomes that by far exceed what we could possibly do alone.

6,672

Legal services delivered, lives transformed

3,802

people served by help desks and community summits

3,785

people reached through “Know Your Rights” presentations

Client Success Spotlight

LaTonya

LaTonya had two choices before her in 2015 when she was faced with adversity: allow herself to be defeated or find strength in the face of pain and grief. However, she chose to fight injustice and in doing so, she not only changed her own destiny, but also the future of all those who came behind her.

After practicing in the health care field for fifteen years as a Certified Nursing Assistant, LaTonya made the choice to go back to school to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. With the support of her four children and mother, she succeeded in school and passed her state boards, only to find out that her outcome would be an unintended consequence of legislation passed in 2012 that removed all discretion from the licensing agency for applicants and current license holders that were convicted of certain offenses. That law was interpreted as barring her – and hundreds of others – from ever holding a health care license.

Despite the fact that her only conviction was 20 years old, it did not qualify for relief under the current sealing laws.

Despite the fact that her only conviction was 20 years old, it did not qualify for relief under the current sealing laws and CGLA did not have an immediate remedy to mitigate her criminal record.

However, because of CGLA’s commitment to advocacy and removing barriers for people with criminal backgrounds, we connected LaTonya to our Leadership Council and coalition work in Springfield. She joined the fight to eradicate the injustice of multiple laws that posed absolute and lifetime barriers to employment or licensure.

LaTonya traveled to Springfield nearly a dozen times during the legislative session, shared her story with legislators and stakeholders, and provided many others a glimpse into the world of those who are deserving of a second chance. Ultimately, the coalition passed four bills this legislative session and LaTonya was an integral part of that success.

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