November eNewsletter

With barely six weeks left in 2015, holiday decorations are popping up all over downtown Chicago, and LAF is gearing up for another exciting #GivingTuesday celebration.  After Thanksgiving (and Black Friday and Cyber Monday), we like to take that day to refocus and reflect on the amazing things LAF has been able to accomplish this year for our clients and kick off the philanthropic holiday season.  We hope that you’ll join us on December 1st on social media to share our stories and support our efforts to raise funds and awareness for LAF’s important mission.
As always, on behalf of LAF and all our clients, thank you for your continued support of our work.  If you are planning on making a financial contribution before the end of the year, I ask you to consider making it on #GivingTuesday and helping us meet our goal.  Your investment in LAF ensures that equal justice prevails for all people, regardless of their income.
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Get Ready for #GivingTuesday!

After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year December 1st is #GivingTuesday, a national movement to celebrate philanthropy and service, through raising funds and raising awareness. Join us again this year across social media to get the word out about LAF’s important work and kick off the end-of-year giving season with another rousing day of #GTatLAF.  After a truly amazingly successful year last year, we’ve set a goal to raise $50,000 from 150 donors in 2015, and we need your help!

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To get ready, be sure to like LAF on Facebook, and follow @ChicagoLAF on Twitter and @LAFChicago on Instagram.  You can keep up with the national campaign by following along at #GivingTuesday, statewide at #ILGive, and LAF’s own campaign at #GTatLAF.

On #GivingTuesday, make a donation at www.lafchicago.org and we’ll send you an email with a sign to share and language you can copy onto facebook, twitter, Instagram, linkedin, and emails.  Then post an #unselfie with your sign to share the impact LAF has on our Chicagoland community and raise awareness about the importance equal justice has is in making a better world.

Donations of all sizes are important, and we’ll have exciting matching gifts throughout the day to double the impact your dollars can have.  We’ll be liking, sharing, thanking, and celebrating our work and our supporters all day, and we encourage you to get in on the fun!

Fighting Back against Human Rights Violations

Last week, after a lengthy investigation that involved a number of LAF’s clients, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit against three employment agencies and two suburban restaurants for alleged civil right violations and wage violations.  The suit alleges that the employment agencies paid Mexican immigrants as little as $3.50 an hour to work 12- to 14-hour shifts in Chinese restaurants and live in squalid conditions.  You can read more about this case and the conditions the workers faced in Crain’s Chicago Business Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and on the Attorney General’s website.

Many of the workers the Attorney General is now fighting for came to LAF for help over the past several years.  Many were fighting deportation and sought the help of LAF’s Immigrants and Workers’ Rights Practice Group.  Lisa Palumbo, IWR’s Immigration Supervisor, talked about the experience of LAF’s clients.  “Our clients are fearful,” she said to the Chicago Tribune.  “The vast majority were undocumented,” giving employment agencies opportunity for exploitation, including placing workers in small towns as far afield as Montana and Idaho as well as other restaurants in Chicago.  Palumbo said some of those she has spoken with have been fired and kicked onto the street “with nothing but the shirts on their backs” and nowhere else to go except to another potentially abusive situation.  And to Crain’s, she explains that some of her clients are the victims of trafficking: “Once an employer controls where you live, like in this particular situation, it can make the person’s isolation and control much more significant than if you go home every day.”

Regardless of their immigration status, however, state and federal laws protect the basic rights of workers, and, as Madigan notes, “my office fights to protect Illinois workers and their most basic rights.  The employment agencies and restaurants in this lawsuit are exploiting workers through discrimination and inhumane conditions, violating both their civil rights and their state’s wage laws.  Their conduct will not be tolerated in this state.”

Read more in Crain’s Chicago Business Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and on the Attorney General’s website.  We’re proud of Lisa’s work for these immigrants, and we’re encouraged to see that the Illinois Attorney General and her office are fighting for justice and human rights on behalf of many of LAF’s clients.

Lizzie Rosenthal Wins LCBH Award

We are so proud to congratulate LAF Supervisory Attorney Lizzie Rosenthal for being chosen as this year’s Barbara Grau Outstanding Housing Advocate by the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing.  Lizzie is being recognized for her work in removing discriminatory barriers the prevent people from obtaining quality housing; for assisting low-income tenants in defending their rights to affordable housing; displaying exemplary leadership in the preservation of the identity and character of neighborhoods through affordable housing; and addressing the deterioration of affordable housing through community and citywide advocacy.

LizzieLCBHawardWe are proud of Lizzie’s forceful advocacy for tenants in our client community, especially her recent accomplishments on the litigation to stop the Chicago Housing Authority from decreasing housing opportunities for tenants previously displaced from the Cabrini-Green Public Housing Development. After a very long-fought battle, the settlement in that case will vastly increase the number of tenants who will be able to live affordably in the high-opportunity Near North neighborhood—with access to good schools, public transportation, and employment opportunities.

Pictured above, (L-R) LAF Director of Advocacy Rich Wheelock, LAF Housing Practice Group Director Larry Wood, Lizzie, and LAF Supervisory Attorney Miriam Hallbauer celebrated Lizzie’s success at the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing’s Annual Benefit earlier this week.  Congratulations, Lizzie!