CGLA's I Am Somebody Annual Benefit Campaign supporting Cabrini Green Legal Aid
CGLA's I Am Somebody Annual Benefit Campaign

I AM SOMEBODY


This week let's celebrate one another.  
Our work can not be done alone.  It is only because of dedicated staff, committed partners, generous supporters and fearless clients that we are able to make sure all voices are heard.
Together, our collective power gives justice a voice! 

WHO WE ARE

CGLA was established in 1973 to serve legal needs arising from the lack of opportunity, criminalization of poverty, and racial inequity experienced within the Cabrini Green community. Since then, CGLA has grown beyond a single neighborhood to become a citywide, countywide, and now statewide leader in supporting low-income individuals negatively impacted by the criminal justice system. 
Any engagement with the criminal justice system can greatly disrupt an individual, family, and community’s quality of life. For this reason, CGLA staff works tirelessly to improve access to justice for individuals impacted by the criminal justice system. CGLA focuses on individuals who have current or past arrests and convictions. We also provide social supports and education to families and communities. Our social workers, as members of the legal team, provide holistic supports in efforts to equip our clients with the tools they need to succeed as we create opportunities for second chances.  

HOW WE GIVE JUSTICE A VOICE

COLLABORATION.  INNOVATION.  COLLECTIVE IMPACT.

CGLA delivers focused, interdisciplinary legal and social services to remove barriers to employment, education and housing in efforts to position individuals to achieve outcomes and become contributing members of society. We bring together teams of lawyers and social workers to comprehensively support client goals, while leveraging strategic partnerships across other social service sectors.​
CGLA works to remove systemic barriers that perpetuate the cycle of poverty by way of coalition- building, legislative support, and leadership development through our policy and advocacy work.

MEET DESZE ADAM

What CGLA means to me is getting to feel like a person again and not wondering when the next time I am going to have my past used against me to make me feel unworthy of anything. 

No one is perfect. We all have made mistakes and have paid for them in some way, shape, or form, but that does not mean we should be punished for those mistakes for the rest of our lives. Ms. Wendy Webber, CGLA's Criminal Defense Staff Attorney, took the time to go over my case and everything associated with it. Not one time did I feel as if she judged me. Before CGLA, I felt like I was going to constantly be paying for my past. It would keep me for taking the career paths that I wanted to take, even though I was more than qualified. People would find out about my past and look at me differently as well. I’m just a normal hard working human being who only wanted another chance to be seen on the same page as everyone else.

I think the best thing about CGLA is that they stand by the mission they set out to accomplish. CGLA started to help the people of Cabrini Green seek justice. I never told any of them this, but I actually grew up in Cabrini Green as a kid in the 90s and bore witness to a lot of the community. It’s like life comes full circle at some point and it placed me right here in this moment to get the help that I so desperately needed. All this came about a few months ago when I was attempting to get a job. I was rejected due to my background and my heart sunk because I had been waiting to get that position for weeks just to have it stripped away from me all due to 7-year-old mistake. 7 years ago I committed a petty offense that would lead me to being banned from working in the industry of finance.

I almost gave up, but deep down I knew that there had to be something that could be done. I woke up one morning with determination running through my blood, so I took a shot in the dark and emailed the CEO of another company asking about a banking job. I told them about my previous history and that I heard they give people a second chance but I didn’t know where to begin. To my surprise a few days later my phone rang with a response saying they had received my email and wanted to help me. I could not believe that it was real. Then they referred me to CGLA and Wendy and the team took it from there.

Fast forward months later, Wendy and CGLA helped me overturn that decision and restored my rights as a person to aim for the career I desire. Now my hope for the future is restored and I don’t feel burdened by my past anymore. I no longer have to feel like just a statistic, I feel like a person who has opportunity ahead of himself again and CGLA did that for me. I cant even begin to express the amount of gratitude I have for everyone in that organization. They are a group that I truly believe in and support, I would not have it any other way.  

I am forever grateful to Wendy Webber.  Her professionalism, courteousness, and genuine manner reflect accurately everything that CGLA encompasses.  THANK YOU! 

WE CAN NOT DO THIS WORK ALONE


Our community is a diverse group made up of our staff, volunteers, partners, community leaders, and clients.  Together, we serve as a constant in our collective efforts to affect systematic change and give justice a voice!  
Let's hear from one of our longstanding partners, Seyfarth Shaw.  

Thank you to our Sponsors

In the wake of a global pandemic and the civil unrest impacting our city and state, CGLA continues to be adaptive, while fulfilling our mission. We remain responsive to support those who need us most, with the ultimate aim of working to give Justice a Voice! Surrounded by uncertainty, one thing remains clear, our mission has never mattered more than it does today. 

Please join us in celebrating our fearless clients, valued partners and incredible network of supporters during our annual “I AM SOMEBODY” Virtual Benefit, from September 21, 2020 through September 25, 2020. Your support will allow us to achieve measurable outcomes for our clients and sustain our work as we address the high demand for legal services across Cook County and the State of Illinois in matters involving criminal defense, criminal records, juvenile expungements, and wrap-around supportive services including case management and referrals. 


9/21 Day 1: I Am Somebody Benefit Campaign Kickoff: Welcome and CGLA Impact

9/22 Day 2: The CGLA Community: Staff, Volunteers, Partners, Community Leaders, and Clients.

9/23 Day 3: Sponsor and Awardee Highlights

9/24 Day 4: Championing Justice​

9/25: Day 5:  CGLA's Work Continues