Our 2014 Champions of Justice represented the range of legal issues that are part of the daily struggles encountered by low-income individuals – reducing school suspensions, closing down deceptive foreclosure companies who prey on vulnerable homeowners, defending the rights of low-wage workers, and re-uniting families.
The Ronald M. George Equal Justice Award was presented to Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski. He is recognized for his work on behalf of low-income individuals, by easing the burden on the working poor, improving accountability on the level of charity care provided by private hospitals, and advocacy for increased funding for the courts.
The Fresno County Bar Association's Executive Director, Ms. Bobbie Lee, was honored with the newly established Friend of Justice Award. Ms. Lee connects low-income individuals with pro bono services and other vital resources. Her devoted support of CCLS and the cause of equal justice deserves nothing less than this exceptional award.
CCLS attorney Ofra Pleban is an individual with a keen sense of justice and the dedication to defend others. A staunch defender of homeowners, Ofra has saved dozens of families from foreclosure, and was the honoree in the Staff Category.
Chava Glassberg, a volunteer, has donated countless hours to CCLS, and worked extensively on saving families from foreclosures. She was honored in this year's Volunteer Category.
The Reedley Police Department received honors in the Special Recognition Category for their use of restorative justice practices through their Peace Building Initiative. In partnership with local organizations, they have adopted an effective system which provides alternatives to incarceration.
The Honorable Robert H. Oliver was this year's honoree in the Judicial Category. He is steadfast in his support of funding for the courts and legal services, as well as addressing such issues as juvenile justice and domestic abuse.
Roland Barnett was honored in the Client Category for his devotion to his wife who was removed from his home by a family member. Finding help at CCLS, he was reunited with her and able to bring her home.
Attorney Peter G. Fashing was recognized in the Attorney Category for his pro bono efforts to guarantee a family's continued access to their home.
In the Business Category, Louise Farley coordinated a community effort to assist a family who was evicted following a rental scam.
The Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center was recognized in the Law Firm Category for their monthly participation in CCLS Workers' Rights clinics and the support they offer to the volunteer attorneys.