MEMPHIS – The United States Department of Justice has awarded a $600,000 Legal Assistance for Victims Grant to Mid-South Immigration Advocates (MIA) for its collaborative partnership with CasaLuz and the Memphis Public Interest Law Center (MPILC). The Legal Assistance for Victims Grant Program supports projects that provide legal services to underserved victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and similar crimes, such as stalking.
The collaborative will be providing holistic legal representation and victim advocacy to the Hispanic and Latino communities in the Memphis metropolitan area. During the three-year project, MPILC and MIA will provide direct representation in divorce, child support, orders of protection, and immigration matters. CasaLuz is the anchor of the project, as the region’s first and only culturally specific victim advocacy and support agency.
“CasaLuz was founded in 2015 to meet the unique needs of Hispanic victims of abuse, who face barriers accessing suitable services,” says Inés Negrette, Executive Director and founder of CasaLuz. “Through this grant, our organizations will help vulnerable clients break the cycle of abuse and move forward to lives free from violence.”
The project partners are new organizations established to fill gaps in local services. MPILC was founded in 2012 to provide civil representation and advocacy to underserved Memphians, including immigrants and victims of domestic violence. MIA, founded in 2013, provides free and affordable immigration representation to low-income Mid-Southerners, primarily children and families seeking asylum.
The mission of CasaLuz is to prevent and reduce domestic violence, sexual assault, and related crimes in the Spanish-speaking community and to promote equal access to justice and support services for survivors. CasaLuz addresses the language barrier as well as the need for trauma-informed care and culturally sensitive services through bilingual/bicultural advocates who engage in crisis counseling, case management, reflective listening, safety planning, and danger assessments. This award will allow project partners to make a significant impact in the Latino and Hispanic communities by empowering victims with access to justice, healing, and safety.