Legal Aid for Washington Fund (LAW Fund) and its Campaign for Equal Justice raise charitable contributions to ensure justice is a reality -- not just for those who can afford it -- but for everyone in Washington state.
The Laurel Rubin Farm Worker Justice Project is a farm worker advocacy project that supports and funds law students to work in summer internships with organizations that provide civil legal services to Washington farm workers. It is named after Laurel Rubin, a devoted farm worker advocate who died in the course of her advocacy work. Since 1999, the Project has sponsored 32 summer internships for law students to work alongside experienced attorneys to provide legal services to farm workers in need.
The Laurel Rubin interns work on matters involving worker safety, housing, access to health care, immigration, employment discrimination, unemployment and workers compensation, and consumer rights.
We are tremendously grateful to our generous sponsors and contributors, including the Western Union Foundation, PCC Natural Markets, Starbucks Coffee Company, and LAW Fund, together with Perkins Coie LLP, Matt Geyman and Amy Arvidson, Laura Solis, Frank and Miriam Rubin, Patricia Loera, and many others.
Farm workers currently live in third world conditions within the boundaries of our own state. Many agricultural workers live in labor camps or overcrowded apartments. Others spend time living in their cars, in tents or along river banks. Average annual income for Washington farm workers is less than $10,000; and just 5 percent of farm workers report being covered by employer provided health insurance. Nationally, the rate of fatal occupational injuries for farm workers is almost ten times the rate for all U.S. industries.
Each summer, Laurel Rubin Fellows doing farm worker outreach meet more and more indigenous Mexicans and Guatemalans working in Washington fields. These workers do not speak Spanish as a native language; instead they speak languages from the Mayan, Mixtec and other language groups of Central America. These workers are particularly vulnerable because they face even greater language barriers, social isolation and discrimination than other farm workers.
The Laurel Rubin Farm Worker Justice Project assists farm workers in their efforts to enforce their right to fair, dignified, humane and safe working and living conditions. The Laurel Rubin Farm Worker Rights Project seeks to bring additional advocates into the community immediately through law student summer internships to help ensure indigent farm workers' access to justice.
Interns work under the supervision of legal aid services attorneys in several counties throughout the state. Internships are earmarked for current law school students. Information on how to apply can be found at www.columbialegal.org and www.nwjustice.org
In 2012, the Project sponsored four law student interns to do farm worker outreach and advocacy:
Antonia Macias (Seattle University School of Law) Columbia Legal Services
José Garcia (University of Idaho College of Law) Columbia Legal Services
Emily Nelson (University of Washington School of Law) Columbia Legal Services
Edwardo Morfin (Seattle University School of Law) Northwest Justice Project
To Make a Donation
Secure on-line gifts to the Laurel Rubin Farm Worker Justice Project can be made by clicking here now or by calling in your gift in to LAW Fund during business hours (8:30a-5:00p PST) at (206) 623-5261 ext. 281
The Project is named in honor of Laurel Rubin, a talented, idealistic attorney who was serving indigent farm workers in Washington state when she died tragically young in 1998. Laurel was passionately committed to helping migrant workers obtain fairness and respect. Laurel grew up in Wappingers Falls, New York. She was brilliant, indifferent to materialistic concerns and had many interests in addition to serving social justice. Laurel 's dedication and commitment to farm workers epitomizes the principal of justice for all.
Emma Zavala-Suarez, Chair; Andrea Schmitt, Vice-Chair; Cristóbal Joshua Alex, Rodolfo Cureno, Sue Encherman, Karen Falkingham, Joan Foley, Dan Ford, Matt Geyman, Hon. Jorge Madrazo, Aurora Martin, Sean Phelan, Omar Riojas, Laura Solis, Adam Story and Greg Zipes. Laurel Rubin Farm Worker Justice Project Advisory Council: Rep. Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney, Governor Mike Lowry, Ricardo Sanchez and Justice Charles Z. Smith (Retired)