We recently had the honor to visit Birmingham, Alabama to build with the Jefferson County Community Law Office and local service providers and community organizations to launch participatory defense in this historic anchor of the civil rights movement. We also had the opportunity to meet with other public defender offices and community organizations from other parts of Alabama and Tennessee. We shared the story of participatory defense, went over intervention points in the timeline of an Alabama case, how individual case work leads to policy changes, how to build an infrastructure for participatory defense meetings, and tangible ways to build partnerships between defender offices and the local client community. Much gratitude to Jefferson County CLO family for hosting us as we collectively build this exciting new path. Check out the images below, and a short video captured moments and reflections of the training will be coming out shortly.
Gail gives the nuts and bolts of participatory defense meetings. She tells the story of how she first came to ACJP/De-Bug for her son’s case, and now facilitates weekly meetings.
Head of the CLO, Kira Fonteneau, shares the exciting growth of their office, which is a year old. Her approach, office, and staff, are deeply committed to building partnerships between her office and the communities of her clients. We call them public defense 2.0.
Loved seeing the flyer they made for Participatory Defense Training — shut out to Miles, Wendy, and Kira for making this a reality!
One of the tools that came out of participatory defense that we shared was “social biography videos.”
While we were in Birmingham, we did a social bio video with CLO for their client. It will be the first one in Jefferson County history!
While in Birmingham, we also got a chance to build with social workers and community organizers from Nashville, who will be staring participatory defense meetings soon!
Here is Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, and San Jose after a great couple days!