This project responds to the history of economic, environmental, and political injustice in Central Appalachia and the lack of experience many students in California have with the region. The region has historically been supported and afflicted by the coal industry, which has led some to economic prosperity and numerous others to experience lifelong health issues, financial challenges, and environmental hazards. The Kentucky BLAST trip will have two teams, one working with the Appalachian Citizen’s Law Center (ACLC) and one working with the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky (AppalReD Legal Aid). The two teams will respond to the urgent need for civil legal aid resources in Appalachia and the injustice perpetuated by coal mining companies upon their employees. Our goal is to help where we can and where we are needed in the offices we partner with.
The Kentucky BLAST trip will have two teams, one working with the Appalachian Citizen’s Law Center (ACLC) and one working with the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky (AppalReD Legal Aid).
ACLC works on environmental, public health, and worker’s rights issues facing eastern Kentucky, particularly related to the region’s mining history. ACLC represents coal miners and their families in black lung claims, protects clean water through legal actions, and collaborates with local activists to promote mine safety legislation, among other things. Our work will be based on the needs of ACLC at the time, but previous teams have worked on an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, written appeals for black lung benefits, and researched the legal landscape of coal mine bankruptcy and mine reclamation.
AppalReD is a private, non-profit law firm that offers free civil legal help to low-income people in eastern and south-central Kentucky. AppalReD’s attorneys, paralegals, and legal secretaries in six local law offices work hard to improve their clients’ lives. AppalReD helps clients get and keep basic needs, including adequate food and health care; decent, safe, sanitary housing; and personal safety and protection from violence and abuse. Our work will be helping AppalReD conduct a divorce clinic and assisting in their provision of free legal services to low income and vulnerable residents of rural Kentucky.
Time Commitment: We plan to have monthly virtual meetings focused either on training or education leading up to Spring Break. Although meeting times will be determined based on participant availability, we will aim to meet during the lunch hour (12:45-2). Additionally, students should be available to travel to Kentucky on the weekends prior and subsequent to Spring Break if travel is possible. If the work is performed remotely, students should be prepared to be available Monday through Friday of Spring Break.
For more information, please contact the student leaders at email@example.com.