As one of the oldest civil rights institutions on the West Coast, our goal at Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCRSF) is to dismantle systems of oppression and racism, and to build an equitable and just society. Formed in 1968 to bridge the legal community and the Civil Rights Movement, we’re known for advancing the rights of people of color, immigrants, refugees and low income individuals. Our grounding in community and direct legal services help us identify the most pressing civil rights issues and informs the broader impact litigation and policy advocacy we undertake. Not only do we fight oppression and construct more just systems and institutions, we build the movement by investing in legal fellows and supporting a network of over 1,000 active pro bono attorneys who fight alongside us.
We work to end the criminalization of poverty, including the over-policing of communities of color and the unconstitutional seizure of property from unhoused people. Last fall, we won the repeal of an unconstitutional loitering ordinance in Oakland that disproportionately harmed Black public housing residents. We are also working to end harmful financial consequences from the criminalization of low-income communities of color.
Last year, we launched the nation’s first Consumer Bail Clinic to challenge predatory bail industry contracts that leave people thousands of dollars in debt even if they were never charged with a crime. Meanwhile, our Education Program increases education access by challenging discriminatory suspension policies in cities like Modesto, where we won a major settlement for students of color. This work seeks to make the promise of equal education a reality for future generations.
We envision a thriving Bay Area economy where people from oppressed communities are able to determine their economic futures. Our policy work seeks to change the legal and business landscape through policy interventions and the establishment of alternative business models including public banks, commercial land trusts, and small business purchasing cooperatives. Our Legal Services for Entrepreneurs (LSE) program provides transactional legal assistance to start-ups and small businesses at risk of displacement in low-income communities of color. We focus on providing general business law counsel and legal assistance to small commercial tenants.
We are on the front lines of the Trump administration’s war on immigrants. Our Asylum Program, now in its 36th year, has represented thousands of refugees in U.S. immigration courts. At a systems level, we are currently suing Customs and Border Protection over inhumane conditions in its detention centers on the U.S.-Mexico border. Our class-action lawsuit, Doe v. Nielsen, prompted the release of the photographs of Border Patrol housing families in “iceboxes” that shocked the nation last summer. Most recently, we won a crucial federal court victory blocking the administration’s efforts to unlawfully deny humanitarian relief to hundreds of immigrant youth in California.