Our introductory phone call with Jayesh Patel, the president and lead attorney of Street Democracy, went very different than we had imagined… in the best way possible.
Street Democracy is a nonprofit legal services organization that provides holistic legal counsel to homeless individuals and military veterans in tight collaboration with local social service providers. The organization also leads several advocacy initiatives, including the Rehabilitative Sentencing Project, Court Watch, and school discipline reform advocacy.
Jayesh was so excited to have us and gave us several projects where we could make a real difference in the Detroit Community. Street Democracy had established Street Outreach Court Detroit (SOCD) in the 36th district and wanted to do an impact report on their previous clients and how well they are doing today. This included making phone calls to 250 people asking to do face to face interviews as well as phone interviews to hear their stories and collect data.
This would all be translated, by us, into a promotional video for Jayesh to use at fundraisers, events, and the courts to give a glimpse into the wonderful things Street Democracy has done and the many, many lives they have changed for the better.
This video will be shown to judges and prosecutors in other court districts in hope of them adopting the rehabilitative and alternative sentencing platform. This could potentially help hundreds of people in the future and change their lives as it has in the past.
Our second project is planning an event called “Policy and Pie.” Participants at this hands-on event will discuss and respond to local and federal proposed regulations and open for public comment. Participants will also learn about Street Democracy’s current policies under development and help determine content and priorities. Street Democracy attorneys and clients will share success stories and facilitate discussion on issues that community members would like to see addressed. I feel like I’m truly making a difference in the Detroit community and have been making a difference in Street Democracy.