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FY2023 Annual Report

Public Justice Center. Pursuing Systemic Change. Annual report for FY2023.

Thank you for being a catalyst for life-changing action through your unwavering support of the Public Justice Center!

Together, we are changing laws, policies, and practices that perpetuate injustices; defeating laws that would have disproportionately harmed people and communities of color; and building a just society.

Read examples of our progress in the FY 2023 Annual Report or call 410.625.9409 for a printed copy.

Melanie Babb

Melanie Babb is honored to serve as the 2023-2024 Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr. Appellate Advocacy Fellow at the Public Justice Center. In this role, she represents parties and files amicus briefs in civil rights cases related to poverty law and racial equity issues in state and federal courts.

Prior to joining PJC, Melanie clerked for the Honorable Christopher B. Kehoe on the Appellate Court of Maryland and former Special Family Magistrate Andrea F. Kelly for Baltimore City Circuit Court. She earned her law degree from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, where she worked as a student attorney for the Consumer Protection Clinic and was the Articles Editor for the Journal of Health Care Law and Policy. During law school, Melanie drafted the Baltimore City Wage Commission’s first procedural bylaws. Prior to law school, Melanie graduated from the University of Rhode Island summa cum laude in 2017.

In her spare time, Melanie enjoys watching women’s soccer and attending games.

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Brendan Byrne

Brendan is originally from Rochester, NY, and graduated from Fordham University in 2023 with a B.A. in History and Economics. He is a voracious reader, and enjoys running, hiking, and visiting art galleries and museums in his spare time. 

Brendan joined the PJC in August 2023 as a paralegal in the Human Right to Housing Project through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. 

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Nadrat Amos

Nadrat Amos is a paralegal in the PJC’s Human Right to Housing Project. 

Phone: (410) 625-9409 x230

David is the paralegal for the Public Justice Center’s Health and Benefits Equity Project, which supports policies and practices that promote the overall health of Marylanders struggling to make ends meet. The Project seeks to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare access and health outcomes. Before joining the Public Justice Center in 2023, David was an organizer with United Workers, working to develop leaders from the ranks of the poor in the fight to end poverty and secure the human rights of everyone, everywhere. He is a coordinator of the United Workers Media Team.

David holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Towson University and a master’s in Anthropology from American University. When he isn’t fighting for social justice, David enjoys travel, paintball, and gaming. He has two very cute dogs, photos of which are available upon request.

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Dan Gugliuzza joined the Public Justice Center’s development team in April 2023. He has been in the non-profit field for over 20 years, most recently as Data Manager for LGBTQ Victory Fund in Washington, D.C. He was born and raised in Baltimore and has worked or volunteered for Village Learning Place, Everyman Theatre, Business Volunteers Maryland, Baltimore Tree Trust, Gaudenzia, France-Merrick Foundation, LifeBridge Health, Maryland Center for History and Culture, Chesapeake Arts Center, and Sheppard Pratt. He has a Masters in Non-Profit Management from Notre Dame of Maryland University and is a proud alumnus of Towson University and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.

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Elizabeth Ashford

Elizabeth Ashford is an attorney in the Human Right to Housing Project at the Public Justice Center (PJC). Elizabeth comes to the PJC from the Housing Unit of Delaware Community Legal Aid Society, Inc., where she represented tenants in subsidized and fair housing eviction proceedings, and in administrative hearings with the state and local housing authorities. She also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Brenda A. Sexton in Circuit Court for Cecil County Maryland.

A native Marylander, Elizabeth grew up in North Potomac. She earned a J.D. from the Widener University Delaware Law School, which awarded her Pro Bono distinction. During law school she participated in the Civil Law Clinic and co-authored three publications: one on dignity rights in housing, and two on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Delawareans with disabilities. Elizabeth graduated from La Salle University in 2018, where she earned her B.S. in Political Science.

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Policy and practice changes to expect following the settlement of Gorres, et al. v. Robinson

On December 7, 2022, a settlement was approved in Gorres v. Robinson, a lawsuit which alleged and sought to address system-wide failures in Maryland’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) system. The settlement strengthens the UI system so that it can better serve unemployed workers in the state.* Please see below for a webinar about the settlement. If you are experiencing problems with UI in Maryland that may reflect a violation of the settlement, please complete the Google Form on this webpage to help us monitor compliance.

*There was no finding of liability by a court in this case.

Note that we cannot provide direct legal representation in UI cases. Below are three places you can contact if you need legal representation in a UI case.

PowerPoint presentation from the webinar below

Press coverage

“Maryland labor department settles lawsuit over unemployment payments, agrees to make changes”, Baltimore Banner

“Attorneys who forced reforms in unemployment claims system win settlement with state”, Maryland Matters

El derecho a los servicios de interpretación y traducción para niños y adolescentes con necesidades de salud mental en el Estado de Maryland

El Centro de Justicia Pública
Centro SOL, Universidad Johns Hopkins

Baltimore, Maryland
Noviembre de 2022

Los niños y adolescentes de familias inmigrantes sufren una crisis de salud mental, que se refleja en las altas tasas de depresión, ansiedad y autolesiones. La solución de esta crisis depende de un mayor acceso a un cuidado de salud mental de calidad.

El acceso a la atención de salud mental depende de que los profesionales de salud mental, los pacientes y los familiares hablen el mismo idioma. Sin la capacidad de comunicarse eficazmente- con profesionales del cuidado de salud o el personal bilingüe o a través de un intérprete-los niños y adolescentes con enfermedades de salud mental o transtornos psicológicos o psiquiátricos están en riesgo.

Este informe es producto de la colaboración entre el Centro de Justicia Pública, una organización de derechos civiles y servicios legales, y los médicos del Centro SOL de la Universidad Johns Hopkins. El informe constata:

Este informe formula cinco recomendaciones para mejorar los servicios de interpretación y traducción en Maryland:

  1. El Departamento de Salud de Maryland debería proporcionar una guía de servicios de interpretación y traducción para los proveedores de salud mental que atienden a las familias inmigrantes.
  2. Todos los proveedores de salud mental deben tener un plan y una política de acceso al idioma.
  3. El Departamento de Salud de Maryland debería proporcionar apoyo financiero para los servicios de interpretación y traducción.
  4. El Estado de Maryland debería adoptar una política de control y aplicación de la interpretación y la traducción.
  5. El Estado de Maryland debe proporcionar educación pública sobre el derecho de las personas a los servicios de interpretación.

Reducir esta brecha en la atención debe ser la máxima prioridad para los proveedores de salud y los responsables políticos locales y estatales.

Lucy Zhou is an attorney in the Workplace Justice Project, where she represents workers in wage theft litigation and advocates to expand workers’ rights through legislation and community outreach.

Prior to joining the PJC, Lucy was an associate at Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, where she represented workers in employment discrimination matters in state and federal court. She also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Dale A. Drozd of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Lucy graduated cum laude from NYU School of Law, where she was a recipient of the Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Fellowship and the Derrick Bell Scholarship for Public Service. During law school, she interned with the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, participated in the Employment Law Clinic and Reproductive Justice Clinic, and served as an Executive Editor for the Review of Law and Social Change. Lucy received her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Amherst College.

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