Westside Justice Center
The Westside Justice Center (WJC) is a community-centered organization that promotes a holistic approach to justice by: 1) Facilitating legal literacy to reduce recidivism; 2) Providing legal and quasi- legal assistance to individuals; and 3) Establishing and nurturing community trust through restorative justice practices.
Formed in 2015 by a group of attorneys, community leaders and legal advocates, WJC seeks to empower and re-power individuals and communities to demand and attain accountability and greater access to systems of justice.
WJC provides holistic, client oriented legal services. Holistic Legal service is an innovative approach to justice which centers the individual. To support the individual in achieving a promising life trajectory, WJC addresses a myriad of issues, such as educational gaps, barriers to employment, access to benefits and more. Our work addresses underlying socio-economic issues and racial equity, to reduce court involvement, and mitigate its grave consequences for the individual and their community.
As a holistic legal center, we provide legal and quasi legal assistance on individual and community bases, and utilize the data collected through our intake work to prioritize legal, social and issues of justice to address on a policy level.
Our programs include:
- Individual Advocacy: Staff members and volunteers support individuals in navigating social vs. legal issues, through interviews, case reviews and coaching.
- Know Your Rights: periodical workshops on topics such as renters’ rights, police interaction and homeowners’ training.
- The Movement & Justice Gallery: Currently exhibiting “The Black Panther Party Illinois Chapter: A 50 year Retrospective”, the M&J Gallery is a new venue for exhibits that engage the public in art about the criminal justice system and the systemic factors around incarceration.
- Community Advocates Project: Community Advocates support individuals and communities to access, attain, understand, and act on their rights, employing innovative strategies for organizing, engagement and survival.
WJC applies a participatory, collegial, approach in all programs. We believe by creating space for individuals to participate in dialogue, conflict resolution, and restorative justice practices, individual participants develop their skills and aptitude to emerge as leaders in these exchanges, eventually enabling participants to support their peers.
VISTA - Volunteer Coordinator and Program Officer (Volunteer Opportunity)