The Florida Bar
The Florida Bar News
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July 1, 2011
Hillsborough Bar diversity event

THE HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY BAR’S Diversity Committee, in collaboration with the Department of Children and Families Refugee Services, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Services of Florida, and Gulf Coast Jewish and Community Services, held its first Refugee Spring Summit and Community Law Fair, made possible in part by a Florida Bar Diversity and Inclusion Committee grant. The Refugee Spring Summit and Community Law Fair consisted of a lunch and an afternoon workshop for the refugees. The program also educated attorneys regarding local populations and cultural dynamics, language access challenges faced by refugees, and basic immigration issues. The program also provided an informal venue where refugees obtained information regarding their legal rights in the areas of family, immigration, landlord/tenant, and employment law. Tampa Fire Rescue, the Hillsborough County’s Sheriff’s Office, and the Hillsborough County Public Defender’s Office provided public service awareness to the refugees. Twenty-five attorneys donated their time by sharing their legal knowledge with the refugees and participating in the event. “The refugees who attended had an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the laws in their new country — a place where they actually have rights and legal recourse,” said Janet Blair, community liaison with DCF Refugee Services. The Hillsborough County Bar’s Diversity Committee is co-chaired by Deborah Blews and Cynthia Oster. Committee members Linda Breen, Kim Byrd, Henry Gyden, and Judge Richard Weis also were instrumental in organizing the event.

[Revised: 04-27-2017]