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International Law Society Collects for Care Kits

International Law Society and Guests

On November 12, 2013, the University of Kentucky College of Law hosted “Journey to America: Immigration Law and Refugees in Lexington.” The speakers included Ms. Guione Johnstone, immigration lawyer and Program Director of Maxwell Street Legal Clinic, Ms. Dabney Parker, Volunteer Coordinator at Kentucky Refugee Ministries (KRM), and Mrs. Nicole Tshibangu, a Congolese refugee.

The panelists spoke to law students and others members of the UK community about the differences between immigrants and refugees, the processes for citizenship, and challenges faced when settling in the new country. Johnstone and Parker talked about their current roles and provided guidance on entering the field of immigration law and policy. Mrs. Tshibangu, who recently resettled in Lexington with her husband and three children, delicately described displacement from her conflict-torn home and temporary placement in Namibia.

The panel kicked off the Refugee Holiday Care Kit drive, which will provide holiday bags containing necessities to adult refugees under KRM’s sponsorship. Currently, KRM serves 120 refugee families. KRM’s mission is to help refugees attain self-sufficiency, by providing assistance with housing and employment, as well as help in other activities such as obtaining medical benefits and enrolling in education programs. Maxwell Street Legal Clinic is part of Kentucky’s Equal Justice Center and provides low cost legal assistance to immigrants and refugees.

The panel and donation drive represent the combined efforts of twelve law student organizations and the College of Law’s Student Career Development Office. The International Law Society played an instrumental role in arranging the panel, launching the donation drive, and engaging the participating student organizations: Student Public Interest Law Foundation, Phi Alpha Delta, Student Bar Association, Student Veterans Society, Christian Law Society, Black Law Student Association, OUTLaw, Equine Law, Sports Law Society, Intellectual Property Society, and Women’s Law Caucus . These combined efforts and contributions brought awareness to immigrant and refugee populations in Lexington with an end goal of brightening the 2013 holiday season for refugees families supported by KRM.

Victoria Clontz
J.D. Candidate, 2015
University of Kentucky College of Law
Vice-President, International Law Society
Staff Member, Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agricultural, Natural Resources Law