Speaker: Monique Berlanga on Equal Access to Housing & Eviction Protection

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Teens , Adults
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Program Description

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As a Directing Attorney of the Tenants’ Rights Practice at the Centro Legal de la Raza, Monique Berlanga leads a dedicated team of attorneys and advocates working to prevent evictions of low-income tenants in the East Bay.

Criminal background checks are often used as screening criteria for rental housing to determine qualified applicants. For those with a criminal history, these screenings have become a barrier to obtaining housing. Many formerly incarcerated individuals are unfairly excluded from much of the housing market. Monique will speak on tenants' rights and how racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system have a disproportionate effect on people of color -- African Americans and Latinx populations in particular -- and their access to fair housing.

This presentation will be presented in English with Spanish translation available to those who request it.

Monique Berlanga holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). A first-generation college student, Monique holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from California State University, Hayward. Monique is from Hayward, CA.

This event is part of the 2021 Book to Action program, which is taking on the issue of racial inequity in criminal justice and beyond through the memoir Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. Stevenson is the widely acclaimed activist defense lawyer and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Ala.  EJI has won reversals, relief or release from prison for more than 140 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row, and for hundreds of others wrongly convicted or deemed to have been unfairly sentenced.

Book-to-Action programming this spring highlights the work of local organizations and leaders who promote racial equity and social justice. In book discussions and other events, the Hayward Public Library and participants will examine essential components of sustainable communities, including equal and fair access to education, housing, health care, employment and food.  To learn more including how to obtain a copy of Just Mercy in print or audio form, go online here to the Book-to-Action 2021 page on the Hayward Public Library website.