Latest from VISTA

Friday, January 24, 2020


“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

             -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Tyler, our VISTA member in Connecticut, writes below on the individuals behind the big numbers of the criminal justice system.

When I sat do with Joe* I was struck by the size of him. At 6’3” and built like a linebacker his hand enveloped mine when he shook it, introducing himself like an old friend. But what was even more compelling was the way he possessed the room. He had a quick melodic voice that tended to slip into Spanish when he talked about his family and a way of laughing that made even the Court Marshal chuckle along.

Friday, December 20, 2019


Lizzie Sluchak, the Community Partnership VISTA member in Baltimore, Maryland is developing partnerships with local nonprofits and community organizations to serve people pre-trial. Below, she explains why the work that public defenders and their partners for people who have been arrested.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Our Strategic Expasion VISTA focused on the Opioid Epidemic, Hari, explains as I walked down 19th St. NW on my first day of work at the NLADA office, I passed by the mural “Women Who Will” and immediately loved it. The absolutely huge and bright and unapologetic burst of color, the pop art style, seemingly random location, and its juxtaposition against the surrounding grey concrete are just so fun to me.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Right now, what is motivating Yamilex, serving in Lubbock Texas, are the images and footage that came out after lawmakers visited the detention centers in Texas a few weeks ago. The fact that human beings are in a facility without adequate attention and care is inhumane. Whether or not someone agrees in restrictive or nonrestrictive immigration policies, it should still disturb someone to see those images and footage from the detention centers. yamilex has been feeling stuck in this feeling of guilt and shame to be living in Texas during her service and not being able to take action.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Harri, NLADA's Strategic Advancement VISTA, recounts her experience at a seminar over media and the Criminal Justice System. It was really extraordinary to hear firsthand from LynNell Hancock and Norris West, two journalists who were reporting during the Central Park Jogger case, and Yousef Salaam, one of the Exonerated 5, about how media image is created and experienced.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

           Wan Qi, our VISTA working with New Orleans Public Defenders writes, as an Asian-American woman from New York City serving at a public defenders’ office in New Orleans — where ninety-eight percent of our clients are black, I am usually very conscious of the fact that I do not truly understand this city, its people, or its history.

Monday, July 15, 2019

“When you try to repress a human soul that’s trying to struggle upward, you’re handling dynamite. There is in this world no such force as the force of a person determined to rise. The human soul cannot be permanently chained.” -W.E.B DuBois

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Grace, serving in New York City, explains how her adventure began as a VISTA. Beginning my VISTA year has been a surreal experience. As I am not relocating to take on this role, much of my preparation has just involved overcoming my own inevitable nervousness. My work site (Office of the Appellate Defender) is located in a bustling part of downtown Manhattan right near City Hall. Being an NYC native, the location and commute are the least intimidating parts of my journey.