Equal Justice Works has awarded recent Wayne Law graduate (and former GLELC student fellow) Erin Mette a two-year fellowship to work with the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center on urban children’s health. Erin’s project will focus on protecting children in Detroit and Flint from home-based environmental health hazards. As a staff attorney with GLELC, Erin will provide legal counseling and representation to affected families and work for policies that address the root causes of this unique environmental justice issue.
For too many residents in environmental justice communities, their home is a hazard to their health. Home-based environmental health hazards include lead paint on the walls of older homes and a lack of access to clean drinking water due to lead contamination and water service shutoffs. Children are especially vulnerable to the life-long health impacts that these hazards cause. Additionally, these hazards disproportionately affect children in low-income communities of color, whose voices have typically been excluded from the process of creating and enforcing the standards meant to prevent such harms. The families impacted by home-based environmental health hazards overwhelmingly lack access to legal services to help them address these issues. Through her Equal Justice Works fellowship, Erin will provide a wide variety of direct legal services to families confronting home-based environmental health hazards to ensure that those families are being adequately protected from such hazards.
Erin’s Equal Justice Works two-year fellowship is sponsored by Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP and an anonymous donor. Equal Justice Works is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. Each year, it provides funding to a limited number of applicants that have proposed innovative public interest law projects that seek to address pressing legal issues around the country through a highly competitive and rigorous process. Erin is the GLELC’s second Equal Justice Works fellow. Nick Leonard, GLELC’s Executive Director, initially joined GLELC in 2014 through an Equal Justice Works fellowship.