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Published on Nov 29, 2018
For most of us, a simple traffic ticket is an expensive annoyance. But for millions of our fellow citizens—disproportionately, low-income people of color subject to discriminatory policing policies— it’s a financial calamity that creates a spiral of bad consequences. They lose their driver’s licenses because they’re too poor to pay their traffic tickets, and then they lose their livelihoods, because the only way for them to pay their debts—to get in the car and go to work—means breaking the law. This leads to additional criminal prosecution, more fines and fees, and even jail. Claudia Wilner argues we must correct the inequities in our policing practices and our license revocation laws, which effectively criminalize poverty. Claudia Wilner leads NCLEJ’s work combating unlawful civil and criminal justice debt collection practices. Prior to joining NCLEJ, she launched New Economy Project’s groundbreaking law project, which worked with thousands of low-income New Yorkers and community groups to fight discriminatory economic practices and press for sound community development. While at New Economy Project, she brought impact litigation against financial institutions, supervised the NYC Financial Justice Hotline, and co-led a policy and legal team supporting the formation of community land trusts in NYC. Previously, she worked as a Skadden Fellow at the Mental Health Project of the Urban Justice Center and as a law clerk for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She graduated from New York University School of Law in 2002, where she was a Root Tilden Kern Scholar. Claudia has received the Legal Services Award from the New York City Bar Association, the Rising Star Award from the Partners Council of the National Consumer Law Center, and the National Association of Consumer Advocates’ Consumer Advocate Award, and she was a finalist for Public Justice’s Trial Lawyer of the Year award. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx