At the re-launch event of LA County’s Fair Chance Hiring Initiative, we unveiled an art installation by photographer Brandon Tauszik with portraits of several Los Angeles system-impacted individuals.
“It was just a seed of hope. Somebody believed in me, and it created a tremendous domino effect because someone believed in me.”
- Gloria Cabrera
Every year, more than 60,000 individuals return from incarceration in LA County, looking to start anew. This is the story of Gloria Cabrera, Legal Assistant, at Yang Law Offices who’s been home for 6 years.
As a legal assistant at Yang Law Offices, clients often forget that Gloria Cabrera is not an attorney yet and will ask her if she can fight their case for them. Perhaps it’s because Gloria draws from her past experiences, bringing understanding and compassion to her work. Her interest in law began at the age of 13 when her older brother was arrested at the age of 15. She remembers studying his case, pouring over documents and going to court hearings and his trial.
Gloria started as an intern at Yang Law Offices, with no formal experience and developed into a legal assistant role, with plans to attend law school in the coming years. Gloria says she is driven by the discipline and stability she’s attained throughout her career. She’s also just achieved a major milestone in her life: she bought her first home.
After experiencing homelessness at the age of 15 and going in and out of the system in her early 20s, a public defender helped Gloria start on a new path. He restored her hope and gave her renewed drive to break the cycle. Speaking to others navigating reentry, she calls on this essential hope. “Once you lose that, there's no drive,” she says. “But if you see a bigger picture, if you see yourself somewhere in your life, just go for it.”
“Whatever we put on her plate, she'll learn and then go above and beyond and do extra research to learn more. Now she's probably the most experienced paralegal in our office.”
- Elizabeth Yang, Founder, Yang Law Offices and Gloria Cabrera’s Supervisor
Working in an industry where people often work overtime, Elizabeth Yang started her law firm with the hopes of creating a healthy and balanced work environment for her team. Her goal is for her team to bring understanding and respect to each case, and her employee Gloria Cabrera does this with grace. Elizabeth hired Gloria as an intern almost four years ago, just two years after opening her firm. “She came in here with zero law firm experience, had never worked for a law firm, and no legal background. And now, people who have worked in the legal industry longer than she has go to her with questions,” Yang says.
Above all, Elizabeth speaks of Gloria’s dedication and love for the job. She jumps at the chance to tackle a challenge, learn new skills, and help her fellow employees. Elizabeth appreciates Gloria’s ability to see the clients where they are, without judgment but with kindness and an eagerness to help. “It's good to hire someone who's gone through that challenge in their life because they survived it,” Elizabeth says. “And if they've learned from it, then they're a stronger person.”
Don't miss out on hiring incredible “ready to work” fair-chance employees like Gloria–who are waiting to contribute to your company's success. Join the LA County Fair Chance Hiring Initiative and become a pledged LA County Fair Chance Hiring employer today!
Courtesy of TaskForce - Photo by Brandon Tauszik
*Portraits in this post were taken by Brandon Tauszik, with stories compiled by Alisha Jucevik.
Brian Stewart, MPP, MDR
Manager, Stakeholder Engagement