Each year at our Gala, we recognize a client whose courage and steadfast resolve in the face of so many challenges was an inspiration. In 2010, we honored Edward Tapia. Here is his story.
In his own words, Edward Tapia's life had taken a turn for the worse after he had been convicted of a crime he did not commit. He felt like he needed to plead guilty to put an end to an arduous three-year fight in criminal court.
Little did he know that his struggles were only just getting started.
In 2009, New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) came to Edward’s home and informed him that because of his criminal conviction, his children would be taken away. Needless to say, Edward was stunned. He had just gone through a three-year fight, and here was one that hit even closer to him. But this time he had a strong ally on his side, because with this case, Edward first met The Bronx Defenders.
Edward fought hard to keep his family together. But even as he and his advocates at The Bronx Defenders were battling in court, the constant conferences and court dates cost him his job. Now, he was separated from his children, without a livelihood to support himself or his family, and on the road to losing his family’s apartment.
Nonetheless, Edward kept his resolve and together with The Bronx Defenders he was able to overcome each new obstacle in turn.
With the help of our Family Defense attorneys and advocates, Edward and his wife and children could finally live together again. With the advice of our employment attorney, social workers, and benefits specialist, Edward was able to provide for himself and his family, ultimately starting his own successful business. And with the assistance of our housing advocate Edward secured affordable housing for his whole family.
Mr. Tapia’s story demonstrates that our holistic approach works and how fortunate we are for our cadre of talented attorneys, investigators and advocates and their tireless efforts with courageous clients in the fight for justice. Every year, we help more than 14,000 clients. With your donation, we can continue our good work for more clients in need.