Justice has been on Carl Williams’ mind a long time.
It threads through his career as a high school teacher, as a professor at Bellarmine University, as a legal clinic administrator at Greater New Beginnings Christian Church and CEO of a consulting company that helps nonprofits become sustainable.
That passion for justice continues with his new role as interim executive director at Metro Christian Legal Aid, a nonprofit that provides free legal counsel for the most vulnerable throughout Louisville and Southern Indiana. MCLA’s mission is: Seek Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly with Your God.
“I truly believe MCLA transforms the lives of individuals and the community through its ministry,” Williams said. “I love the mission of MCLA to bring Gospel justice to those who most need it. That transformative power done in the spirit of love really does provide a new lens to people who have not had a good experience with the justice system. If we can come as a compassionate partner and wrap our arms around individuals who are hurting, we can help the most vulnerable in our community.”
Since MCLA was founded by Southeast member Randy Gibson in 2014, thousands who thought justice through the legal system was beyond their reach have met with skilled, compassionate attorneys for help with immigration, landlord issues, family law, expungement and more.
Williams has served on the MCLA board and as administrator of the clinic at Greater New Beginnings Christian Church. Gibson sees Williams’ service in the new role of executive director as God’s provision to further impact.
“Carl is the perfect person to lead in this season of MCLA,” Gibson said. “He has an amazing love for Christ and a heart for ministry. He has a God-given gift for leadership and development and has the experience, intelligence and drive to advance the cause of MCLA in this community.”
MCLA recently moved into a new, refurbished office on North 26th Street in the Portland neighborhood.
COVID-19 did not stop ministry. Throughout the pandemic, MCLA served more than 90 clients via phone clinics. Those virtual meetings proved so effective for both attorneys and clients that they will continue.
Accessibility is key to meeting needs.
“Without access to attorneys, there is no justice for those who cannot afford an attorney,” Gibson said. “For the most vulnerable, this can be devastating. MCLA attorneys provide a gateway to the justice system and answer the call in Isaiah 59:15-16 to intervene on behalf of those in the community.”
One of Williams’ goals at MCLA is introducing training in trauma-informed care for attorneys and volunteers.
“Trauma keeps many from seeking help,” Williams said. “We want to support our volunteer attorneys by giving them a new lens to see the cultural changes individuals face. We have to see all clients differently. Our goal is to care for the whole individual, providing holistic support as well as legal services.”
Clinics at Southeast’s Blankenbaker, Indiana and La Grange campuses, South Louisville Christian Church, Greater New Beginnings Christian Church and Loaves & Fishes Ministry in Smoketown will open with CDC recommendations and best practices.
“The safety of our attorneys and volunteers is paramount,” Williams said.
For more information on MCLA or to schedule an appointment, visit www.metrochristianlegalaid.com.