Ariel Levinson-Waldman is the Founding President and Director-Counsel of Tzedek DC, an independent public interest center at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. Tzedek DC’s mission is to safeguard the rights and interests of low-income DC residents facing debt-related problems. Under his leadership, since its launch in 2017, Tzedek DC has provided free legal help to over 2,000 DC households facing debt collection, consumer, or credit problems, distributed know your rights materials to thousands of community college students, and championed reforms that led to 65,000 people whose drivers licenses had previously been suspended for unpaid traffic debts regaining the right to drive in the District of Columbia.
In 2021, Tzedek DC received a national award from the Foundation for Improvement of Justice, which recognizes innovative programs that have made demonstrable improvements to local, state, and federal systems of justice, and that can serve as models.
Debt collectors are leveraging the court system more than ever—and this may have significant consequences for Americans.
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