TEDS MDiv alumnus Cliff Nellis joins Dr. Madison Pierce and Dr. Fellipe do Vale this week to speak about his work as executive director of Lawndale Christian Law Center, located on the westside of Chicago. Cliff holds a BA in Philosophy and English from Illinois Wesleyan University, a law degree from the University of Chicago, and is working toward an MBA at the Booth School of Business, also at the University of Chicago.
Cliff’s rich and diverse training distinctively equips him for his work at LCLC, which provides care to the youth of north Lawndale in the form of legal services, social services, and other opportunities for healing in the community. Cliff elaborates upon the holistic approach preferred by LCLC throughout the episode, an approach that takes into account both social and legal aspects of the lives of the young people they serve, which he calls “wrap-around supports.” Through these services, Cliff and his team (most of whom live alongside those they serve in Lawndale) hope to enable and equip those they help not to recidivate. The ultimate outcome for which they work is restorative justice, or a state of affairs of broader reconciliation and restitution beyond the distribution of punishment. This approach is both motivated by distinctly Christian impulses and better addresses questions of racial and criminal injustice. Cliff describes how he got into this kind of work, and what Christians can do to cultivate practices that benefit the communities in which they find themselves.
Along the way, listeners will discover…
To learn more about Cliff Nellis and the work being done at Lawndale Christian Legal Center (and to work alongside them!), look around their website (where you can make a donation), read the book that originally inspired Cliff, Real Hope in Chicago, or watch the news piece done on LCLC on ABC News.