"Cierra walked into the Bowens Senior Center with trepidation, but also hope.
The promotional flier that brought the mother of three to this community center
a few miles outside of Detroit offered to help people eliminate any active
warrants for their arrest — people like her, who had a warrant for a years-old
But something else on the flier also caught her attention: Along with promising
no arrests, it highlighted that child care would be provided. So Cierra brought
her four-year-old daughter and dropped her off with a volunteer at a
multi-colored bounce house just a few feet from the makeshift courtroom inside.
A handful of local attorneys and judges who volunteered their Saturday to help
process cases waited behind the doors.
“The child care is why I showed up,” said Cierra, who asked that her last name
not be published because her case dealt with sensitive legal matters. “Being
able to bring my child without fear of being arrested is everything.”
Cierra was among dozens of people who came out in early June for the so-called
warrant clinic, one in a series of nationwide events that aims to address
active warrants, usually those tied to outstanding traffic violations and
misdemeanors. The periodic one-day events can be life-changing. People with
lifted warrants can get back a driver’s license. They can apply for jobs. They
can seek services that help with housing and food insecurity. They can also
“We are adding capacity to the justice system,” said Anza Becnel, the creator
of the warrant clinics and the founder and executive director of Growing Real
Alternatives Everywhere (GRAE), a nonprofit that helps organize the clinics.
“We are adding capacity to things that we’ve identified that the community
Becnel, who is also the warrant clinic manager for Black Voters Matter, said
part of his goal is to give people more power in the legal system. Becnel noted
that finding secure child care amid a national scarcity can disproportionately
“Parents miss court dates normally because they’re caring for children,” he
said. “To bring a child into a contested zone? Into an arrestable zone? Court
is too much to take.”"
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics