December 19, 2005.
CBS2 Chicago, Illinois.
Taking on a legal fight can be one tough battle, especially if you're a person with disabilities. CBS 2's Disabilities Reporter Jim Mullen takes up to a very special free legal clinic, right here in Chicago.
"I was always used to being the trailblazer."
Mary Ann has traveled through Europe on her own. Mary has a master's degree and even went to New Orleans to help victims of hurricane Katrina. What she hasn't been able to do is find a job. And she says she knows why.
"I'm totally blind."
Recently Mary Ann applied for a job in social service, and told the interviewer she's blind. He told her the job was filled. But a gut instinct made her have a friend make the same call. Not being blind, the friend got a different story.
"He said 'yeah, the job is still open.' I was very angry. They just blatantly lied."
Mary Ann took her story to the new Arthur and Esther Kane Legal Clinic at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind. Retired judge Nicolas Pomaro runs the clinic. He knows first-hand what Mary Ann is going through. He too, has been blind since age six.
"Our purpose is to provide legal assistance for people who are visually impaired."
"Many times I can resolve the issues myself by phone conversations or writing letters. Where I'm not able to do that, I have attorneys who volunteer their services free of charge."
In just five months, the clinic has found solutions to all sorts of problems.
"Employment issues, housing issues, I have several people who have divorce issues, child custody issues, as simple as real estate closings. Lot of social security issues."
Judge Pomaro referred Mary Ann to an attorney who specializes in employment discrimination.
Mary Ann is confident that eventually she'll win the case, and find a job. She's a fighter.
"It's that thing inside of you where you say, 'darn it, I'm just sick and tired of being stepped on and having that door slammed in my face.' It's like give me a chance,' that's all I ask."
For more information, contact the Chicago Lighthouse For The Blind:
Source URL: http://cbs2chicago.com/seenon/local_story_353144201.html.
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