Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 29

for HIV and other sexually transmitted
diseases.
Overall, some 6,000 people receive help from
Casa Ruby each year. Many of the clients are
young. One 22-year-old transgender African
American woman, who asked that her name
not be used, says she grew up in the District
without ever developing any job skills. She
dropped out of school when she was about
16 and became a "survival sex worker" because
she had had no other guidance in her life. Casa
Ruby gave her job skills, she says. Now she
serves as Casa Ruby's receptionist.
"I felt like I had wasted 14 years of my life," she
says. She plans to go back to school in the
spring to get her high school diploma and
dreams of becoming a home health aide.
"I never knew school was important until
now," she explains.

"

Part of my job here is
to restore their dignity.
RUBY CORADO

Another youth, who also requested anonymity,
says he wanted to move to an "open-minded
place" like Washington, D.C., so he reached out to
Casa Ruby because he was looking for LGBTQfriendly housing. When he called Casa Ruby, he
talked to Corado herself. He has been receiving
housing from Casa Ruby on and off for about
two years now. He hasn't yet found a job but
has applied for the Supplemental Nutritional
Assistance Program (formerly known as food
stamps), and now has a D.C. ID card. As a gay
man, he says he wouldn't have felt safe in a
city-run shelter.
Not every story has such an upbeat ending.
"My latest tragedy is Zoe [Spears]," Corado
says, pointing to a photograph. "She claimed
me as her mother." In July, a Baltimore man
was arrested in Spears's killing. "But look at her
smile," Corado says. "We gave her a good life."
That dauntless philosophy has served Corado
well over the years. She recalls meeting Vincent
Gray when he was D.C. mayor and dropping
a pile of 500 case folders on his desk, all from
people who had been connected to Casa Ruby
and were looking for housing or employment
assistance.
"I said to him, 'What are you going to do?'"
Corado recalls. Gray told her he was going to
help her become a better leader and realize
that there will always be people in need, no
matter how hard she works.
"I realized Zoe is gone and I can't bring her
back," says Corado. "And when she was here,
I gave her the best life. That's what [Gray] taught
me. I can't do everything."

Gray, now D.C. Ward 7 councilmember, says
that Casa Ruby, due to Corado's efforts, has
"become a haven in a very positive way for
transgender people who have nowhere else
to go."
In addition, Gray says, Corado is quite an
advocate. "It's important to have that kind of
unflinching advocate."

From her perspective, Corado feels her
advocacy is a privilege. "Maybe I can't get
people housing in the most expensive city, or
get them a green card, or get them out of jail,
but I can get them some love and get them
to believe in themselves," she says.
Many people come to Casa Ruby with no hope,
says Corado. "Part of my job here is to restore

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

*

WASHINGTON LAWYER 29



Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
Going Above and Beyond feature
On Safer Ground feature
Casa Ruby Profile
Pro Bono Effect
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask the Ethics Experts
Disciplinary Summaries
Community & Connections
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 7
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 9
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 11
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Going Above and Beyond feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 13
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 14
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 15
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 16
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 17
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - On Safer Ground feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 19
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 20
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 21
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 22
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 23
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 24
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 25
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Casa Ruby Profile
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 27
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 28
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 29
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 30
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 31
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 33
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 34
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 35
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 36
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 38
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 39
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 41
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 46
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 47
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Cover4
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