African American Studies


Transcribed and summarized by Alan C. Ventura

In an engaging and informative interview as part of the Bronx COVID-19 Oral History Project, Mr. Wesley Caines—former DIrector of Community Engagement and standing Chief of Staff at Bronx Defenders—sits down with various other Fordham University interviewers to discuss the impact of the pandemic on the organization's holistic defense approach and the challenges faced in providing housing for individuals released from detention. Caines also shares the success story of helping a client in ICE detention and sheds some light on the prospect of positive policy change in New York, the securing of funds for Bronx Defenders, and the work of the organization in supporting the Bronx community during the pandemic. The conversation is also interspersed with many ponderings on discrimination and police brutality in the United States, the importance of amplifying marginalized voices, and the impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities in the Bronx. In closing, Caines provides advice for pursuing a career in law and discusses the inspiring origins of his New York Theological Seminary degree. This interview looks to serve as a testament to the importance in archival work and the hope for positive change for Bronxites in the future.