Yesterday was such an incredible day. Transformative. Rad. So freaking awesome.
It was just a fabulous experience (see here for Kate Sosin‘s article about it in the Windy City Times). We helped people navigate the actual name change paperwork and fee waiver (because it costs $500 to legally change one’s name in Chicago), as well as the maze that is the Daley Center (elevators don’t go from the 12th floor to the 8th floor — it’s accessible via an escalator from the 7th floor). I really felt like I was a part of something larger than just me. Standing there in the Daley Center, with a bunch of amazing people, helping to change people’s lives — transformative justice has never seemed so close or so real.
I also filed my own forms for legally changing my name! I even got the magical Owen to be my witness for the notary (basically, he needed to sign the affidavit being like, “I know this person. He’s who he says he is, so please let him change his name”), which just made my day.
The whole process was kind of a breeze — I’d already walked several people through filling out all of their own paperwork, filing them, getting a court date, publishing the new name, and everything, so I knew what I was doing. The clerks are so nice there on the 12th floor — so sweet! The woman filing my forms even complimented me on what a great job I’d done (she was surprised I’d done them myself). I was a little worried about the fee waiver, but it all went really smoothly.
What an amazing difference it makes to have friends there for moral support (and an attorney to double-check that everything’s in order — and even better if the attorney is also a fabulous source of moral support), to know what the process looks like (I went to a training session that went through the paperwork and one that walked us through the process), and to have clear instructions on the exact steps of the process (because TJLP is just awesome like that).
The Daley Center is a really intimidating building. It’s huge, and even the figuring out the system of how to get from one floor to another can get complicated. The paperwork for filing for a name change is overwhelming and confusing at first look. And yet, yesterday was an amazingly positive experience, and filing my own name change forms was truly empowering.
Thank you, TJLP.