Matthew Charles Cardinale has nearly twenty years of experience as an activist and community leader. In 2005, he founded the Atlanta Progressive News, an online, independent news service to empower Atlantans–especially working class and progressive Atlantans–to make a meaningful difference in the democratic process. Since 2007, he has served as a North American Correspondent for the Inter-Press Service, an international, multilingual wire service focusing on civil society. Cardinale holds an MA in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine; and an MPA from the University of New Orleans. His research has focused on the political empowerment of low-income people. From 2011 to 2013, he served as Board Member, then Vice Treasurer of the Fulton Atlanta Community Action Authority. Cardinale took an active role as a public speaker and citizen-advocate at the meetings of the Atlanta City Council and its Committees.
In 2010 and 2011, Cardinale filed two lawsuits against the City of Atlanta regarding open meetings issues in connection with the Atlanta City Council. Over the years of pro se litigation, meaning without an attorney, Cardinale argued and won a Georgia Supreme Court case; got the City to disclose a secret vote; got the Georgia Legislature to strengthen the Georgia Open Meetings Act; got the City to strengthen its own meetings ordinances, thus opening up their Committee Briefings to the public; and won other meaningful concessions. This inspired Cardinale to pursue a law degree, so that he may help other people.
Cardinale plans to start his own law firm where he will focus on cases of significant public interest that are otherwise underserved by the legal community. Cardinale also hopes to leverage the substantive knowledge, analytical skills, and legal writing tools gained at Gonzaga Law to be a better advocate for progressive public policy. One day Cardinale hopes to run for public office and would like to serve as the first Green Party member of US Congress.
I always knew that I’d like to pursue a career that allowed me to help people and leave the world better than I found it. Throughout my life, all my activities from track to church lead me to participate in service activities, so it was only natural that my professional career would be focused on serving as well.
I grew up in Rapid City, SD and participated in track, student council, orchestra and church, as well as many other activities. After graduation, I attended the University of South Dakota. While earning a B.A. in International Studies and Political Science, I competed at the D1 level as a thrower on the USD Track & Field team. I also played upright bass in the University Symphony Orchestra. I graduated from the University of South Dakota with honors in May 2013. Over the four years, I was able to volunteer for community programs like YWCA’s Girls On The Run and Vermillion, South Dakota Special Olympics. I also represented the University at a regional and national Honors Collegiate Council meeting, and American Model United Nations. I attended the 2012 Henry Clay Student Congress as the South Dakota representative. In the summers, I held various internships including an internship with the United Nations Mission of Iraq and U.S. Senator Tim Johnson. In addition, I worked as a teacher, resident assistant and mentor for a South Dakota Gear Up Honors Program during the summers of 2012 and 2013. This program challenged, motivated and impassioned me! Our student population was majority Native American from seven reservations in South Dakota, as well as non-reservation schools. I taught three classes for seniors and assisted with coordination of evening and weekend activities. I always knew I wanted to go to law school, but because of this experience, I was able to pinpoint that I want to work with minority youth to ensure each child has the best opportunity to succeed academically and personally despite their uncontrollable circumstances.
In my free time, I enjoy exercising, traveling, cooking, and spending time with family and friends. Gonzaga University was the obvious choice for me to gain the knowledge and skills to truly make an impact. I am so grateful to be selected a Thomas More Scholar. With this support and the support of my loving family and friends, I am excited to continue pursuing my dream of a career that serves others!
After graduating with a degree in International Relations from Michigan State University, I served for five years as an Air Force intelligence officer. I am grateful for the skills, friendships and experiences the military enabled, particularly those experiences that exposed me to the efficacy of the legal profession in public service. While deployed to Kyrgyzstan, I organized visits and delivered supplies to orphanages. There were deeper needs at the orphanages than could be met by the existing supply system. It was through the help of military lawyers and USAID that we were able to reach more resources and really impact children’s lives.
While stationed in Korea, I went with my church to work with Kids International Ministries (KIM) in flood-affected areas of the Philippines. We delivered food to survivors, many of whom were transported by garbage trucks from flooded homes to basketball courts where they lived and were awaiting waters to recede. KIM also ran an orphanage, school, hospital and women’s shelter, where I spent time mentoring and tutoring young adults. Hope was evident in the people reached by this ministry. This ministry like many others depends on legal services in fundraising, property negotiations and daily operations. Through these experiences and others I learned that the need for legal service in the public and mission sector is immense. I am both humbled and inspired to serve in this capacity.
I think God gives us the gift of peace as we realize His greatest commandments to honor Him and love people with all we have, whatever we do (Matt 22:36-40). I want to be a competent advocate for compassion-driven organizations that bring hope and supplies to under-resourced people and work toward resolving injustice and marginalization. I am blessed, grateful and enabled to pursue these dreams by being a part of both the Thomas More and Jesuit traditions and community at Gonzaga. It is my passion to honor the Lord and advance these traditions.
I graduated from the University of Denver in Colorado. During my first 3 years there, I focused on rural development. I quickly identified how all too often, development was done on the backs of the poorest of the poor. Seeking further guidance on how to work to alleviate issues like this I enrolled in a 5 year advanced Masters program in Social Work at the University of Denver. My MSW helped me to identify similar injustices in the United States. During my MSW, I was able to intern at the GLBT Center of Colorado in the Youth Division and at Colorado Progressive Coalition as the Economic Justice intern. At the GLBT Center of Colorado I saw first-hand how youth were excluded from systems and additionally how identifying as GLBT furthered the exclusions. My experiences at Colorado Progressive Coalition reinforced my notions that low-income individuals and people of color also face powers of marginalization.
During these experiences, I began to understand my place in working against racism, classism, and homophobia was not in social work, but actuating that change from a policy level. My passion for social justice drove me to law school and the mission of the Thomas More Program. I am humbled and excited to be a part of the program this year.
In 2010 I began volunteering with the victim/witness advocates at the prosecutor’s office in Snohomish County, where many of the cases involved victims of domestic violence. As advocates, we would relay the victims’ concerns and input on their cases to the prosecutor, who would give them a voice by taking into account their feelings when deciding if and how to prosecute. During this time, I realized what a significant role lawyers play in the lives of victims, and how they can become advocates for those seeking justice.
While at Washington State University, I volunteered on a hotline that assisted victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and then became a staff member at the agency’s safe shelter for victims of domestic violence.
As an undergraduate, I was unable to recommend or take any legal actions on the victims’ behalf. I recognized that in order to provide greater service to these victims and to legally serve the public in this way, a deeper and formal understanding of the practice of law was required. I am now striving to attain this knowledge here at Gonzaga in order to become a prosecutor, where I will serve both victims and the public as a whole.