Cara’s Story
Cara Stewart

Cara’s Story

Cara's Story

After graduating, Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) major Cara Stewart wasted no time getting to work on social justice issues affecting women. While conducting research at the University of Kentucky on domestic violence and stalking, Cara began volunteering at a rape crisis center as hospital advocate for women at the emergency room.

“That grew out of things I learned as a WGS major at Berea. I was able to integrate that into my career pretty instantly,” said Cara.

While advocating, she and the women she sought to help ran into a number of legal barriers. “I kept seeing these boundaries—I wanted to help them through those, too. I would go to court with them and listen. I thought I could be good at representing women in court as well.”

Cara attended law school at Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University to aid her in the fight for social justice. “I want to live in a world where God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth. The Great Commitments became my own values at Berea and lead my life. I am committed to those same principles of love over hate and peace with justice.”

For six years after law school, Cara worked at Legal Aid of the Bluegrass representing low-income Kentuckians in a wide range of civil matters, including domestic violence, evictions, public benefits, and consumer issues.

This dedication earned her an appointment to the Healthcare Improvement Authority Board by then-Kentucky Steve Beshear. Her work helping to implement the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky earned her national recognition through interviews with the New York Times, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and the Economist, among others.

Currently, Cara is a Health Law Fellow with the Kentucky Equal Justice Center, a nonprofit advocacy and research center focused on poverty law. In 2012, she published an article calling for reform of Kentucky’s landlord-tenant laws in the Northern Kentucky Law Review.

“My activism is connected to my time at Berea,” she said. “Berea taught me about justice, where it didn’t exist. Whenever I am not feeling quite as motivated as I need to be, I get my Berea College coffee cup. When I look at that looking back at me, I get after it. I know it is time to do some justice and get to work and work hard—because that’s what Berea trained me to do.”