Creating a community paralegal program in the intersectionality of displacements and the climate crisis is a challenge. At the same time, it's the potentiality of social transformation at a glance. For six months now, we have accompanied a group of 12 community leaders from Loíza in the process of education, "concientización", and advocacy training. Based on a map of the groups' needs and wants, tenure, climate change, and the lack of corporate (developers) accountability are at the root of their concerns. During this first phase, we have shared materials, workshops, and discussions as building blocks to understand how legal systems work and their role in perpetuating inequality.
Meaningful conversations about who owns the land and who wants it, as well as discussions about reparations grounded on racist injustice, have been fundamental for our mutual learning. Dispossession and disinvestment are intrinsically linked to unequal development. Legal empowerment in the hands of the community may help transform this relationship. People who participate in this program want to regain their lands.
During the following weeks, the community stakeholders will engage in workshops to nurture their research skills, complaint writing, and self-representation before administrative and judicial forums. The goal is to identify a legal issue that they want to prioritize and self-define the best legal course with our accompaniment.
Once again, we thank our partners at El Ancón in Loíza. To learn more about this place's history, group, and advocacy asks, please visit this website. https://www.elancondeloiza.com