January 2021 Newsletter: Meeting chaos with determination
We’ve made it to a new year, bringing hard earned wisdom from 2020. One insight Law Center staff are holding tightly: Life will never go back to “normal” and this moment is our window of opportunity. As world leaders fumble and traditional power structures fail, space for new ideas and new systems is made possible. We’re stepping up, ready to help shape a more just world. The Law Center is ever more committed to banning land grabs, helping grow cooperative ecosystems, supporting mutual aid efforts, staying attuned to the emergent needs of our community, and much more. So much is uncertain; but we’re facing our work with determination, grounded in solidarity.
How to remain calm as we move deeper into The Great Turning? A favorite grounding practice at the Law Center is reading! Here's a list of a few of our favorite books from last year. These books inspired us, fed our spirits, and even made us laugh.
Our Favorite Reads of 2020
How to remain calm as we move into a new year, deeper into The Great Turning? A favorite grounding practice at the Law Center is reading! Below is a list of a few of our favorite books from 2020. These books inspired us, fed our spirits, and even made us laugh.Read more
December 2020 Newsletter: 2020 Annual Report
Remember when the pandemic first started? So many of us in the solidarity economy movement were excited to explore and share alternatives to our current extractive and exploitative system. Mutual aid projects popped up all over the United States. We saw pictures of empty freeways under clear blue skies. We put a halt on evictions and foreclosures. Boxes of masks and other medical supplies were sent from Japan to China and then from China to Italy. And those masks came with poems!
2020 Annual Report
Check out our Annual Report to read about our 2020 highlights, including the launch of our Radical Real Estate Law School, the publication of our Mutual Aid Legal Toolkit, the successful SB 1079 campaign to prioritize communities over corporate landlords, and the legal support we provided to reparations-based land rematriation projects all over the country, dozens of mutual aid groups, and 80 Latinx cooperative entrepreneurs.Read more
South City Focuses on Equity
By: Austin Walsh, The Daily Journal
Excerpt: The meeting also featured a presentation from Ricardo Nuñez from the Sustainable Economies Law Center, who laid out a variety of alternative programs which could broaden access to home ownership and financial independence.
Read full article here.
(Originally published October 9, 2020.)
November 2020 Newsletter: Land Back is not a trend
Thanksgiving is one of the few times in the year we collectively acknowledge the contributions indigenous people have made to this country, as well as the genocide and land theft they’ve experienced through colonization. But we know acknowledging the indigenous people of this land and their stewardship of this place shouldn’t be a once a year thing. The Law Center’s growing work around re-matriation, banning land grabs, and radical real estate law school is an attempt to center indigenous land rights in all land justice work we do. (And on that note, if you’re an SF East Bay resident, make sure to pay your Shuumi Land Tax!)
How should we even begin to wrap our heads around land reparations and indigenous solidarity? Luckily our friends at Resource Generation made this toolkit (which includes our Brief Guide to Transferring Land) as a place to begin.Read more
[If you missed Teachgiving, you can find the recordings here: Day One, Day Two, and Day Three]
In anticipation of the holiday season - inaugurated every year by a a festivity of abundance that simultaneously shrouds an incredibly violent legacy of genocide and dispossession - the Law Center took the opportunity to huddle the same questions we often ask ourselves every year. What narratives are we upholding, and in turn, what narratives are we obscuring? How do we reconcile the privileges that we have been afforded and so comfortably rejoice in while acknowledging that they are exclusive privileges not afforded to many? How do we normalize, and in fact center the conversations on the spectre of our privilege? What resulted was a series of events titled Teachgiving, focused on the faces of land liberation we don’t often see. This series was focused not only on what we take for granted, but even more important what is not always in our purview when we are navigating the world. And it is precisely that fact which makes a lot of what we were able to offer seem radical, recognizing that radical is not inherently that which is most provocative, but instead that a provocation is a natural reaction of questioning the very foundations of how we have historically engaged with the land unquestionably.Read more
Giving Thanks and Teachgiving
By Christine Hernandez, Radical Real Estate Law School Apprentice
I am a wife, mother of four, grandmother, and gardener. I live in a 7 unit house very recently purchased by Bay Area Community Land Trust. We were successfully able to purchase our home after 5 years of squatting and a whole lot of community and tenant organizing. For this reality, my heart is full of gratitude. I’m dedicated to efforts that promote housing as a basic Human Right and make the law accessible to everyone. I advance these objectives as a legal apprentice and co-director of the Radical Real Estate Law School.Read more
We’re not shy in saying that #radicalrealestateweek was a huge success. Thank you to everyone who shared their work and brought energy to the convening. Hundreds of people from all over the US attended our workshops and panels. We also raised over $18,000 from community donations for all our work related to radical real estate. We had such a positive response to our ideas on land and housing justice, land rematriation, and radical legal tools for homeownership, that we thought we’d share the following resources to keep everyone’s creative juices flowing.Read more
From homelessness to real estate: How some Bay Area tenants won their affordable housing fight
By: LAURENCE DU SAULT , The Mercury News
Excerpt: Hernandez said the experience helped her find a new career path, one she realized she’s been practicing for years.
Now, she is a co-director for the Sustainable Economies Law Center’s new project: a “radical real estate law school” where apprentices like herself follow faculty attorneys for four years and then attempt to pass the bar. The goal is to teach future lawyers about alternative models of land ownership that help tenants buy and get affordable housing. In the meantime, Hernandez and Garlipp have started a Youtube channel for tenants facing eviction.
Read full article here.
(Originally published October 4, 2020.)
Black Votes Matter!
By: Nube Brown and Malik Washington, Bay View
Excerpt: Right now, as this article is going to print, the Bay View is in the process of transitioning from a corporate model to a co-op model. That’s right! The Bay View is working with some wonderful attorneys from the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) in Oakland and soon this historic national Black newspaper will be owned by the people – we will be offering our readers and subscribers an opportunity to actually own a share in our wonderful Black newspaper
Read full article here.
(Originally published October 1, 2020.)Read more
The Forbidden Eroticism of Real Estate
In the final waking hour of her life, my mom lay in a hospital bed drifting in and out of consciousness. Not long before she closed her eyes for the last time, she looked up, smiled, and said “I just traveled through every room of every home I ever lived in.” It was the kind of warm fuzzy smile you’d expect from a person who’d just received the best bear-hug ever. The comfort, satisfaction, and love of those homes followed my mom through the ups and downs of a lifetime. They were kin, at her side in those final hours, along with me, my dad, and my sister.Read more
A Life (un)Determined by Borders: Healing with the Land and with Each Other
Growing up on the US-Mexico border, I’ve spent most of my life toggling between two cities in two different countries. I exist in the adjacency of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua and El Paso, Texas. My ancestors - as far back as colonialism allows us to remember - were farmers and ranchers just a couple of hours south of the border, and were pushed to migrate here. Many years later I was (just barely) born on the American side, so I was ascribed with the privilege of being able to travel back and forth with freedom. The border is a relatively fresh wound. The Tohono O’odham people to the west of my birthplace have been there since time immemorial and remind me of this every day. Despite predating the border, they have been encumbered by it, too. (As I write this, the Tohono O’odham are on the frontlines protesting against the development of a wall on their land that would destroy their sacred spring. Support their bail fund here. ) As I continually crossed the border growing up, I felt myself cross stitching the wound with my footsteps. I need to reiterate, I have immense privilege in doing this. But part of healing the wound is being able to realize that the border is a self-referential fiction neatly enforced through violence. And at the end of the day, it is a form of enclosure in a world that is much too big and much too round to own.Read more
Organize, Reach Out, Assemble, GROW!
My name is Hope Williams and I am a legal apprentice at the Law Center's Radical Real Estate Law School. I’ve been an organizer and renter in San Francisco for over three years and have played a role in the newest wave of a tenant uprising. According to a San Francisco Planning Report, in 2015, 56 percent of the residents in San Francisco were renters. 56 percent! With the advent of COVID, now more than ever, we must help each other and consolidate our power as tenants because there is strength in solidarity. Being able to fight alongside the most vulnerable communities in this city has taught me a lot.Read more
How to set up a mutual aid fund
By: Julia Ho, Shareable
Excerpt:"The Sustainable Economies Law Center also just released this mutual aid legal guide and is an immensely helpful resource for mutual aid and other grassroots groups working through legal questions and compliance issues."
Read full article here.
(Originally published September 24, 2020.)