Dorian Payán is a legal apprentice at the Sustainable Economies Law Center’s Radical Real Estate Law School. They are originally from El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua where they straddled a border most of their life. Along with many others in my community, Dorian is a border abolitionist and condemn the juxtaposition of our Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem.
Dorian's undergraduate education focused on what we now call critical geography and political ecology under the larger disciplines of anthropology and sociology. They continued graduate school for about a year, then sought out a more direct avenue into land based work instead. They engaged with a non-profit named La Semilla Food Center that was working to address food apartheid in the border region and beginning to have the conversation about what food sovereignty could look like for our region. It is here where they began to deeply understand that accessing, reclaiming, and rematriating land was essential in liberation.
They continued to develop my skillset in land work by participating in an apprenticeship on ecological horticulture at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems in Santa Cruz, California. After completing the program, They were selected to stay as a fellow and helped expand the social justice curriculum in an otherwise technical discipline by the guidance of La Via Campesina’s engagement of agroecolgy as an anti-capitalist, anti-racist, feminist peasant movement. They are currently a production manager at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett - a stewardship project of the Peconic Land Trust, which focuses on preserving agricultural land from real estate encroachment.