July 2022 Newsletter: Secret Sweeties as a liberatory practice

The Law Center team recently had four unplugged days together at Occidental Arts and Ecology Center after two and a half years apart.  We played together like a flock of starlings. We sat still to notice the importance of both light and shadow. Time slowed down and flowed like a lazy river. What a time it was! 

To kick us off, one of the co-organizers and facilitators of our retreat, Chris Tittle, shared some invigorating group games that he learned from his YES! Jam facilitation experiences. With all the listening, sharing, journaling, introspection and group work we did throughout the retreat, none was more transformative than a game Chris shared that we played throughout the retreat called Secret Sweeties.  

Secret Sweeties started as a simple game to give gifts of appreciation to each other, but ultimately it gave us the most profound lessons of the retreat: that we can create joyful connection when we love without fear; that there are endless ways to express appreciation for someone; that showing gratitude in movement work grounds us in what is good and what we share; and that when we collaborate with a spirit of play, our fear of failure dissolves. 

If you want to read more about the profound effect of Secret Sweeties and see photos of our retreat, read our blog post here.

A Victory for Homefulness! And the fight ahead!

Christine Hernandez speaking at Homefulness demonstrationAztec dancers perform at Homefulness demonstration

(Left: Radical Real Estate Law School apprentice Christine Hernandez speaks at July 5th Homefulness demonstration; Right: Aztec dancers perform at July 5th Homefulness demonstration. Photo credit: Ricardo Nuñez)

On July 5th, our clients Homefulness (POOR Magazine) celebrated and demonstrated at the Oakland Planning & Building Department after getting approval for people to live in the homes they built. FINALLY -- after 11 years of struggle, and 16 months of the Law Center’s support and advocacy! Click here to learn more about Homefulness and their vision to “permanently remove land from the speculative ‘real estate’ market.” Even as we celebrated, we and Homefulness also spoke out about the deep problems with Oakland city policy and programs. Exorbitant fees, unreasonable bureaucratic delays, confusing laws, uncooperative City staff, and unreasonable parking requirements all added up to a nearly impossible situation for poor and unhoused builders. We continue to work with Homefulness on their next building projects, and on finding legislative solutions to liberate projects like theirs. 

Lessons from the People's Skool, Part 2

Part of staff Attorney Tobias Damm-Luhr’s learning and unlearning with POOR Magazine's People Skool is to share insights that he’s experienced through their radical teachings. In the second part of his series on “Lessons from the People Skool”, Tobias shares how POOR Magazine taught him about the harm that he caused by leaving home and following what they call the “cult of independence”: harm to family, to the communities we’ve lived in, and to ourselves. 

A new bite sized legal guide!

What are the legal risks of people informally working on a project together? How can those people better understand their legal status, tax status, individual and shared liability risks? By reading our new handy-dandy bite sized legal guide, “How to be an Unincorporated Association”! This guide is for you if you want to learn about the risks and benefits, and how to form an unincorporated organization. A special bonus is that it includes a Mutual Aid Liability Love Letter, which can be used as a template for volunteers within an unincorporated group to agree to and sign off regarding the risks of participation with the group. Check out other legal bite sized guides by clicking here.


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  • Mwende Hinojosa
    published this page in Blog 2022-11-29 08:44:10 -0800

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