Good Trouble: A National Conversation on Black Lives Matter and Tenants’ Rights

october 2020

fri02oct4:30 pm8:00 pmGood Trouble: A National Conversation on Black Lives Matter and Tenants' Rights Event Organized By: Wilf Impact Center for Public Interest Law

Good Trouble: A National Conversation on Black Lives Matter and Tenants’ Rights

Event Details

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Black America reckoned with another crisis—homelessness and evictions. Though Black Americans make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, in 2019, they accounted for approximately 40 percent of the nation’s homeless population. As the pandemic persists, many housing courts have reopened and resumed eviction proceedings. Though moratoriums may postpone an eviction, they do not provide monetary relief to prevent the eviction entirely.

This virtual conference gathers housing experts from across the nation to discuss gentrification, the experiences of Black litigants in housing courts, grassroots tenant organizing efforts in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, and impact litigation that challenges anti-Blackness and discrimination against tenants. The panelists include tenant attorneys, tenants, organizers, professors, and funders from organizations in New York, California, Missouri, North Carolina, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington, D.C.

This is an online event.

Friday, October 2, 2020

1:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. PDT
4:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m. EDT

Robert Desir, Staff Attorney, The Legal Aid Society (New York)
Leah Goodridge, Supervising Attorney, Housing Project, Mobilization for Justice (New York)

1:30 p.m.–1:35 p.m. PDT / 4:30 p.m.–4:35 p.m. EDT

1:35 p.m.–2:55 p.m. PDT / 4:35 p.m.–5:55 p.m. EDT
Practitioners Speak: The Impact of Gentrification, Evictions, and Housing Court Procedures on Black Tenants
This panel of housing attorneys will discuss how gentrification and displacement are affecting Black tenants in their respective locations and the treatment of Black tenant litigants in the civil justice system (including the impact of court re-openings during the pandemic). The panel will also discuss strategies for the effective development of Black stakeholders in legal service organizations, particularly in nonprofits that provide legal representation primarily to communities of color. 
Dennericka Brooks, Director, Housing Practice Group, Legal Aid Chicago (Illinois)
Donella Green, Supervising Attorney, Homeless Prevention, Inner City Law Center (California)
Jesse McCoy II, James Scott Farrin Fellow and Supervising Attorney, Civil Justice Clinic, Duke University School of Law (North Carolina)
Robert Sanderman, Senior Staff Attorney, Queens Legal Services (New York) 

3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. PDT / 6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. EDT
Tenant and Organizer Roundtable: Pushing Back Against Systemic Racism
Tenant organizers will discuss how Black tenants in their respective locations have been impacted by gentrification, homeless, and evictions before and during the pandemic. The panel will identify the mechanisms they have used to challenge zoning laws, the reopening of courts during the pandemic, and displacement.
Michael Hollingsworth, Organizer, Crown Heights Tenants Union (New York)
Jonathan Hutto Sr., Community Organizer, Empower D.C. (Washington, D.C.)
Jenay Manley, Leader/City Hall Liaison, Kansas City Tenants (Missouri) 

4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. PDT / 7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. EDT
Policy and Impact Litigation
This panel will identify creative and innovative policies and litigation that challenge anti-Blackness in the realm of tenants’ rights. The panel will also address how legal service organizations can engage in impact litigation while meeting funding guidelines that require them to provide assistance to high numbers of clients.   
Lori Boozer, Senior Program Officer, Robin Hood Foundation (New York)
Demetria McCain, President, Inclusive Communities Project (Texas)
Priscilla Ocen, Professor of Law, Loyola Marymount Law School (California)
Rasheedah Phillips, Managing Attorney of Housing Policy, Community Legal Services (Pennsylvania)