A one-year-old with big ideas for change

As we celebrate our first anniversary, we are also looking ahead at the year to come. The past year was a whirlwind of the best kind: what’s in store for the months to come?

In 2023, our ambition is to build two litigation projects on climate justice and two litigation projects on social protection. A project could comprise multiple cases or a single case, and concern multiple jurisdictions or just one, or a mixture of any of those. Because our work is community-driven, we cannot say right now what the litigation will look like or what precisely it will focus on. In fact, this is the exact point of our work: communities are in the driving seat in the cases that concern them, not lawyers. What we can say is that addressing intersectional harms will be the priority in any litigation work we build. We are very excited about the conversations we’ve had with community organisations so far, and are looking forward to continuing building those relationships and jointly working on the cases that reinforce communities’ campaigns for change.

Systemic Justice approaches its work through an intersectional lens that centres how an individual’s social or political identity and personal characteristics can overlap and combine to create different modes of discrimination, exclusion, and oppression. Illustration: Hélène Baum

Building on our 2022 survey to identify priorities for building community power on strategic litigation, we will produce a set of resources that can help communities reclaim  the decision making over if, how and when they leverage litigation in their work. These resources will provide a foundational introduction to what strategic litigation is and what it can achieve, a framework for navigating questions concerning risk and strategy when it comes to litigation, and a tool to help translate the jargon lawyers use into everyday speak.  We are working on ensuring these resources are accessible by design, which includes producing the resources in multiple formats and languages, and organising complementary workshops to talk through how the resources can be used in practice.

Our October 2022 community of practice retreat generated various ideas that we hope to translate into concrete joint projects next year. Once we have finished formalising the community, we will co-create two projects :

  1. the development of a methodology for putting communities in the driver’s seat in litigation, and
  2. the organisation of litigation workshops to share and acquire knowledge as a community.

We will also convene regularly to share updates, knowledge, and opportunities for collaboration, including at our second community retreat to be held in the autumn.

We will also continue building on our community consultation process. First, by sharing additional resources around our Surfacing Systemic (In)justices: a Community View report, including an audio version, different language editions, and a social media pack. We also hope to release a podcast series to highlight some of the impressive work being done across Europe for racial, social, and economic justice.

Crucially, we will be deepening the mapping and consultation work we did in 2022, to address some of the questions this work raised, including the lower representation of community organisations in some parts of the region, and the small role technology played in the community input we received. We’ll work on these and other aspects over the coming year, with a view of sharing a refreshed community view report in the spring of 2024.

Last but not least, we’ll be working to build BPOC power in the European climate space, to make the voice of climate justice activists more central in litigation, policy, and advocacy work.

As we expand our work, we will also be looking to expand our team: some of the new roles we’ll add in 2023 will be for community organisers and lawyers. We’ll also work on further strengthening our finance and admin functions, and consolidating and expanding on the work we’re doing to create an anti-oppressive, safe, and supportive work environment. This includes strengthening employment conditions and our human resources processes, but also developing practices of care for our partners and the team, and continued work on building organisational processes for power sharing and joint leader- and ownership. We will also further consolidate our Board practices, which we co-designed in the autumn of 2022, and recruit a Senior Treasurer to the Board to help guarantee strategic oversight as our finances will grow more complex.

We will continue sharing our journey here on our blog, via our newsletter, and on social media. If you’d like to get involved or explore collaboration on any of the projects above, don’t hesitate to get in touch! For us, 2023 will be not only be a year of building, but also of further listening and learning about the transformative and resistance-driven work communities are doing in the fight for racial, social, and economic justice, and of exploring how we can best support them in fighting for their own solutions before the courts across Europe.

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