The law is a powerful and respected tool, yet it is also disembodied, linear, and based in a fragmented view of the world. Litigation is, and has historically been, a useful component of many community-based action strategies, but not all community groups have the legal training that could assist them in their struggles. Grassroots movements are in great need of the legal skills that our delegates possess. These hand-selected delegates came ready to use their training, skills, resources and expertise as true agents of change.
The Transformative Advocacy delegation offered grassroots leaders and women attorneys the opportunity to come together, to listen, to be transformed, and to be moved to action — to collaborate in ways that combine practical, on-the-ground knowledge with technical, legal assistance in order to strengthen the robust and dynamic environmental justice movements underway in Native American communities throughout the Southwest.
WEA believes that direct interface can provide access to critical human and informational resources, stimulate needed advocacy efforts, provoke important internal inquiry about respectful and committed interaction among people with diverse backgrounds, and strengthen the larger environmental justice movement through awareness-raising and networking. It is our intention that these connective experiences serve as a foundation for sustained engagement between professionally trained women lawyers and grassroots women leaders, wherein skills are put to use in a timely, appropriate and effective way within the container of our WEA Advocacy Network. This provided an opportunity for women with legal training to deeply listen to Native American leaders, interrogate their own “blind spots” regarding cross-cultural relationships, and within the context of those experiences provide useful advocacy services into the long-term.
Special thanks to Caitlin Sislin for her leadership in this Project