Public Allies Partner Organization Spotlight: Community Justice Project
May 23, 2017
By Brandon Johnson, Public Ally 2016-2017
The Community Justice Project is a small Miami nonprofit comprised of community lawyers who work tirelessly to bridge racial, economic, and capacity gaps in majority-minority communities. In their legal work, CJP collaborates closely with community organizers and grassroots groups spearheaded by the belief that a more democratic, more just and more equal society can only truly come about through grassroots organizing and social movement. CJP is motivated by the underlying notion that our legal system limits equal access to justice especially for disadvantaged (ie. race or income) individuals.
Given these conditions, CJP believes experienced legal advocates should be available to all people regardless of economic or ethnic status. Working within Miami, CJP tends to focus on housing and employment imbalances, public benefits, immigration, and community economic development. These lawyers play a vital role in lending legal advice and alternatives to social issues that may otherwise lack the resources needed to actually be effective. CJP is currently hosting a Public Ally, Gabriel Perez, who was quoted as saying “it’s a philosophy not to lead movements but to serve the community” when asked about the nonprofit's role in modern social change. This is important as their work is dictated by the ever-changing demands and movements of Miami communities.
Some of their most recent impactful work consists of:
- Unlocking Government Center- Mayor Gimenez vowed not to protect Miami’s reputation as a ”sanctuary city” which outraged the immigrant community. Mayor Gimenez resulted to closing down Government Center as to block access to City Hall from the onslaught of protesters. In response, CJP led a class action lawsuit against the Mayor for infringing upon first amendment rights for preventing them access to taxpayer's property. They were successful in “unlocking” City Hall as a small testament to their effectiveness.
- Taxi vs. Uber- Community Justice Project has done great work to counterbalance the Uber monopoly on Miami taxi drivers. The Community Justice Project represents the driver-led New Vision Taxi Drivers Association in their work to secure fair working conditions for drivers across Miami-Dade County. CJP's support for the Association includes capacity building and training, policy advocacy and direct representation of drivers in some cases.
They've partnered with Dream Defenders, Miami Workers Center, FANM, We Count!, PowerU Centers, New Vision Taxi Drivers Association, Florida Immigrant Coalition and many others.(http://communityjusticeproject.com/partners/)
They also host bi-monthly discussion events called Salon Juste, inspired by the salons of the Harlem Renaissance with the idea of creating space for robust exchanges of ideas to spur the creativity that emerges from increased connectivity and understanding across different backgrounds. Discussions touch on timely topics, centered around the stories of incredible Miami community leaders whose expertise and talents arise from their lived experiences as people directly impacted by social injustice. Salon’s portray the residents role in accomplishing change. Past Salon topics have included Climate Change and Environmental Justice; Taxi Drivers, Uber and the Consumer in Between; and Women and Work.
To learn more about The Community Justice Project and their pro bono opportunities, email [email protected].