St. James Parish residents sue parish council to protect Black neighborhoods with a moratorium on hazardous petrochemical plants
St. James Parish residents have now taken their case to federal court. Since September of 2019, the plaintiffs, Inclusive Louisiana, Rise St. James, and Mt. Triumph Baptist Church, have requested a moratorium on the construction of new petrochemical plants and related infrastructure after the council approved a large number of new facilities and expansions. Rather than responding to citizens’ concerns, the council has continued to approve more petrochemical plants – and to pack them within the majority-Black 4th and 5th districts. This has in turn given rise to the newly filed suit, which plaintiffs argue will not only address the harms caused by the parish council to majority-Black districts, but will improve the lives of all parish residents.
“The St. James Parish Council has made the 4th and 5th districts sacrifice zones for corporate greed and single use plastics,” said Sharon Lavinge, Founder and Director of Rise St. James.
The filing marks the beginning of this lawsuit, as well as the start of a new campaign, Imagine St. James. Plaintiffs and their allies in St. James Parish are organizing local residents to demand and build a new local St. James Parish economy that is more inclusive and diversified, and which does not rely on polluting industry.
Read more on our website and watch the recording of the press conference here.
Three local immigrant rights organizations are challenging subpoenas from Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who is trying to force the organizations to turn over confidential information about their clients. In a request filed Monday in federal court to quash the subpoenas, the organizations say the “unduly burdensome” subpoenas threaten attorney-client privilege, freedom of association, and religious freedom. Disclosure of the requested information would harm the organizations, their clients, and the broader community, they maintain.
Louisiana Advocates for Immigrants in Detention (La AID), Immigration Services and Legal Advocacy (ISLA), and Home is Here NOLA are small organizations that provide various kinds of mutual aid, legal, and other support systems to detained immigrants as well as to individuals who are returning to community from detention and those who are facing immigration removal proceedings. Landry issued subpoenas to these groups in what they call a tenuous effort to support his legal ability to allege legal claims to challenge the Biden administration’s immigration policies in the federal lawsuit, Arizona v. Garland.
Join us for “The Global Fight for Queer Liberation: Resisting Persecution & Criminalization of Homosexuality in Uganda”
How do we situate the wave of discriminatory legislation targeting the rights of queer and trans people in Uganda within a broader analysis of the history of persecuting gender and sexual minorities in periods of rising authoritarianism progressing towards fascism? What do we know of the sources of exchange and export of homophobic legislation? What can movement lawyers and activists do to support communities under attack?
Join SMUG Executive Director Frank Mugisha, in conversation with Center for Constitutional Rights Executive Director & W. Haywood Burns Chair for Human and Civil Rights, Vince Warren, Center for Constitutional Rights Attorney Pamela Spees ’98, and Professor Jeena Shah.
Learn more and RSVP on our website.
Join Haywood Burns Chair Vince Warren and author Derecka Purnell on April 11th at 5:30 p.m. ET for a discussion of Purnell’s book, Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom. Drawing from her experiences as a lawyer, writer, and organizer initially skeptical about police abolition, Purnell charts her journey to her realization that the police was a placebo. The book spans not only Purnell’s experience but also a long history of social movements rooted in rebellion and revolutionary love that pushed a generation of activists towards abolition, from Ferguson to South Africa, from Reconstruction to contemporary protests against police shootings.
More info and registration information on our website.
Read Abu Ghraib torture survivor and journalist Salah al-Ejaili on the Iraq war at 20 and his long struggle for justice
Marking the 20th anniversary of the United States’ invasion of Iraq, Abu Ghraib torture survivor and plaintiff in Al Shimari v. CACI, our long running case against the private contractor implicated in the abuse, journalist Salah al-Ejaili published an op-ed calling for the U.S. to reckon with its legacy in Iraq and the harm done to Iraqis. He wrote of his long quest for justice, “I continue to speak out because I'll never stop seeking justice and telling the truth.”
Read it on the Middle East Eye.
March 28, 2023