On Sat., April 2, the Fulton Center for Sustainable Living and the Environmental Studies department hosted representatives from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) to lead a group of community members, Wilson faculty, and students in a unique event called a “Democracy School.” The group hosts Democracy School events to promote the advocacy of community rights across the United States.
Thomas Linzey, the executive director of CELDF, along with Chad Nicholson, Pennsylvania Community Organizer in CELDF, taught a group of passionate community members and students about the importance of community self-government. The two emphasized that “Law is not on the side of the community, law is on the side of the corporation,” while making it clear that the system does not have to be this way. Active participation by communities across the world is revitalizing the idea of self-government, promoting what is known as the “community rights movement.”
Wilson student Brant Swartz ’18, felt that the event was “Very informative and [a] well put together presentation on the issue of corporate interference and how communities in Pennsylvania and around the nation are trying to fight back against a system designed to keep them submissive.”
CELDF’s Democracy School offered a great opportunity for Wilson students, staff, and community members to develop an understanding of how our current legal system functions in ways that do not benefit communities, but hurt them. On top of this, CELDF offered advice as to how communities can speak up and take action to change the course of their legal presence, because after all, “If we don’t have democracy in our communities, we don’t have it at all.”
It is important to be involved in the local community to help your community thrive and benefit its constituents. It is also a good way to have your voice heard. For more information regarding the CELDF visit their website.