In just a few short years the movement for RTC has exploded! In 2016 no region in the country guaranteed the Right to Counsel for tenants facing an eviction. Today, 12 cities and 3 states now have this right and many more are working on it.
To support this growing movement, in November of 2021, we hosted our first ever National Organizing Convening on Right to Counsel for tenants facing eviction. Over 100 tenants, organizers, lawyers and advocates from over 40 regions, representing over 65 organizations attended this 3-day convening. The convening focused on deepening our learning by sharing lessons learned from cities that won RTC, digging into the struggles and opportunities around implementation, and learning about efforts across the country.
We grounded the convening in the history of rent and evictions in this country, centering the fight for RTC in a much larger struggle against dispossession, displacement, colonization and white supremacy. When we understand the history of rent and evictions in this context, it makes it clear that RTC must be about building power; taking power away from landlords and shifting power in the state courts, so that we can build power for a world where evictions don’t exist. We also spent time talking through key principles for our work that translates this analysis into action:
With workshops on coalition building, base building, building out the legal infrastructure for RTC, connecting the fight for RTC to larger movement building work and sessions for workshopping the different stages of Right to Counsel campaigns, the Convening created a unique space for collaboration while laying the foundation for successful Right to Counsel campaigns.
The convening also created a space where folks were able to exchange and communicate openly about experiences working on RTC campaigns, including their successes and challenges and to learn about things they could adjust or change within their campaigns. It also gave participants the opportunity to build relationships and form a larger network of allies across the country that can provide future support, advice and solidarity.
While the convening has ended, the lessons and relationships remain. We look forward to working in solidarity with each other as we continue to build the movement.
Deep thanks to all of the facilitators, planners, note takers, DJ's, supporters and participants for making this historic convening happen!
Check out more resources to support RTC campaigns across the country on our website!