(See the blog at http://celdf.org/blog)
The Daniel Pennock Democracy Schools are a key piece of our community organizing. Named for a boy in Pennsylvania who died after exposure to sewage sludge, the Democracy Schools are one to three-day intensive seminars that examine how communities across the U.S. are beginning to assert local control to protect the rights of their residents, their communities, and nature.
We often begin our work with a phone call from a community member. A resident will contact us because his or her community is facing a proposal for an unwanted project – perhaps a factory farm, a quarry, or mining operations. From there, we will often visit with community members, conduct an evening presentation, or meet with elected officials and hold a Democracy School.
The Legal Defense Fund has nearly 200 Democracy Schools, graduating nearly 3,000 participants. Participants include many first-time activists, concerned citizens, and local elected officials.
There are lots of materials about Democracy School here on our website as well as a schedule of Schools. You can also register for a School from our website. We hope you will join us at an upcoming Democracy School.
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit, public interest law firm providing free and affordable legal services to communities facing threats to their local environment, local agriculture, the local economy, and quality of life. Our mission is to build sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature.
Established in 1995, the Legal Defense Fund has now become the principal advisor to community groups and municipal governments struggling to transition from merely regulating corporate harms to stopping those harms by asserting local, democratic control directly over corporations.
Through grassroots organizing, public education and outreach, legal assistance, and drafting of ordinances, we have now assisted over 110 municipalities in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Maine, and Virginia to draft and adopt new laws with over 350,000 people living under these governing frameworks. These laws address activities such as corporate water withdrawals, longwall coal mining, factory farming, the land application of sewage sludge, and uranium mining.