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Stephanie Champion

2017, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Stephanie Champion

Stephanie Champion

Name of Host Organization: Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas
City, State: Dallas, Texas
Issue area: Community Economic Development/Microfinance and Related Transactional Legal Projects
Sponsors: Texas Access to Justice Foundation

The Project

Equip local residents and community groups in West Dallas with legal tools and strategies to advocate for equitable development in order to enhance social and economic opportunity.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
West Dallas has seen rapid growth in development due to the 2012 opening of the $93 million Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. These new developments pose a serious threat to existing residents who have already began to bear the brunt of the negative externalities that inevitably accompany development. It is imperative that the residents of West Dallas have a meaningful voice in the decision-making processes that affect their community so as to actively combat the negative effects of gentrification.

The Right Person For This Project
Stephanie is the right person for the project because:
• She is passionate about community empowerment and equitable development advocacy and has dedicated her legal studies and practice to the field of community economic development
• She has hands-on experience representing organizational clients and community groups through various law school clinics and internships
Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship
In the first six months, Stephanie will:
• Work with client groups to identify community-wide advocacy priorities and begin conducting legal education and training workshops
• Develop strategic partnerships with other legal advocates and service providers in the region
• Research local and state land use laws and regulations and begin engaging legal instruments to achieve advocacy goals