Host: Youth Represent
Carlos (he/him/his) will empower citizens to proactively demand public accountability by strengthening Puerto Rico’s constitutional right to access government information, promoting transparency, and engaging in participatory democracy
Hurricane María and the Covid-19 pandemic have exposed decades-long mismanagement of public resources in Puerto Rico. As a result, trust in government institutions has eroded significantly. At the root of this problem lies a legal framework that discourages transparency and fosters a governmental secrecy culture. Puerto Rico is one of the few U.S. jurisdictions with a constitutional right to access public information. Yet, in 2020, the Centre for Law and Democracy gave a dismal 49% score to recently enacted open-data laws and concluded they were one of the weakest in the Americas.
The island’s political and social environment calls for urgent action. There is a need for systemic advocacy capable of defending freedom of information and enabling sustained accountability through civic mobilization. Carlos was born and raised in Puerto Rico and has always been involved in social justice initiatives that seek to create a more equitable society. Carlos owes his sociopolitical consciousness to his family.
During his Fellowship, Carlos will serve as a non-partisan, independent transparency catalyst focused on deploying strategic litigation, legal education brigades, and legislative advocacy to tackle freedom of information structural barriers. Further, Carlos will work with the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo (CPI) to bring together diverse access-to-justice stakeholders into a collaborative, concerted effort to empower individuals seeking to exercise their rights and denounce public corruption.
My homeland, Puerto Rico, has been facing multidimensional crises. I have a sense of duty to fight for a vibrant participatory democracy that promotes transparency and holds our government accountable.
Carlos F. Ramos-Hernandez /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow
Host: Youth Represent
Host: Equal Justice Center
Host: Florida Institutional Legal Services, Inc.
Sponsor: Advocacy Center for Persons With Disabilities, Inc., The Florida Bar Foundation
Host: The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law