Photo of Oliver Telusma

Oliver Telusma

  • Hosted by Community Justice Project
  • Sponsored by The Florida Bar Foundation
  • Service location Miami, Florida
  • Law school Florida A&M University College of Law
  • Issue area Community Economic Development/Microfinance and Related Transactional Legal Projects, Housing - Affordable Housing/Microfinance
  • Fellowship class year 2021
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Oliver (he/him/his) will prevent COVID-19-fueled evictions of small businesses and residential renters at high risk of displacement in South Florida through direct legal representation, policy advocacy, and movement lawyering.

The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged both individuals and businesses in Florida.  Close to one million individuals in Florida are at risk of homelessness due to not having the funds to pay rent. Many businesses are also struggling under the weight of the pandemic.  The crisis lands with a thud on South Florida communities that have long been under-invested in. Robust legal services, encompassing both direct legal services and policy advocacy to address root causes, as well as community organizing, can start to make a difference.

Oliver sees this work as the continuation of a multi-generational struggle to protect the most marginalized in South Florida.

Fellowship Plans

During the Fellowship, Oliver will work to ensure that vulnerable renters, small businesses, and the community organizations that support them in Little Haiti, Allapattah, Little Havana, and Liberty City have the legal representation and partnerships in place to survive during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Oliver will seek to utilize all resources the law provides to ensure that Black and Latinx businesses in these areas have the chance to continue to meaningfully support their communities. He will focus on identifying and preparing legal action against slumlords and landlords who have filed—and will file—to evict their tenants and educate decision-makers on systemic, community-driven solutions to these issues.  Oliver’s efforts will be in conjunction with a community-led coalition of partners and organizations to create a sustainable movement lawyering model that works for South Florida post-COVID-19.

Media

FAMU Law 2021 Graduate Oliver Telusma Receives Equal Justice Works Fellowship to Help People Avoid Eviction

FAMU College of Law grad receives Equal Justice Works Fellowship

This wasn’t just a chance to work for the Community Justice Project, but to fight for equity and justice for marginalized people in the very community that my story started.

Oliver Telusma /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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Joshua Murnen

Host: Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. / Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc.

Sponsor: Ohio Access to Justice Foundation

Oshuteiya Campbell

Host: Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc.

Sponsor: The Florida Bar Foundation

Darrius Woods

Host: Atlanta Legal Aid Society

Sponsor: Eversheds Sutherland, The Home Depot

Nicholas Leonard

Host: Great Lakes Environmental Law Center

Sponsor: Deere & Co., Lane & Waterman LLP, Schiff Hardin LLP