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Stephanie Champion

  • Hosted by Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas
  • Sponsored by Texas Access to Justice Foundation
  • Service location Dallas, Texas
  • Law school University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
  • Issue area Community Economic Development/Microfinance and Related Transactional Legal Projects
  • Fellowship class year 2017
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

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

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project

West Dallas is a low-income majority minority community with a long history of racism, poverty and neglect. Recently, West Dallas has seen rapid growth in development due to the 2012 opening of the $93 million Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge which connects West Dallas to downtown. These new developments pose a serious threat to existing residents who have already begun to bear the brunt of the negative externalities that inevitably accompany development. With countless new projects in the works, 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 and ensure that new area development is responsible, equitable and accountable to them.

Highlights to Date

In the first year, Stephanie has:

  • Conducted extensive outreach and established strong relationships with West Dallas residents and community groups
  • Represented a coalition of neighborhood groups to successfully oppose the expansion of an industrial facility adjacent to lowincome single family residences
  • Filed a federal housing and consumer rights lawsuit to challenge discriminatory and predatory mortgage lending practices in West Dallas

What’s Next

In the next year, Stephanie plans to:

  • Continue conducting outreach and community education workshops on issues related to fair housing, community development and environmental justice
  • Identify opportunities to engage in Community Benefits Agreements with housing developers and industrial facilities seeking zoning changes in West Dallas and represent community groups and coalitions in negotiating and drafting those agreements
  • Continue investigating relevant violations of local, state and federal law that have systemic impacts on low-income communities and continue engaging in litigation as necessary to fulfill project goals

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Gregory Kimble

Host: Pro Bono Partnership

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Kelsey Ripper

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Sponsor: Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP