Clinical Training: Human Rights Clinic Students Contribute to National Hunger, Health, and Housing Report

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Ronnie Stevens with program directors

Following up on Miami Law's Human Rights Clinic and Cardozo Law Institute in Holocaust and Human Rights national strategy meeting on Realizing the Rights to Food, Health and Housing in the U.S. November, a recently published National Strategy Meeting Report provided a synopsis and key resources from the encounter.

The event brought together advocates and scholars to share strategies and experiences for realizing the rights to housing, health, and food.

“The strategy meeting provided a unique forum for cross-movement discussion amongst advocates working on the rights to food, health and housing in the U.S. to share lessons and experiences and explore collaboration,” Human Rights Clinic Acting Director Tamar Ezer said. “Participants identified opportunities for joint work around exchanging legal tools and models, shifting narratives, and pushing back against the financialization of basic services.”

The two-day strategy meeting focused on strengthening social and economic rights in the U.S. Specifically, the first half of the meeting consisted of short topical panels on the rights to food, health, and housing. Panels were designed for advocates from each of these fields to share strategies, lessons, achievements, and challenges, and set the scene for the second half of the meeting, which focused on cross-cutting issues and opportunities for future collaboration. Finally, the meeting concluded with a panel discussion on the documentary film PUSH, which investigates the increasing unaffordability of housing in cities, featuring Leilani Farha, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing.

Clinic interns gaining real world experience

Three Miami Law students – 2L interns Mary Miller, Jessica Santos and William Talley – worked on the report under the supervision of Ezer and Acting Associate Director of the clinic Denisse Córdova Montes. For the meeting, HRC students also developed factsheets in English and Spanish on the international human rights to food, housing and health.

“I feel privileged to have been part of inspiring discussions seeking to support concrete actions for the recognition that people have the fundamental rights to food, health and housing in the U.S.,” said 2L HRC intern Mary Miller.

Following the strategy meeting and inspired by efforts in Maine to enshrine the right to food in the state constitution, right to food advocates from West Virginia and Washington introduced their own right to food legislative efforts. “The strategy meeting was an important space to further strengthen current state-level legislative work around the right to food,” said Córdova Montes.

“It’s an honor for our clinic to be playing a part in supporting and strengthening such pioneering work around economic and social rights in the U.S.”

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