Community Bills of Rights 

What's most important to you about the community you live in?  How do we go about bringing our reality from where it is to where we want it to be?

The Hudson Valley Community Rights Coalition. We're working with a growing network of community groups and people to create the Hudson Valley Community Rights Coalition (HVCRC), a coalition which asks people to define a shared vision of rights within their community and works to embed those rights into local law.

The CELDF model. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) developed the community bill of rights approach and over 200 municipalities have passed them, primarily to defend against environmental threats. We believe the community bill of rights tool can also offer a unique way to create a shared social agenda across different issues of concern and build collective community power to achieve change. 

Defining local rights. Just as the “inalienable rights” of citizens are protected by state and federal constitutions, community bills of rights enumerate specific rights of individuals at the local level (such as the right to a sustainable local economy, renewable energy future, or protections against discriminatory policing).

Working collectively. Working with community leaders in the Hudson Valley, we'll use the community bill of rights process to engage city residents in a discussion of community values, develop a local community bill of rights, and drive the rights into local law (including amending city charter's by direct ballot initiative). 

We are living in a time when community groups and citizens must unite to make progress on shared values, yet building a progressive coalition is challenged by of the difficulty of organizing collective action around multi-issue-based agendas. The community bill of rights process is uniquely suited to create a collective agenda at the local level with majority-citizen support, building a wave for a policy agenda that promotes shared interests.

Learn more about starting a community rights campaign in your community:

Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
HVCRC Overview and Roadmap
City of Pittsburgh, Community Bill of Rights Ordinance
A Bill of Rights for Occupied Communities, YES! Magazine
Local pathways to rights progress: LGBT Civil Rights, Local Progress: The National Municipal Policy Network