Shivani Parikh ’24 Selected to Participate in Inaugural Summer Academy on Law, Organizing, and Power Building


Stein Scholar Shivani Parikh ’24 was selected to participate in the first ever Summer Academy on Law, Organizing, and Power Building, hosted by The Action Lab (TAL), the Law and Political Economy (LPE) Project, and the Initiative for Community Power.

This month, Parikh and a small cohort of rising second- and third-year law students from the New York City area will be introduced to critical LPE and organizing frameworks, with a focus on housing justice and decarceration. According to the academy’s website, programming will include: an overview of the law’s role in constituting the political economy of neoliberalism and a critical analysis of the state of grassroots organizing; sessions on gentrification, displacement, and law and policy efforts to support tenant organizing and to decommodify urban property; a discussion of the law’s relationship to organizing and collective mobilization; and sessions on the crisis of mass incarceration and racialized police violence, abolition, and movements for decarceration.

The Summer Academy seemed like a natural fit for Parikh’s legal interests and passion for grassroots South Asian community organizing. After graduating from Cornell University with a degree in development sociology, Parikh worked in the education and outreach department of the Center for Safety and Change, Rockland County’s domestic violence and sexual assault services nonprofit agency. It was there that she learned about police abolition, prison abolition, and transformative justice, which sparked, in part, her interest in decarceration. Parikh has also been following the work of Chhaya Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit based in Southeast Queens that advocates for low-income South Asian and Indo-Caribbean New Yorkers, and is currently learning more about housing justice issues while interning at Communities Resist, a legal services non-profit that represents low-income tenants in New York City and fights to protect them from displacement and gentrification.

“Whether you look at gender-based violence or youth incarceration, for instance, I think lawyers need to be a part of the conversation because, right now, we only see lawyers as one or the other—prosecutors or public defenders,” Parikh said. “How can we, especially those of us in direct service, make sure that our clients are not just recognized for the immediate issue that they have at hand, but also look at how those matters play into their bigger cycle of precarity?”

Parikh expressed that she is not only excited to meet other law students through the program, but to also interact with movement leaders from New York-based organizations Make the Road New York and VOCAL-NY as well as LPE academics who will lead the various sessions.

Said Parikh, “I’m looking forward to learning from professors who have been doing research and work on ideas related to law in the political economy and are trying to shift the culture within the legal profession towards movement lawyering.”

Following the Summer Academy, TAL and the LPE Project will facilitate ongoing relationship-building, learning, and collaborative opportunities for this year’s student participants through a series of follow-up meetings and events.


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