The Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) is a non-profit, public interest law firm and justice center with a mission to advance structural shifts toward climate justice and ecological equity in communities of color on the frontline of climate change. GCCLP envisions social, economic and political systems throughout the Gulf South that promote equity and justice for all people.
The Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy began as a program of Moving Forward Gulf Coast, Inc. in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita more than a decade ago. In the midst of tragedy and trauma, residents across five states had to navigate legal and political processes that had a long-term impact on their ability to recover from disaster and their human right to return home. In 2011, GCCLP added class action legal representation to its work due to the BP Oil Drilling Disaster and in its first year recovered more than $1million in claims once denied to the region’s poorest claimants.
Growing a Movement
Providing disaster legal services was the first step in partnering with communities on the frontline of the global climate crisis. The second step was networking with other leaders to develop leadership, facilitation, and dispute resolution skills needed to navigate gatherings across three states of communities impacted by climate change and suffering from compounded trauma. GCCLP aggregated and integrated four core approaches to its approach in impacted communities and its work, namely: Undoing Racism (People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond); Dismantling Structural Racism (Center for Social Inclusion); Bottom-up Organizing to Build A Movement (Project South) and Ecological Equity Training (Movement Generation).
On the ground, work and collectivized community experiences in recovery from the 2005 hurricanes and the 2010 BP Oil Drilling Disaster clarified the ecological and human rights impact from our extractive economy, and the unique reality this impact has in the Gulf South. In the various disasters since 2005, GCCLP’s services expanded from providing climate disaster legal services to include political education, movement support training, and facilitation that advances a people-centered human rights approach to building a climate justice movement led by leaders who understand and value the unique history of the Gulf South.
Organizing the Gulf South
Since 2014, GCCLP has served thousands of residents throughout Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida through its disaster legal services, community programming, and human rights-based trainings. GCCLP has become a national leader in equitable climate disaster recovery through its disaster law services and its bottom-up organizing work with grassroots groups.
Gulf South Rising
In 2015, GCCLP shepherded the 2015 Gulf South Rising (GSR) Initiative with a vision of seeding a unified regional movement toward equity and climate justice through coordinated actions and collaborative events led by frontline communities in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The regional movement of coordinated various actions and events that highlighted the impact of the global climate crisis on the Gulf South region and demanded a just transition away from extractive industries, discriminatory policies, and unjust practices that hinder equitable recovery from disaster and impede the development of sustainable communities. This year-long initiative
built regional movement infrastructure;
connected and convened frontline communities around collective healing and ecological equity;
advanced regional efforts of indigenous tribal and land sovereignty; and,
shifted the regional narrative from resilience to resistance.
Gulf South for a Green New Deal
In 2019, GCCLP launched Gulf South for a Green New Deal (GSGND) in partnership with over 100 organizations across the Gulf South. GSGND is a formation of both policy development and organizing towards creating a Green New Deal that is inclusive of the Gulf South (TX, LA, MS, AL, FL) and advances long-existing work in our region towards climate, racial, and economic justice. Gulf South for a Green New Deal aims to:
Connect the Dots between the climate crisis, the coastal crisis, the economic crisis, and the political crisis in the region.
RE-Imagine Our Collective Future for the Gulf South region through tailored policy and action platforms.
Build Power from the ground up across the lines of race, class, gender, and generation.