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Housing as a Human Right: The Collective Power of Community Organizing Plática

Saturday, January 20 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

| Free

As part of DreamWeek 2024, the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center will present a plática titled “Housing as a Human Right: The Collective Power of Human Organizing” from noon till 3 PM. A Q&A session will be part of the event and reception to follow.

San Antonio’s housing crisis puts the working class and poor people in a desperate position – with housing prices skyrocketing while wages and social security stagnate. Demolitions of casitas have ravaged communities, and thousands are left houseless or living in crowded and inadequate housing.

But our community is fighting back — advocating for organizations, policies, and funding that are helping to create and maintain fair housing for all! Community led grassroots organizing is the key to reclaiming our land and safeguarding our culture in areas of historical low income people of color. 

Come learn about some of the developing strategies with Westside housing advocates and community members, including: San Antonio’s first Community Land Trust; housing as a human right; and housing as a health issue. 

Find out the differences in housing options that are vastly misunderstood and learn about your rights as renters in San Antonio.

Presenters: Graciela Sanchez and Kayla Miranda (Esperanza Peace and Justice Center)

Moderator: Rachell Tucker (Oppressed Revolutionaries for Worker Power) 

Panelists: Leticia Sánchez (Historic Westside Residents Association)

                     Ana Polanco (Coalition For Dignified Housing)

                     René A. González (Esperanza Community Land Trust)

                     Dominique  Renteria (Pueblo Over Profit)

                     Teri Castillo (District 5 Councilperson)

Interpretation to Spanish is available.


Rachell M. Tucker is of Cuban ethnicity, born and raised in Miami, FL. She joined the army at 17. After 8 years, she became an anti-war, anti-imperialist US Army vet. Studied at UTSA for her bachelor’s in Anthropology and minor in Latin American Studies in 2014 and Masters in Bilingual Bicultural studies in 2016. She currently works as constituent services director. Rachell first got involved with housing activism with the displacement of Mission Trails Mobile Home Park 2015, helped lead marches and caravans to Cancel the Rents during 2020 and supported the fight to save the Alazan Apache Courts from demolition.

Dominique Renteria is a 23 year old non-binary queer organizer raised in San Antonio. They began their organizing through the labor struggle with the Starbucks union in 2022 and spent the year organizing with the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Now they organize against gentrification and for housing as a human right through the Pueblo Over Profit Coalition and are a part of the Oppressed Revolutionaries for Worker Power.

Leticia Sánchez was born and raised in the Historic (El Mero) Westside of San Antonio.  She graduated from Lanier High School.  She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree from UTSA.  Ms. Sánchez is currently the Co-Chairperson for the Historic Westside Residents Association which represents residents in the near westside of San Antonio.  Her work with the Historic Westside neighborhood has focused on keeping residents housed.  She has assisted residents with code compliance issues as well as residents going through the eviction process and accompanying residents going before eviction court.  Other neighborhood work includes keeping residents informed of City, County and NGO resources and assisting them with the application process, speaking on behalf of neighborhood structures going before the City’s Building Standards Board to protect them from demolition and working to ensure that zoning requests made by applicants adhere to the neighborhood’s community plan.  

René A. González is a life-long advocate for the Hispanic/Latino community and the Mexican American community. His work for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), included serving on several national task forces, and managing collaborative projects funded by various federal agencies, corporations, and foundations in collaboration with Hispanic-Serving colleges and universities (HSIs) and other national higher education groups. Before joining HACU, Mr. Gonzalez was the founding director of the Albert M. Greenfield Intercultural Center at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Ana Polanco de Martínez, is originally from El Salvador. She worked for 21 years as a lawyer in the Office for the Defense of Human Rights of that country, in the care, promotion and protection of Human Rights, during that time she participated in training and conferences with national and international human rights organizations such as the United Nations and the International Federation of Ombudsman to approach cases of human rights violations; also, for three years she worked as a university teacher in Constitutional Law and Human Rights in her country. In mid-2019, for security reasons she migrated with her family as an asylum seeker, to the United States of America. In 2023 she was called to join the Coalition “Health Justice for the Right to Dignified Housing, formed by the organizations Domésticas Unidas, Historic West Side and Centro de Esperanza, Paz y Justicia.  This time within the Coalition has allowed her to develop in the West Side Community, the capacity for leadership, struggle, defense, and vindication of what the right to decent housing means, beyond physical space, access to tenure and private property. 

Councilwoman Teri Castillo is a community organizer and a historian of Urban Policy elected to represent San Antonio’s District 5. Castillo is the proud daughter of a United States Navy Veteran and migrant farm worker. As a life long and generational resident of District 5, Castillo has committed to ensure our public money works for the people of San Antonio.

Since taking office, Castillo has brought historic investment to the people of District 5 nearly doubling the amount of bond investment at $95.6 million dollars and continues to pursue investment in basic infrastructure. Castillo has prioritized preserving and building affordable housing, while moving with urgency to meet our city’s climate goals.

Councilwoman Teri Castillo was recently elected to her second term where she currently serves as the Chair of the Community Health Committee, the Chair of the Westside Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ), and serves as a member of the Planning & Community Development Committee, the Economic & Workforce Development Committee, the Municipal Courts Committee and the San Antonio Housing Trust.


Saturday, January 20
12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:


Esperanza Peace and Justice Center
922 San Pedro Ave
San Antonio, TX 78212
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