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Cornell William Brooks

Hauser Professor of the Practice of Nonprofit Organizations; Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership and Social Justice

Amidst the end of the world as we've known it, envisioning the world we want to be.

Angela Davis, the activist, philosopher, and academic, reminds us that, “sometimes we have to do the work even though we don't yet see a glimmer on the horizon that it's actually going to be possible.” The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated longstanding inequities and injustices, called into question even more the perils of racial capitalism, and elevated the importance of advocacy in an age of unprecedented activism. In this class, we begin with, as a point of departure, the pandemic and the intersecting crises it exposed, among these being environmental and climate injustice, policing and public safety, the dire need to prison reform, the fragility and inaccessibility of the right to vote, the need for equitable economic development, and the long call for reparations for racial injustice in the United States. We'll use advocacy principles to address these issues, including the particular strategies of the arc of advocacy.

Working with the William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice, municipal governments, as well as national/state advocacy organizations, a select cohort of students will work to address current injustices in real time—with a focus on what is demonstrably effective. Students will develop visions, strategies and campaigns as well as legislative, policy, best practice, organizing, communication, and moral framing strategies to address injustices related to policing, voting, the environment, economic development, infrastructure, prison abolition, and reparations. Students will employ advocacy principles such as moral ambition, perfect/imperfect victims, concentric/consecutive coalitions, and scholarship as an organizing tool.

Students should be willing to work often outside of class and to remain patient, flexible, and persistent as the course proceeds throughout the semester. This is a limited enrollment course that requires students to competitively apply. Students should demonstrate a deep passion for social justice.

Application link and deadline to be posted.


Also offered by the Divinity School as HDS 3093.