Cornell Brooks Photo

Cornell Brooks

Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership and Social Justice
Office Address
79 John F. Kennedy St. Taubman Bldg 160

Students will explore the elements of successful and unsuccessful criminal justice campaigns as well as how to build coalitions, create compelling narratives, and create movement momentum with impact.

This is a moment of generationally unprecedented activism, a Twitter Age of social justice, represented by movements for immigration reform, gun reform, immigration rights, LGBQ rights, Black Lives, as well as voting rights and democracy.  In terms of policy, the broad movement for criminal justice reform offers incisive and on occasion inspiring lessons as well as dire warnings about the possibilities for social justice. 

Money and morality, economics and ethics, have served as powerful arguments for criminal justice reform including: elimination of money bail as a turn key for American debtors’ prisons; decreasing police-involved shootings; eliminating solitary confinement for children; deconstruction of a carceral state; breaking the nexus between predatory taxation and predatory policing, and reducing the social as well as financial costs of incarceration. Money and morality not only characterize arguments made for criminal justice reform but also describe the basis for community organizing, building coalitions, launching social justice campaigns, inspiring public support as well as opposition, creating narratives and setting the stage for effective negotiation.

Through Money, Morals and Movements, students will explore: 1) leadership lessons, arguments and strategies used in successful and unsuccessful criminal justice campaigns; 2) building coalitions based on economic interests and moral commitments; 3) creating compelling narratives with empirical research, moral traditions and community stories; 4) stacking litigation, legislation, advocacy and organizing to create movement momentum with impact, and 5) counting the costs without “selling out.”