Leadership and Social Justice is a course designed to provide engaged students with the tools and theory needed to become successful change makers, activists, and community organizers. This course explores how grassroots movements can transform communities, cultural norms, and global systems. How are campaigns developed, initiated, and orchestrated? What factors determine a campaign's success or failure? How can one person turn a vision for change into reality?
Students will engage in various hands-on workshops to strengthen their skills in choosing effective tactics, facilitating groups, active listening, public speaking, publicizing a campaign, and catering to an audience. Through case studies on various movements such as pro-democracy, gender equity, labor rights and identity movements (LGBTQ, race, and immigration), students will learn strategies for building and initiating a local campaign. They will also develop a mock campaign addressing a current pressing issue in their own community that will be critiqued by their peers to help them further hone their skills.
This course will engage students in exploring issues of privilege and oppression and will highlight the importance of an intersectional approach as we strive to effectively develop social justice campaigns to counteract unjust systems and practices. By enhancing our own awareness of privilege based on race, class, gender, sexual orientation, national identity and ability, we will be better equipped to create integrated campaigns that empower the populations we seek to support.
Students will broaden their idea of what is possible through inspirational readings, films, guest speakers, and activities. Participants will leave this course with an "insider" understanding of the evolution and anatomy of a justice campaign and develop an Action Plan to guide their work in their home communities. Students already engaged in community organizing, students who are or hope to become activists, and students invested in social change are encouraged to join us.
This course is part of the Leadership Institute, a two-week academic program that helps students cultivate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes associated with effective and socially responsible leadership. This unique program consists of three integrated elements: academic content, leadership development, and the Action Plan. Our students are thoughtful and compassionate youth who are interested in social issues and creating positive change. Participants can look forward to full days in a community of engaged and curious learners.
Prerequisites: None required.
Caitlin Bradford Murphy is a social studies teacher at Hudson High School in Hudson, MA where she has taught for the past eighteen years. In teaching courses such as Ethics, Contemporary Legal Issues and Conflict Resolution, she uses a hands-on approach that allows her students to analyze present day issues and apply concepts to the real world. Caitlin’s goal in her teachings is to inspire young people to identify injustices in their communities and the world and to actively engage in social change work to effectively address those injustices. Prior to her career in teaching, Caitlin spent six years as a community organizer and advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She holds a M.Ed. from Cambridge College and a B.A. in Sociology and Gender Studies from the University of New Hampshire. Caitlin was a teaching fellow with the Choices Education Program at the Watson International Institute at Brown and was the recipient of the 2016 Massachusetts Council for Social Studies William Spratt Award for Excellence in Teaching High School Social Studies. Caitlin grew up in rural New Hampshire and continues to feel most at home in the woods. Her free time is spent enjoying her two sons.