Who am I and how do my identities shape my life experiences, my worldview, my relationships with others, and the types of opportunities and challenges I face? To work effectively as a leader towards social justice, we must reflect on our multiple and interacting social identities based on race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, class, religion, age, nationality, and (dis)ability. We must also recognize that these social identities do not operate in isolation from each other, nor do we live as individuals removed from social group memberships. Thus, we must also reflect on the social groups we belong to and how they position us within the social, historical, and political landscape in relation to systems of inequality. Awareness of our social identities and the advantages and disadvantages within these different social groups will influence our perspectives on, and awareness of, social justice issues and dynamics.
Through engaging readings, provocative films and interactive activities, this course will provide students with the unique opportunity to closely examine their own social identities (i.e. race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, class, religion, sexual orientation) and systems of oppression and empowerment. Additionally, we will explore the concepts of power and privilege in the context of leadership, and examine how our social identities bring both unearned privilege and unearned disadvantage. As students develop a more sophisticated understanding of their own identities they will have greater insight into how to work effectively with those from different backgrounds and how to address conflict within diverse groups, across multicultural and international settings. The required Action Plan will provide students with an opportunity to apply their new knowledge and leadership skills to a meaningful project in their home community or school. Students who are self-reflective, willing to step outside of their "comfort zone", and eager to share and listen to others' experiences are especially encouraged to apply. This course is ideal for any student committed to working effectively in diverse settings. The knowledge and skills gained from this course are applicable to all careers.
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.
Dr. Lynn Hernandez earned her Masters degree in counseling psychology and her Doctoral degree in developmental psychology from Florida International University in Miami, FL. She came to Brown University in 2007 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies in 2009. Currently, she is the Director of University Inclusion Programs in the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity and an Assistant Professor (Research) in Behavioral and Social Sciences in the School of Public Health. Within these two roles, Dr. Hernandez has been deeply involved in delivering multicultural competence training to health practitioners, developing curriculum specific to social justice leadership, and engaging in student and faculty recruitment and retention efforts. Her research aims to address the various health inequities impacting communities of color, particularly adolescents of color. She conducts her scholarly work within a Community-Based Participatory Research model, where members of the community are seen as the experts and are actively involved in all stages of program development and implementation. As a result, Dr. Hernandez has worked extensively with high schools, community agencies, health clinics, and adolescent health tasks forces across Rhode Island to implement culturally appropriate, behavioral prevention and intervention programs that are easily accessible for youth of color and their families. She is excited to be teaching Identity, Diversity and Leadership for the fourth year and looks forward to meeting her next cohort of social change makers!