Working Together, Collaborating for Social Change

September 27, 2017

When building our Communications Institute and Creative Change networks, we are intentional about finding social justice leaders who work in cities and towns across the country and bringing them together. The issues they advocate for are intersectional in nature: criminal justice and economic opportunity, immigration and poverty, racial justice through culture change. Months and years later, we often find them collaborating with each other, building alliances that help move hearts, minds and policy. In this month’s Partner Stories, we see a few examples of how powerful these collaborations can be.

Communications Institute Fellows Soffiyah Elijah (CI ’16), Tiffany McFadden (CI ’17) and their organization, the Alliance of Families for Justice, just wrapped up the March for Justice, which calls for reform in the use of solitary confinement, reform of the prison-parole system, and for more support for family visitation to people in prison. An op-ed on the 19-day march from New York City to Albany was published in the Albany Times Union, and Tiffany told her story and how it led her to March for Justice in USA Today.

Soffiyah Elijah at the Alliance of Families for Justice rally in Peekskill, NY

Our partner David G. Johnson and Creative Change alum (CC ‘13) Adam Paul Smith’s recently produced documentary, “Company Town,” which tells the story of Crossett, Ark. residents who take on a Georgia-Pacific papermill for its local pollution, has garnered some notable press, including The Guardian. The film premiered at Cinema Village in New York City earlier this month. David is Executive Producer of the film and Adam is Producer. They hope that the documentary will spur legislative action to relocate residents of Crossett impacted by the pollution.

Creative Change alumna and Communications Institute fellow Charon Hibrar (CC ’16, CI ’17) has been crisscrossing the country for a 15-state Moral Revival mass meeting and public event tour to address the impacts of systemic racism, poverty, militarism, and ecological devastation across the United States. The events are being co-led by Repairers of the Breach, the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and local Social Justice, grassroots organizations, local faith leaders, the poor, and other people of conscience. Join a meeting near you or watch via livestream.

Cultural influencer and Creative Change alumna (CC ’17) April Reign has received a wave of media attention, including a feature story on the front page of The Washington Post’s Style section. The social media maven, known for her 2015 #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, will be speaking at The Memo’s After 6 networking event and at the Future of Film and Media Conference in October. Learn more about April and her speaking engagements on her website.

Takema Robinson, an alum of Creative Change’s first retreat in 2009, recently launched Converge, a Southern-based consulting firm with the mission to “accelerate the creation of a radically just new world where communities of color thrive.” The Association for Black Foundation Executives uplifted Takema’s leadership in the September issue of its monthly magazine.