Organizing Praxis Lab: Tools for Community Activists

Tuesday, Sep 19, 2017
by Eliza Blades, Program Coordinator

    Back in March 2017, graduate students Nyle Fort, Daniel May and Jessica Sarriot led a teach-in with Professor of Religion Jeffrey Stout and Professor Emeritus Cornel West on community organizing as part of the March 6 Day of Action at Princeton University. Inspired by the energy and response at their teach-in, the students wondered: How can we help student and community activists engage more effectively and creatively in the work of organizing in the current political moment?

    The answer? The Organizing Praxis Lab. Developed by Fort, May and Sarriot, this new year-long training program, sponsored by the Pace Center for Civic Engagement and the University Center for Human Values, is designed for activists with a passion for social justice. Led by Fort, May and Sarriot, former professional community organizers, the Organizing Praxis Lab will help participants learn and hone the skills of organizing. 

    "We're excited for Princeton community leaders and students to gain tools that will help [them] effectively work for justice, think critically about how organizing can build power, and learn from amazing organizers already engaged in this work nationally," said Sarriot. "We hope the Organizing Praxis Lab will create a [group] of leaders, both from the student and local community, who through training and dialogue with each other - and leading national organizers - can push each other to build stronger teams, better campaigns, and ultimately win more fights for justice."

    A group of 25 undergraduate, graduate, and community partners will be selected to participate in the Organizing Praxis Lab. The lab will consist of a full-day organizing workshop on Friday, October 13 from 9:30 AM-8 PM, as well as monthly training sessions paired with a public speaker series. Undergraduate students, graduate students and community organization leaders may apply online by Saturday, September 30, 2017. Applicants will be chosen for their commitment to the work of social justice, their diversity, and their ability to fully participate in all Organizing Praxis Lab activities.  Applicants will be contacted by October 7, 2017 regarding their selection.

    "The Organizing Praxis Lab's focus on community organizing is a reflection of the Pace Center's commitment to the broad definition of service," said Kimberly de los Santos, the John C. Bogle '51 and Burton G. Malkiel *64 Executive Director at the Pace Center. "We are excited for this collaboration with the University Center for Human Values and are delighted for the opportunity to bring together students, faculty, staff and community partners in this work."

    Questions or concerns can be directed to Pace Center Program Coordinator, Eliza Blades, at eblades@princeton.edu or by phone at 609.258.9746.