Being the Change: Public Policy, Justice and Advocacy
Being the Change: A New Public Policy, Justice, and Advocacy course at Genesis
After a wave of devastating school shootings pushed teens in Parkland, Florida and beyond to become fearless advocates and help shift the conversation on gun violence in their state, the Brandeis Precollege Programs team began building a new Genesis course that would draw on Judaism’s long tradition of tikkun olam (healing the world) and Talmudic teachings on policy change, engaged debate, and democratized access to power. We worked with ethics, policy, and advocacy experts on campus as well as leaders and educators at Jewish justice organizations throughout the country to shape a vision for a two-week intensive course geared toward Jewish teens who are ready to learn the tools of making change in their home communities and beyond.
Genesis teens are uniquely positioned to be leaders on key political and moral issues. They are keenly aware of the social, political, environmental, and economic issues of our times and know the power of an organized movement to raise up marginalized voices and affect change in our communities. Participants in Genesis’ Public Policy, Justice, and Advocacy course are searching for hope and ready to organize, advocate, and use their own power effectively to build a more whole, more just world.
Being the Change is a two-week intensive (starting July 2-15, 2019) focused on:
- Learning and leveraging tools of effective advocacy work, especially as they apply to various U.S. movements for social, environmental, and economic justice.
- Designing and organizing a successful campaign, including current and historic case studies about youth-led movements for social change.
- Engaging strategies for making change as not-yet voters, including how to write a strong opinion piece, contacting and speaking with legislative staff, organizing locally, and understanding legislative process.
- Grounding our work and civic engagement in Jewish wisdom by creating a social justice beit midrash on campus and at the State House. We will be learning sources that address political and legislative change, engaging across differences of opinion, and democratizing access to decision-making power. Jewish values fuel our work for a more just world.
- Presenting our learning with the broader Genesis and campus community through a final “Stand and Deliver” legislative siyyum (closing presentation for our work) and supporting each other to bring the learning home by staying in touch with this community of peer change-makers during the year.