Social Justice and Social Policy Program

Brenda Meehan Social Justice-In-Action Grant

Application Deadline: October 11, 2023 by 9:00 pm ET

The Social Justice & Social Policy (SJSP) program is pleased to announce a grant opportunity for Brandeis University undergraduate students. These grants are designed to provide support for student-organized events that bring together academic and activist perspectives on important current public policy issues.

The Brenda Meehan Social Justice-in-Action Grants will provide up to $1,000 to support events planned for the 2023-2024 academic year. Applications will be accepted until the application deadline and recipients will be notified soon after.

The selection committee encourages proposals to:

  • incorporate both academic and activist social justice perspectives in meaningful ways
  • involve our campus as part of the event and be free to all members of the Brandeis community
  • include significant participation by Brandeis students, faculty, and/or staff; invited off-campus guests also can participate
  • value collaboration between student organizations, and/or between undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff
  • inform and/or link to ongoing initiatives that enable the proposed event to contribute to an enduring social justice impact on campus or in broader communities.

How to Apply


Please submit the following via email to SJSP Chair Melissa Stimell, by 9:00 pm ET on October 11, 2023:

  1.     your name(s) and contact information, along with the names of any co-sponsoring clubs or organizations
  2.     a one-paragraph summary of the proposed event(s)
  3.     a brief (no more than 100 words) statement providing background on the relevant experience of any proposed speakers/presenters/artists
  4.     an itemized budget estimate; indicate if the event is still viable if partial funding is granted (highly recommended); please also including any funding from other sources
  5.     a statement that clarifies, in 500 words or less, the organization and anticipated impact of the event(s), the full set of anticipated participants, and whether or not off- campus participants have already committed to participate. The selection committee understands that it is sometimes difficult to obtain commitments prior to receiving funding, so it is not required that you be entirely certain about the line-up of participating guests. However, your statement should list at least one alternative option for any off-campus participant who has not yet provided a firm advance commitment.

All applications must be received by 9:00 pm on Wednesday, October 11, 2023. 
Questions?  Email Lauren Jordahl or Melissa Stimell

2023 - 2024 Recipients

Caroline Li, Deborah Hu, Ansel Zhou | Fashion Beauty Society

Inside Ballroom is a series of workshops in January and February 2024. In the first workshop, everyone will learn about ballroom culture and dance together, attendees will design and sew drag outfits in the second workshop, and carry out the ballroom showcase at the end of February. Everyone is encouraged to participate in these activities, especially those who are interested in fashion and queer culture.

Edgar Garcia, Vincent Calia-Bogan, Erica Hwang - DeisHacks | MakerLab
DeisHacks is Brandeis University's not-for-profit hackathon. DeisHacks has partnered with 18 non-profits in and around the local Waltham, working with them to turn pain points (i.e. problems their organization is facing) into actionable prompts for Deishacks. Students at Deishacks will have 48 hours to form a team with a non-profit of their choice that really speaks to them, iterate on their solution, and present to the judges of Deishacks in a 48 hour timeframe of Deishacks. (our website: Deishacks is January 26-28, 2024 on the Brandeis campus.
Femme of Color Alliance (FOCA)

Femme of Color Alliance (FOCA) is hosting a panel of Brandeis professors to speak on their experiences as femmes of color in higher academia. 

Phebean Ogunsanwo

Phebean is creating an event in the spring ‘24 semester to spread awareness about the violence that Black and Native American women experience with a focus on missing, trafficking, and murdered women and other injustices. The event will also provide resources, and hopefully serve as a call to action to all attendees.

Student Sexuality Information Service (SSIS)
SSIS hosted their biggest event of the semester, Sex in The Dark during Fall 2023. Students can anonymously ask all burning sex and sexuality questions to their panel of experts! Sex in the Dark was held on November 9, 2023 from 7-9 pm in the Levin Ballroom. 
Yoni Kahn

Make Your Vote Count is a non-partisan event in January 2024 that is dedicated to teaching young people and marginalized communities about the impact their civic engagement can have on our democracy. A panel of experts on national and state voting rights are coming to answer your questions about the U.S. voting system and their work on increasing voter turnout to strengthen our democracy. Policy professionals who work to make voting fairer and easier and are coming to answer your questions about why voting matters. Come learn about your influence on our democracy! This event is also co-sponsored by ENACT (Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation) and is in collaboration with VoteDeis, Brandeis Democrats, Young Americans for Liberty, and Politics UDRs. 

2023 Recipients

Alaysia Penso

The Ferguson’s Fines Memorial is an immersive theatrical exhibit dedicated to those who have lost their lives to police violence. The experience follows three productions of the original play Ferguson’s Fines, where documented encounters with the police have been used to tell an emotional story of what it is like to be Black in America. The exhibit will include a discussion about Ferguson’s Fines, police violence, as well as other tensions faced with being Black in America.

Brandeis Democrats Club

The Brandeis Democrats aim is to help decrease the voting barriers that at-risk people face, namely those who are system-impacted. The club will do this by visiting a women's halfway house to help register their residents who have recently been released from prison and delivering voting resources to juvenile carceral facilities.

Brandeis Southeast Asia Club (SEAC)

Every March, SEAC holds a cultural show called AYALA with a central theme. AYALA 2023: Bayanihan. “Bayanihan” is the Tagalog word for “community-spirit” that encourages people to work with another for the greater good of the community. The show represented and showcased Southeast Asian love, culture, and pride at Brandeis as eeveryone comes together in celebration and community. 

Camila Cano and Ana Loza Pérez

International Women’s Day has become an important day in Latin America, where millions of women have come together to fight against the persistence of gender violence in the region. Creating a tendedero, a popular form of Latinx feminist art, will raise awareness about this issue through the collaboration and display of this activist piece. The screening of Ruido and the discussion after it helped provide a space and time for individuals who have any type of connection with this significant day.

Jessica Umanoff

Jess is a PARC violence prevention educator and has written an original play about a woman after sexual assault that will be part of the Brandeis Theater Department’s senior studio productions. In the play, Lily Alden is a survivor of sexual assault who struggles to come to terms with her experience and her invasive PTSD. While undergoing a SANE exam at a local hospital, Lily finds support through her SANE nurse, Matthew, along with Rose, a frequent, chronically-ill patient and her extroverted, fiery nurse, Anna. The play is a story of how we heal, despite how difficult it may be. The senior studio productions are also part of the larger Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Arts. 

Jolecia Saunderson

Jolecia created an event that celebrates the CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) with Brandeis students on campus. The Crown Act is a law that prohibits discrimination based on hairstyle choice in spaces such as schools, the workplace, and much more.

Period Activist at 'Deis (PAD)

The PAD Day of Service was a day-long event bringing together menstrual and reproductive justice groups to complete service projects right on the Brandeis campus. The event was completely open and accessible to the entire University community with a variety of service activities and projects. This day helped bring together groups and members of our campus in order to make a positive impact on the lives of local menstruators.

Phebean Ogunsanwo

Phebean is creating an event to educate and bring awareness about the issues of Violence Against Black Women.

Priscilla Appenteng and Allissa Masse

Black women in the US are three times more likely to die from maternal complications than their white counterparts while 60% of those deaths are preventable (CDC, 2022). In celebration of the national Black Maternal Health Week in April, Brandeis Black Maternal Health (BBMH) hosted a panel session and networking opportunity for all Brandeisians followed by a brunch. They also invited public health advocates, educators, and medical professionals to an engaging conversation regarding Maternal/Child Health disparities and future solutions in Black communities.

Ruby Siegel

A forum in which young people from Easterseals "TeachDisabilityHistory" team, older adults who are survivors of state institutions, Brandeis students, and disability rights activists and scholars came together to discuss the importance of disability history, what and who should teach this history, and what survivors of state institutions for people with disabilities would like to see regarding the legacy of those institutions.

2022 Recipients

Brandeis Students Demand Action Club

Students Demand ActionBrandeis Students Demand action is a gun violence prevention club on campus dedicated towards education and advocacy of gun violence prevention issues. They brought Fred Gutenberg, a gun violence activist, and father of one of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in February 2018. The event occurred on March 24th at 7 pm on campus and reached a wide audience.

Brandeis Southeast Asia Club
SEACThe SEAC held a Diaspora Event during the semester looking at "How Queer and Asian identities interact with each other". 
Inaara Gilani

Brandeis Intercultural CenterThe Intercultural Center celebrated the anniversary of its vision for 30 years

Logan Shanks
Logan Shanks“It’s a family affair!”: Exploring Black Dwellings: Black Bookstores was an extension of Shanks' Rich/Collins Fellowship community service project: Reading to Transgress.
Sonali Anderson
State of Blackness eventThe State of Blackness was a celebration of 53 years of Blackness on the Brandeis campus, specifically how its activism and art have shaped what Brandeis University is today.
Sophie Kieffer
50 years of women in RabbinateA panel of women rabbis celebrating women in the rabbinate convened on the Brandeis campus with Reform women rabbis from throughout the greater Boston area to mark the fiftieth anniversary of women in the rabbinate. The panel discussed gender equality in Judaism, equity in the rabbinate, work/life balance, and gender pay disparity.

2020 Recipients

Marek Haar and Shoshi Finkel

Marek and Shoshi are composing a musical theatre production focused on “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. The musical tells the story of this violent 20th century political conflict that took more than 3500 lives, the majority of whom were civilians.

Cassipea Stith

Cassipea is organizing an event for National Transgender Day of Visibility, that would honor the lives of Black Trans Femme, with a collectively crafted art installation, and performance by Myles S. Golden (they/them), a Black gender non-conforming, Trans-femme visual artist and poet.

Stephanie Laporte

Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS) will be holding its first ever conference, “Staying on Track: The Gap between Undergraduate and Graduate Education.” Undergraduate students will be exposed to a network of peers and professionals from research, public health, medicine, and others. 

Maria Aranibar

The Brandeis Latinx Student Organization will host Johanna Toruño, a queer Salvadoran street artist, about art in form of protest. This will also be a collaborative workshop with poster designing, spray painting, and buttons to share across campus. Johanna Toruño will be accompanied by her partner, Amy Quichiz, who does community organizing for Planned Parenthood in Washington D.C., and will be doing her own speech on community activist in relation to art as a form of protest.


Rebecca Orbach

J Street U hosted a screening of the documentary “Naila and the Uprising” by the organization Just Vision. The documentary focuses on the nationwide uprising that took place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories during the First Intifada.

Miranda Sullivan

IfNotNow will be hosting a community dinner and a facilitated discussion on how anti-ICE work and anti-occupation work are intrinsically linked.

Maryam Chishti

Maryam will be directing a play, “To Be a Problem,” which she herself wrote to highlight the lives of Muslim Americans after 9/11. Based on entirely true stories, it will be the first Muslim student theater production to go up at Brandeis.

Deborah Ault

In partnership with the Center for Teaching and Learning, DeBorah seeks to invite speakers to campus who can talk about forging communication between those in practice and those in research (pedagogy).

Jasmine Lee and Stanley Mo

Brandeis Asian American Students Association (BAASA) seeks to provide a resource for students on campus to get involved in initiatives outside of campus through the Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW). Other objectives of the workshop include discussing the political and social factors that the deportation of Southeast Asian (SEA) immigrants is rooted in and the impact that it has on not only them but the rest of the Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. 

2019 Recipients

Prison Abolition and Education Series

Brandeis Labor Coalition (BLC), Women of Color Alliance (WOCA),  Heller’s Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA), Brandeis Asian American Task Force (BAATF), Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) held a series of events surrounding prison abolition and other criminal justice solutions, in order to introduce the Brandeis community to the activism and social justice work that students, faculty, administrators, and community members can become involved in.

A Conversation with Sir Knight: Liberation for Us, Liberation for Us All

Makayla Richards ‘20 & the Brandeis Black and Latinx Queer Collective (BLQ) hosted a Q&A session and moderated community discussion with revolutionary Sir Knight, CoFounder of BlackTransTV, on imagining radical futures that investigate active divestment from white supremacy, patriarchy, and heteronormative cultures and practices.

Waltham's Got Talent

Zachary Williams ‘21 and Brandeis STAND invited local refugee/immigrant artists to campus to speak about their experiences, to challenge the Brandeis community to look beyond the statistics and acknowledge the human impact of the refugee and immigrant crisis.

A Discussion with Liliana Vasquez
Lilliana's Book Cover

Emilia Feldman ‘19, Eliana Kleiman ‘21, Alejandra Bonilla ‘21 brought author Liliana Vasquez to Brandeis to discuss her book Dreams and Nightmares about her journey from Guatemala to the US at the age of 14, and held an open forum to ask questions and engage in a meaningful dialogue surrounding the harsh realities immigrants and asylum seekers face

Civic Engagement Celebration

Renee Korgood '20 hosted a celebration of on- and off-campus activism and the ability of students, to influence policy change. Event will included tabling, workshops,  and a panel of Waltham’s elected representatives. 

Brandeis/BINCA Book Project Exhibition

Gabriel Fontes '19 organized a photo exhibition and artistic celebration of a multicultural, multilingual library built with students at Boston International Newcomer’s Academy (BINCA).

2018 Recipients

Pengfei Liu

Headshot of Pengfei LiuPengfei’s project is entitled, “From Paris Agreement to Beijing Smog: Cross-Cultural Conversation on Climate Justice and Everyday Consumption”. There will be five roundtable discussions around the topics of trash recycling and ethical consumption, including guest speakers and documentary screenings, to further participants’ engagement with environmental justice in everyday practices.

Miriam Berro Krugman & Brandeis Democrats
Brandeis Democrats is hosting two voter registration drives on with the goals of providing access to and fostering active political participation.  At the events, the Brandeis community can register to vote and learn how to become civically active.Brandeis Democrats Logo
Sharon Cai & Food Recovery Network

Food Recovery Network is hosting Andrew Fisher, author of “Big Hunger: The Unholy Alliance Between Corporate America and Anti-Hunger Groups”. In Big Hunger, Fisher takes a critical look at the business of hunger and offers a new vision for the anti-hunger movement.

Food Recovery Network Logo

Brandeis Asian American Task Force & Brandeis Asian American Students Association

BAATF and BAASA are hosting internationally renowned Samoan-American spoken word poet, educator, and artist Will Nu’utupu Giles for a performance and workshop event on indigenous and immigrant narratives. This is a part of his spring 2018 poetry tour, “Until Name Becomes Prayer”.BAATF Logo

Gilberto Rosa

With the help of the Caribbean Cultural Club and African and Afro-American Studies, Gilberto is hosting a screening of Si bondye vle, Yuli and talk-back with Haitian-Dominican actor and filmmaker Jean Jean.In the midst of government regulation, imminent deportation and personal upheaval, questions arise: What really makes us belong to a place? How are the links between the land and its people made?

Gilberto Rosa

2017 Recipients

Amanda Anderson

Amanda AndersonAmanda's project, "Sanaa Studio", will showcase the artwork of up and coming Black artists at Brandeis. The project hopes to engage the entire Brandeis community and provide space for grievance and healing through art.

Marcelo Brociner & Bruna Ferranti

Two photos: one of Marcelo Brociner and one of Bruna FerrantiMarcelo and Bruna want to bring the White Ribbon Project to Brandeis and engage men on campus in conversations about harmful ideas of manhood that lead to violence against women. This project will engage campus clubs such as B.Men, Men of Color Alliance, Voicemale, club soccer team and more.

Justice Jam & ED 170a

Photo of a male student wearing glassesJustice Jam is a two-part event series in which students from "ED 170a: Critical Perspectives in Urban Education" will share the importance of protecting public education with the larger Brandeis and Waltham community.

Jonathan Goldman & Victoria St. Jean

Two photos: one of the profile of Jonathan Goldman and one of Victoria St. JeanJonathan and Victoria's project, "Brandeis Citizenship Day," is an event connecting the Brandeis community with the vast number of immigration resources provided by Brandeis clubs and organizations in the greater Boston area. The event will feature a panel with the ACLU,Project Citizenship, ISSO, and the Newcomer Academy.

Shikha Chandarana & Sara Kramer

Two photos: one of Shikha Chandarana and one of Sara KramerShikha and Sara's project is a 3-hour long lecture series focusing on healthcare issues in light of the new presidential administration. The talks will encompass technology, advocacy and social justice, and health and social policy. It will feature speakers from Brandeis and Heller School of Social Policy.