Site Work Details
Students in the Justice, Advocacy, and Movement Building Cohort will work four hours each week with organizations and ministries in their local communities that support social and economic development, social justice, and community flourishing through organizing and advocacy initiatives.
This work may focus on any of a wide range of social justice issues, including economic justice and labor issues, racial justice concerns, health access, educational equity, environmental and climate justice, or other issues of significance to local or regional well-being.
The work in which students are engaged may take a variety of forms, including initiatives that address immediate material needs, programs or events that supportindividuals and communities (such as after-school programs or cultural celebrations), community organizing efforts, or other initiatives in solidarity with communities that expand political and economic access through political or social advocacy.
Students may pursue this work within a variety of organizations, including non-profit or civic organizations, faith-based organizations or ministries, policy and advocacy groups, or social movements focused on social and economic justice, among others.
Dr. Robert M. Franklin will serve as the academic advisor for students in the Justice, Advocacy, and Movement Building Cohort.
Teaching and Site Supervisor
Rev. Allyn Maxfield-Steele has been Co-Executive Director of the Highlander Research and Education Center since 2017. Raised in Texas, Germany, and North Carolina, he was born into a family of educators, farmers, secretaries, salesmen, veterans, hotel night-shift managers, social workers, and small-town Protestant church folk of the southern Piedmont and southern Atlantic coast. Between 2002-2004, he had the opportunity to live with and learn alongside organizers and leaders from the people’s movements of Northeast Thailand. That experience transformed Allyn’s understanding of the power and purpose of education.
Since then, his movement work has focused on connecting people and grassroots communities to one another through high school and college education, faith and spiritual leadership, and organizing on a range of frontlines throughout the US South and Appalachia. He is committed to figuring out how people and organizations transform together and in particular how rural people can work together to teach everyone else how to build powerful movements.
Allyn received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Wofford College and a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School. He is ordained clergy with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Allyn lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina with his spouse, Erin, and their two children, Ursa and Ellis.
Over the course of the year, students in this cohort will engage in contextual, theological, and personal reflection on their social justice, advocacy, and movement building work. They will gain a deeper understanding of historical and theological foundations for justice, advocacy and movement building, local and global dynamics that impact social movements, skills and practices for faith-rooted organizing, and the role faith communities play in responding to the social and political challenges of our time.
- Participation in this cohort also includes a fall semester reflection group and a spring semester integrative seminar.