November 10, 2022
Law & Leadership students prepare to make an impact at Social Justice Bootcamp
Inaugural event champions achievable, meaningful change
Many students have the will, passion, and dedication to make a difference in their community and society. But it can be challenging to harness that energy to truly make an impact. Where do you start? What are the relevant careers and how do you prepare for them?
Students from Frederick Douglass High School’s Law & Leadership Career and Technical Education (CTE) program found the answers in May when they participated in the inaugural Social Justice Bootcamp at the University of Maryland’s Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Center for Education, Justice & Ethics. The day-long event enlightened students about opportunities to amplify their voices for systems change through social justice advocacy.
Each of the students at the bootcamp picked a focus area — gun violence, voting rights, health disparities, climate change, or racial injustice — and joined intensive workshops led by professors and graduate students to understand the historical context of the issues as well as opposing views. Then the students developed action plans with a focus on achievable, local goals that would lead to meaningful change in their communities.
“There is a lot of research on the impact and utility of social justice education and how that can be a source of encouragement and motivation for students,” said Dr. Kameron Van Patterson, Director of Programs for The Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Center. “When you ask students what they see in their own neighborhood and challenge them to find solutions rather than just talk about problems, that can be the spark for them. Not only can they be a problem solver, but they can go to college and major in a field that will train them in those skills.”
The Douglass students also enjoyed a tour of campus to get a feel for the experience of college life and the expectations that come with higher education.
“It was important that in addition to experiencing a college environment, our students got to choose their focus area as part of the bootcamp,” said Albert Phillips, City Schools Work-Based Learning Specialist. “These students have already taken the initiative to follow the Law and Leadership CTE pathway, and it’s our role to challenge them with new experiences and provide as many opportunities as possible to bolster their college and career readiness.”
Visit the University of Maryland’s Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Center for Education, Justice & Ethics website at https://judgeawcenter.umd.edu/