ST. LOUIS – In collaboration with Harris-Stowe State University, the ACLU of Missouri has launched a new undergraduate fellowship program centered on social justice reform.
At a time when young people are at the forefront of advocacy and activism, the Harris-Stowe/ACLU Social Justice Fellowship hopes to be a stepping-stone in their pursuit.
Many students’ awareness and experience of the socio-economic injustices in St. Louis are learned through an academic lens, often limited by their classrooms. This Social Justice Fellowship fills that academic void by providing them with a comprehensive and immersive learning experience highlighting civic and community engagement.
“This newly created fellowship, partnered with the academic education of Harris-Stowe State University, will provide our students with experiential learning and space to develop professionally marketable skills,” said Terry Daily-Davis, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Harris-Stowe State University. “Upon completing this fellowship, it is our hope HSSU students will see it as their societal responsibility to stay connected and involved in social justice issues.”
Since 2017, Harris-Stowe State University students majoring in political science, sociology and urban affairs have had internship placements with the ACLU of Missouri.
The university sees this fellowship program as a natural next step in creating more opportunities for its students.
“We intentionally partnered with Harris-Stowe State University because we want to see those groups most impacted and reflected in our work at the ACLU,” said Elaine Sutton, legal support coordinator of the ACLU of Missouri. “This Social Justice Fellowship will provide students from under-represented groups, who are not well-resourced and well-networked, with an opportunity for direct, on-the-ground engagement involving issues they are all too familiar with.”
The fellowship intends to create an open learning space for students to push boundaries, challenge conventions, approach deeply entrenched problems, identify emerging issues and, in turn, provide a foundation for social justice reform in St. Louis.
“At the ACLU of Missouri, we recognize our role in supporting future leaders and encouraging the development of their nonprofit management, grassroots mobilization and policy research skills,” said Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri. “It is especially important to us that we move in new directions to work with young people and learn from them.”