About the Series

The CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) Youth Studies program is hosting a three-part lecture series on youth and community organizing in January 2021. Led by instructor Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele, former National Strategies and Partnerships Director at Movement for Black Lives, this series gives attendees the opportunity to explore timely issues around activism while engaging with the organizers, scholars, and activists doing the work in today's ever-changing environment. 

Defund: Reimagining Public Safety

Wednesday, January 6, 2021, 6:00-8:00 pm

The recent uprisings in 2020 have elevated the call for law enforcement agencies across the country to be defunded. This demand has inspired many, confused some, and angered others.

We will explore how this demand is playing out in NYC, Los Angeles, and Baltimore. We will clarify the demand, discuss its role in the broader abolition movement, and explore community-based safety initiatives.

Mark-Anthony Johnson
Board Member
Dignity and Power Now
Tré Murphy
Deputy Director of Community Organizing
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Anthonine Pierre
Deputy Director
Brooklyn Movement Center

Democracy vs. Electoral Politics

Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 6:00-8:00 pm

The 2020 elections have exposed systemic challenges and limitations of US democracy and its electoral process.

This panel will explore principles of true democracy and historic challenges of US electoral structure. We will explore the challenges of the two-party system, lessons from recent elections, and the work of independent parties to disrupt that process. Additionally, we will discuss how popular movements and civil societies impact the electoral process.

Nelini Stamp
National Organizing Director
Working Families Party
L. Joy Williams
Brooklyn NAACP

Racial Capitalism

Wednesday, January 20, 2021, 6:00-8:00 pm

As this year exposed an unprecedented disparity growth between the wealthy and the working class, this discussion between Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele and invited guest, Dr. Charisse Burden-Stelly, will examine the dynamics that allow for and foster extreme wealth and extreme poverty at the same time.

Additionally, we will explore the role institutional racism plays in this dynamic. We will examine what a truly just society can look like outside of capitalism, as well as explore contemporary work rooted in challenging and dismantling racial capitalism.

Charisse Burden-Stelly
Visiting Scholar, Race and Capitalism Project
University of Chicago