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Columbia University’s Center for Justice announces the June Jordan Fellowship

Public Humanities, Justice-in-Education

March 7, 2017


Contacts: Dr. Joshua B. Bennett, [email protected]; Nicole Delgadillo, [email protected]

Columbia University’s Center for Justice announces the June Jordan Fellowship, funded by the William R. Kenan Charitable Trust

New York, NY (March 1st, 2017) – The Center for Justice at Columbia University announces the June Jordan Fellowship, named in honor of the renowned Harlem-born poet and activist. In each of the next two years, fellowships will be awarded to literary, visual, musical and performance artists who are committed to public engagement. “This fellowship was a dream of the Center for Justice from the very beginning of our work in harnessing the resources of Columbia University to reduce mass incarceration and promote alternative approaches to safety and justice,” said Geraldine Downey, Director of the Center for Justice. “We hope that bringing the various parts of our community together in an artistic endeavor will yield concrete proposals and actionable results on how the literary and performing arts can act as a catalyst for social change.”

June Jordan Fellows will work collaboratively with Columbia faculty and community partners to provide workshops that will be open to local community members – including junior and senior high school students – as well as members of Columbia’s student body. One or more of the fellows each year will contribute to Columbia University’s Rikers Education Program—a collaboration between the Center for Justice, and the Heyman Center for the Humanities, which partners Columbia faculty and students with community organizations and artists in order to provide workshops in areas such as music, graphic design and coding. The fellowship will also sponsor summer internships for high school students selected to participate in the JustArts summer program for young people from Harlem and Washington Heights. “Part of what we hope to foster with the June Jordan fellowship is an ongoing conversation, as well as consistent collaborative practice, between emerging artists and a broader community of folks living uptown,” said Dr. Joshua Bennett, director of The June Jordan Fellowship. “Our goal is to create workshop spaces that are not only sites of individual artistic growth and rigorous study, but also gathering, kinship, and play.”

The June Jordan Fellowship will bring 3-5 fellows to campus every year, each of whom will teach semester-length workshops. The artwork produced in these workshops will be featured during a day-long conference at the end of the spring semester. Each Fellowship carries a stipend of $26,000.

About the Center for Justice at Columbia University

The Center for Justice at Columbia University is committed to reducing the nation’s reliance on incarceration and advancing alternative approaches to safety and justice through education, research and policy. Our mission is to help transform a criminal justice system from one that is driven by punishment and retribution to one that is centered on prevention and healing. Our initiatives are interdisciplinary and built around community collaboration. We work in partnership with schools, departments, centers and institutes across Columbia, other universities, government agencies, community organizations, advocates and those directly affected by the criminal justice system. For more information about the Center for Justice, please visit