Prescott College Welcomes Patrisse Cullors

August 08, 2018 - By Prescott College

Black Lives Matter Leader Joins Faculty at Prescott College

Patrisse Cullors

Prescott College is excited to welcome Patrisse Cullors to the faculty of the Social Justice and Community Organizing program! Patrisse is an acclaimed artist, organizer, educator and public speaker, and a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network.

Patrisse became involved with social justice issues at an early age, attending a social justice program at Cleveland High School in the San Fernando Valley. “The 4 years really focused on international issues, and then local issues, and then sort of a broader philosophy and learning around anti-racist curriculum,” she said. “I got introduced to (authors) Bell Hooks and Audre Lorde at that school, and that just shaped me so much. It gave me language to what I was experiencing as a young person in my community and my neighborhood and my family.”

After ten years with the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), Patrisse started her first organization, Dignity and Power Now, “a grassroots human rights organization that does base building work in Los Angeles county, stopping shared violence and organizing formerly incarcerated people, their families and community.”

Patrisse taught for two semesters at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. “It was important, it was interesting, it was like, okay, I’m teaching a bunch of artists about organizing.” An experience with a Prescott College educator, Dr. Zoe Hammer, exposed her to the programs in Social Justice and Community Organizing that the College is building curriculum upon. “I think the program that you all are running, and the type of work I see you doing in particular, and the caliber of instructors you have, it shows that you’re really interested in organizing, and you’re interested in the field in a way that is authentic in the field, and allows people to get a masters degree, which I think is incredible, especially for women and people of color.”

Along with putting her own mark on a course already in the Prescott College curriculum, Patrisse is expanding student options with a course of her own design “I’ve introduced my own course around social practice and art, and the impact art and cultural work has on organizing, how integral it is. Because I just think that both those worlds exist in me and often their completely separated and not really talked about. Artists don’t know that there’s a whole social practice build for them to explore, and organizers definitely don’t know that there’s a social practice field.”

Diverse: Issues In Higher Education has also acknowledged Patrisse’s achievements and her new role as adjunct faculty for Prescott College. You can read the article here: http://diverseeducation.com/article/122079/

In January 2016 Patrisse Cullors published her memoir, "When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir." She has been honored with various awards including: The Sydney Peace Prize Award (2017). Black Woman of the Year Award (2015) from The National Congress of Black Women, Civil Rights Leader for the 21st Century Award (2015) from the Los Angeles Times, Community Change Agent Award (2016) from BLACK GIRLSROCK!, Inc., Women of the Year Award for the Justice Seekers Award (2016) from Glamour, and ESSENCE first-ever Woke Award.