Sam Magavern is senior policy fellow at Partnership for the Public Good, a community-based think tank that he co-founded in 2007 and co-directed until 2019. He teaches at University at Buffalo Law School and Cornell University’s ILR School, where he was the Visiting Activist Scholar in 2019-2020. Mr. Magavern serves as the attorney for the City of Buffalo Living Wage Commission and as a commissioner on the Niagara River Greenway Commission. His publications range from scholarly articles to comic books; they include a non-fiction book, “Primo Levi’s Universe,” and a book of poetry, “Noah’s Ark.” Mr. Magavern received his B.A. from Harvard University and his J.D. from UCLA Law.
In this course, you will examine what equity means and how it manifests within a community. You will identify causes of and solutions to equity issues by looking at systemic forces, power differentials, and implicit biases. You will hear directly from activists working for equitable communities, and you will consider how arts and culture are essential in building community, supporting development, and contributing to economic opportunity. In addition, you will investigate how the stories of a place are told by examining who gets to tell them. You will also look at how these stories advance group interests and consider what impacts the stories have.
Throughout this course, you will gain a basic understanding of major forms of inequity in the United States — economic, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, and religion. You will participate in several relevant discussions with peers, advancing your own and others' knowledge of the issues, and work on a course journal, using multiple ways of learning to examine equity through different lenses. Your course experience will culminate in a multi-part course project, in which you will work on writing your own letter to the editor of a newspaper.
Key Course Takeaways
- Examine a snapshot of inequity in the United States
- Investigate the causes of inequity in our communities
- Begin to acquire the basic skills of public policy advocacy, including community organizing, coalition building, working with government officials, and communicating your story through media and social media by crafting a letter to the editor
How It Works
Who Should Enroll
- Activists and community development organizers and practitioners
- Policy makers and political staff
- Public interest lawyers and advocates
- Leaders and members of organized labor organizations
- Urban planners and strategic planning agencies
- Social workers
- Grant writers
- People interested in engaging in community change