In 2016, our founders launched the first forum to educate the top 100 influential Christian young leaders under the age of 40. Since then, we continued to host an annual forum where we partnered with grass-roots organizations, denominations, community leaders and professors to speak and lead workshops related to social justice, organizing, advocacy and community development. We focus on topics like, justice theological education, racial inequality, voting restoration, mass incarceration, death penalty, immigration, poverty, hunger, protection of life, educational equity and just economy. Since our first forum, we have grown to gathering over 600 young leaders from the state of Florida and from several states across the nation. Moreover, in 2022 we will be hosting additional forums in different cities throughout the state of Florida.
We host 4 Community Transformation Cohorts a year with courses mainly held online due to Covid-19. Our program runs for six weeks with lectures that are highly interactive. We start each class with short introduction videos, ice-breakers and we provide meaningful space for small and large group discussions, allowing meaningful time for conversations around social issues and challenge ourselves to leave each class thinking creatively on how to respond to issues that impact our communities.
Instructors & Courses – Instructors have a Doctoral or Master’s degree with community serving experience in practical theological, organizing, advocacy and community development. Currently, we provide the following courses;
- Theological Framework on Justice
- History of the Latino Church and Justice
- Race and the Construct of Racism in America
- Criminal Justice System
- Immigration and Human Dignity
- Educational Equity & Just Economy
- Protection of Life
Contextualized Teaching & Learning – Before every cohort we bring together instructors, community leaders, pastors and bishops to make sure we contextualize our education for each community. We conduct a thorough process to identify the needs of the community and conduct surveys to understand our students background. Our Latino students live different realities, serve in different context, and have different levels of academic education. Gathering this valuable information allows us to design a course that meets their needs and provides them with a an education that helps them learn better, faster, and retain the information longer when they are taught concepts in context.
Technology Integration – We maximize the use of technology by using software like Zoom, Teams and Wonder, to host our courses. We also use online interactive tools like “Poll-Everywhere” to collect information in real-time, conduct survey questions, stimulate thoughts, share ideas and compare perspectives among participants. It also helps us to evaluate our progress to better serve the community we work with.
Course Moderators – In addition, we have moderators that make sure our courses run on time and make it fun by conducting games, ice-breakers, reading chat comments and questions from participants. They make sure transitions take place accordingly, help manage breakout sessions, lead small group dialogues and assure everyone has a pleasant active learning experience. Including, following-up with emails and study materials provided by instructors.
After our six-week cohort, we select a group of students who are interested in engaging further in organizing and advocacy work. Once we identify these students, we enroll them in our advocacy program and take them through our 4-month practicum that trains them on how to build influence through organizing them and prepares them for an in-person advocacy experience during our State legislative sessions.
The Practicum also includes field trips to the Legacy Museum, the Memorial for Peace and Justice, the Martin Luther King’s house in Montgomery, Alabama, the Dexter Avenue Church and other local meaningful places in Florida, relevant to the history of justice movements.