Social Justice Fellows

Social Justice Fellows

Social Justice Fellows

Program Background

The Minneapolis Public Schools Social Justice Fellows program was created by a team of passionate Minneapolis Public School educators, administrators, and community liaisons led by Lawrencina Oramalu J.D. in 2014.  They had a clear vision of how to engage young leaders in social justice, inspire young scholars towards academic excellence, and provide amazing young people with pathways to college and successful careers.  

The program will celebrate its 5th year of providing a transformative and much needed ethnic studies experience to Minneapolis Public School scholars.   This year there will be both an African American and Chicano/Latino Cadre that will have an opportunity to share their cultural experiences, global contributions,and common stories around the fight for civil and human rights.  

The Social Justice Fellow Program goals:

  • Support the District’s vision of every child being college and career  ready
  • Increase student’s social and political consciousness about civil rights  issues of the past and today
  • Build a strong sense of cultural identity and self-confidence
  • Develop a pipeline for social justice/public policy leaders
  • Inspire college aspiration and exploration and promote a commitment to academic excellence
  • Expose students to individuals, organizations and programs that will assist  them in successfully applying to and graduating from college
  • Provide student leadership and community service opportunities

Quick History:

  • The inaugural Fellows Cohort was started in 2014 with over 40 scholars.
  • In 2015 the second Social Justice Fellows Cohort was established and the program youth leadership--Social Justice Ambassadors.
  • In 2016 the SJF Cohort had successful venture to the east coast exploring the principle of Ujaama (Collective Economics).
  • In 2017 the SJF Cohort focused on Investigation, Interruption, and Investment. 

This year SJF will launch its 5th Cohort and celebrate the success and impact of providing an opportunity for scholars to convene, explore, and take action. Currently, there are four returning SJF program and Minneapolis Public Schools graduates that are now college scholars on the SJF leadership team. They are a constant reminder of the impact and achievement of the program goals. 


The Social Justice Fellows Civil Right Research Experience (CRRE) has 3 aspects.

1. Civil Rights Research Institute: Theory - Preparation sessions provide background knowledge of early civil rights through the contemporary day. Additionally, this tour will have an economic empowerment focus with our theme: Investigation, Interruption and Investment  

Students will research and examine historical and current events through multiple perspectives, making room for voices typically missing in classrooms. This will take place over 5 Saturday Morning sessions prior to the trip.

Participants will need to attend 4 of the 5 sessions to be able to go on the Tour

2. Civil Rights Research Tour - Through experiential learning, students continue their research through visits to historical sites and museums, participation in a mobile classroom, interviews of past and present civil rights activists and participation in experiences. Students create resources for classrooms through documentary and micro-content work. This will take place during the MPS Spring Break, students will travel to the Southeastern region of the United States

3. Civil Rights Research Institute: Action - Students hone presentation and communication skills as they present to a number of groups including administration, school board members, educators and community members. This will take place over 2 Saturdays Morning sessions after the tour.