An ambitious and talented student of law and policy, Mohammed Alam has also been a committed activist to ending the use of the New York Police Department’s abusive and discriminatory Stop and Frisk policy. Here he shares his own story of police harassment that happened earlier this year.
by Mohammed Alam, CCNY ’14, Colin Powell School Community Engagement Fellow Alumnus
This year I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the City College of New York. And this year I was also stopped, harassed, thrown in a jail cell, and denied my civil rights by the NYPD. The following is my account of an event that, in the most real way, changed my understanding of and trust in law and justice.
On a cold and tiring Monday night last March, I was driving home from a meeting in Brooklyn. This was not out of the ordinary; I attend this community meeting on the first Monday of every month and had done so for well over a year. What was out of the ordinary was what followed next.
by Amanda Krupman, Digital Communications Manager, Colin Powell School
On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a highly contentious decision in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, in which the Court ruled 5-4 that a for-profit company can invoke religious beliefs in order to deny paying for otherwise government-mandated contraception to their employees.
Three days later, the Court delivered another ruling on ACA-related contraception, this time an unsigned emergency order for injunction for Wheaton College, a Christian college in Illinois. This decision offered another exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s provision of free birth control with all insurance plans. In this case, however, the ruling installs a further barrier to contraception for Wheaton College staff, faculty, and students—and according to a fiercely worded dissent by Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Ginsburg, contradicts elements of the Hobby Lobby ruling and “undermines confidence in this institution.” Continue reading →
R. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy is a professor of sociology at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. This month, his book Inequality in the Promised Land: Race, Resources, and Suburban Schooling is being released through Stanford University Press. In this interview with Neighborhoods and Nations, he gives an overview of the research underlying the book’s insights on the everyday, and often insidious, forms of discrimination black students and their families face in schools across America. In doing so, Professor Lewis-McCoy paints a portrait of a new suburban landscape, one that fails to be “the promised land” of broader opportunities and resources that struggling families, particularly people of color, can rely on in equal shares. Continue reading →
Image: Screenshot from “Theater Talk,” a CUNY-TV program.
by Jeffrey Rosen, Professor of Psychology, Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership
Arthur Gelb died recently at the age of ninety. Some readers of this blog may know of him as a renowned journalist and editor at the New York Times, a newspaper that he helped transform. However, most people won’t know about the pivotal role that Arthur played in the initial creation of the Colin L. Powell Center for Leadership and Service at CCNY, an institution that would set foundational principles that now guide the mission of the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership.
The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at CCNY
by Mayra Mahmood, architectural student and Colin Powell School ‘Partners for Change’ fellow
I study at the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at CCNY. Architecture, in my mind, is an art form that influences everyone—whether they are aware of it or not. Growing up in Pakistan, environmental challenges made me especially aware of the impact structural design has on people and their everyday experiences.
But I didn’t start out pursuing a career as an architect. I was on my way to medical school, believing I was destined to be a doctor like all the other Pakistani girls (and some boys) I knew. In the summer following a year of pre-med studies, I interned at the Education Health and Development Foundation (EHD), a non-profit organization. At the edge of Islamabad, there were slums in which mostly Afghan refugees lived. The EHD had built some temporary schools there and needed volunteer teachers: I was the English teacher. Everyday, a child from the school would come to grab me from the main highway and take me through the narrow mud streets to the school. The refugees lived in mud houses with no electricity or proper drainage systems. I began to notice little inventions they designed for this environment to make do. For example, they made a cow fence out of bicycle wheels and whatever else they could find.
I was both fascinated and deeply affected by my observations. I realized then that I didn’t want to help people by becoming a doctor; I wanted to help people by becoming an architect.
This Saturday marks the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Boardof Education decision—the Supreme Court case that delegitimatized the “separate but equal” standard when applied race-based segregation in public schools.
This year has marked the 75th anniversary of the Colin Powell School of Civic and Global Leadership’s Department of Psychology. During this time, faculty have produced extraordinary contributions in their field, including research that has had wide-reaching societal impact. One of the more notable examples of this is Kenneth Clark. While an Assistant Professor at CCNY, Clark and his wife, Mamie, a psychologist working with children in Harlem, studied children’s attitudes about race through experiments with dolls. These studies revealed the pernicious effects of segregation on children. Chief Justice Earl Warren, who wrote the majority opinion in the unanimous decision striking down segregation in schools as unconstitutional, specifically cited the findings from the Clarks’ 1950 paper. Kenneth Clark was the first tenured African-American professor at City College of New York and in 1971 was designated president of the American Psychological Association.
On June 5, the Department of Psychology will celebrate this and other contributions in the culminating event of the year, “The Social World and the Meaning of the Message: A 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Psychology Department at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership.” This conference both celebrates the past 75 years and looks ahead to the future. There will be a keynote address by Drew Westen, author of The Political Brain, The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, and two panels. The first panel will feature research highlights including those of Kenneth Clark. The second panel looks at the future of social messaging, including its importance to and use in political messaging. Visit our eventbrite page for more information and to RSVP.
by Vince Boudreau, Dean, Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership
Over the years, we’ve brought scores of accomplished men and women to visit students in our leadership programs. Most of these men and women—businesspeople, policy makers, lawyers and public servants—come with some specific public concern or policy dilemma to discuss. But we always ask them to also talk about their lives, to recount how they have navigated their paths to success. These conversations matter immensely because too many of our students discount the uncertain and contingent character of successful trajectories, mistakenly assuming that the contours of a successful end are evident from the start. In making that mistake, they take themselves out of the picture, imagining that no road leads from where they are to where they want to be.
by Zineb Bouizy, Secretary, Engineers Without Borders-CCNY Chapter
I come from a poor family in Morocco. When I came to the US six years ago, I came alone and did not know any English. I started working full-time to support myself and help my family back in Morocco, and began to pursue my dream of becoming a civil engineer. It was my experience struggling to get the basic necessities in my hometown that led me to engineering as a professional path, and fortunately, I made my way into the Grove School of Engineering at City College. My personal experience is also what drove me to become involved with Engineers Without Borders (EWB), a humanitarian organization that supports the design and implementation of community-driven, sustainable engineering projects worldwide. Continue reading →