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University of Michigan

Community Organizing for Social Justice

University of Michigan via Coursera


The course examines specific strategies for community organizing for social justice in a diverse, democratic society.

It examines core concepts of social justice and practical steps for bringing people together to set goals and priorities, assess community assets and needs, develop action plans, and build support for implementation. It includes information on how to form core groups, build organizational capacity, and formulate strategy for reaching out to constituents and allies.

Because each person learns in a different way, the course features a variety of learning acclivities, information on successful programs, individual instructions , and small group exercises, as well as hands-on materials for problem solving and program planning, You can use these activities with individuals, with a small group of people, or with several groups in a community campaign.

The course draws upon work with people who are striving for community change in metropolitan Detroit, and area which is becoming both more segregated and more diverse. But it is designed for people who want to create change in communities, everywhere.

If you were to take the course with ideas in mind, and conclude with plans in hand, then our purpose will be served.


  • Introduction to Community Organizing for Social Justice
    • In this module, students will be introduced to the core concepts of the course, as well as hear from organizers around the country. Students will learn common language in the field of social justice and community organizing that will allow them to navigate the course.
  • Strengthening Diversity
    • In this module, students will dig into heavy topics of stereotypes, discrimination, and social identity. Students will be prompted to explore their own identities and reflect on how they see stereotypes and discrimination in their community.
  • Intergroup Dialogue
    • In this module, students will learn about communication styles, as well as gain skills on how to navigate difficult conversations.
  • Organizing & Planning for Community Change
    • In this module, students will learn 7 steps to creating change. They will be taken through each step, starting with people and ending with participatory evaluation, and they will be encouraged to create their own action plan along the way. Students will gain tools for creating change within their own community or school, as well as hear the stories and experiences from those who have executed community action projects before.
  • Strategy
    • In this module, students will learn crucial steps to using strategy as they work to create change. They will learn about some of the most important factors of strategy, such as targets and allies, and instructed to think about how their projects and their strategy go hand in hand. Students will gain tools for implementing strategy, as well as adapting it to their own community and project.
  • What Matters Most?
    • In this module, students will reflect on some of the main concepts of the course, such as social justice, community, organizing, planning, strategy, and believing in change. Students will be encouraged to think about which lessons mean the most to them.

Taught by

Barry Checkoway


5.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 298 ratings

Start your review of Community Organizing for Social Justice

  • Melisha

    Melisha is taking this course right now, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    This is a very interesting course for me, it has taught me the causes of segregation within diverse context of environment. Further enlightened the causes and that Each and everyone of us are also part of injustice that occurs within our societies, community...

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