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Social Justice Leadership Institute

Social Justice Leadership Institute

Philadelphia Program


The Social Justice Leadership Institute (SJLI) is a new AFSC program that focuses on developing youth leadership through intensive social justice training. It brings together young people between 14-18 years old for training around personal/emotional development, campaign development, historical context of social issues, critical thinking and analysis of oppression, and leadership development.

Youth use arts, media, community engagement strategies, research, and organizing skills as powerful tools for social justice campaigning to uplift the voices of themselves and those who live in their communities. This program aims to cultivate youth focused on building awareness and increasing their knowledge base as civically engaged change-makers with the intention to create safe communities in Philadelphia.

Each 9-month cohort will complete collaborative projects during their term that will showcase the skills and tools learned through participation in the Institute. Participants will receive a monthly stipend as well as meals, assistance with transportation, and opportunities to attend local community events as a group. 

Program Highlights

Physical movement is a key part of SJLI curriculum

The New Year-Round SJLI Cohort

Students participate in a team-building activity meant to highlight the importance of listening, honoring history, and forging new paths into the future

Youth from Audenried High School

Residency at Audenried

Young people create posters focused on their feelings around gun violence in their neighborhoods

SJLI Summer Training (2018)

A group of our 2018 summer training cohort posing together after a presentation on restorative justice

Phase 1 of our very first SJLI training

Inaugural SJLI Training

Students participate in an exercise on trust and complicity

Students participate in activities that highlight gender-based oppression

SJLI Tackles Systems

SJLI students talk about their experiences with gender roles and expectations

(Participants will)

Program Goals

  1. Develop the ability to recognize their emotions and thoughts and how they influence behavior
  2. Develop the ability to take the perspective of, and empathize with, others from diverse backgrounds and cultures
  3. Develop an understanding of systemic issues that affect our society at large and their communities specifically
  4. Learn how to strategize to meet goals
  5.  Establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups as they facilitate the curriculum and lead/join movements
Youth Spotlight

We Are Not At Risk

SJLI students participate in the global We Are Not At Risk Campaign

Youth Spotlight

Art and Activism

SJLI students see the play 74 Seconds to Judgment and speak with the actors and director. The play explores police brutality and the U.S. justice system.