A Force for Social Justice

Emersonians have always been fearless in our pursuit of social justice and care deeply about doing what’s right. We are committed to social justice reform and strive to support and strengthen our communities on campus, in Boston, and beyond, especially those historically and presently marginalized. When our students arrive at Emerson, they are ready to change the world. We give them the skills, spaces, community, experience, and networks to make it happen.

Our dedicated Social Justice Center (SJC) and other on-campus organizations—like EBONI, Emerson’s Black Organization with Natural Interest; EAGLE, Emerson’s Advancement Group for Love and Expression (LGBTQIA+); First Gen E-M (first-generation and low-income); Theyta (non-binary); Amigos (Latinx); and more—promote cultural awareness, inclusivity, anti-racism, and advocacy throughout the Emerson community. Community partnerships with over 70 local organizations allow students to look beyond our campus and do their part in making the world a better place.

Elma Lewis Center for Community Engagement

As part of the SJC at Emerson, the Elma Lewis Center is committed to embodying and advancing social justice for the purpose of individual and collective liberation, working with compassion and enduring solidarity. The ELC is named in honor of Elma Lewis ’43, one of Boston’s most important Black female luminaries in the arts, education, and civil rights work.


EmersonWRITES is an urban creative writing program offering free college-style workshops to students grades 8–12 enrolled in a Greater Boston public or charter school. Our teachers are graduate students in Emerson’s MFA/MA programs in writing and publishing and have been trained to teach college-level writing in the award-winning Writing Studies/First-Year Writing Program. EmersonWRITES is guided by the principle that writing is essential to intellectual engagement, self-representation, and access to opportunity. Our program seeks to foster individual voice and empowerment through the written word.

Annual Teach-In On Race

The Teach-In is an annual academic and creative event, sponsored by Academic Affairs and the President’s Office in coordination with the SJC, designed to engage the community in active learning about race and racism. Each year, a theme is selected and interrogated by members of the campus community through scholarship and creative works with the goals of enhancing student, faculty, and staff understanding of race; building capacity on campus for communicating about matters of race, ethnicity, and identity; enhancing a campus climate that supports students, faculty, and staff of color; and helping the Emerson community engage around issues of race and racism and generate actions that address race relations on this campus and beyond.

Emerson Prison Initiative

The Emerson Prison Initiative (EPI) is an extraordinary program that provides college courses to people incarcerated in Massachusetts and reasserts Emerson’s core values by helping the nation solve one of its most pressing problems. EPI’s mission is to democratize access to tertiary education for those who have been historically marginalized or otherwise unable to attend college. It aims to offer courses that are as similar as possible to ones offered at our Boston campus, an emphasis that follows from a philosophy that education is transformative in and of itself. We aspire to equip all students, whether they are on the Boston campus or in prison, with critical thinking and communication skills in order for them to engage, critique, and transform the world around them.