Central College News

Award-Winning Civil Rights Activist Fania Davis is Visiting Scholar

Featured: Award-Winning Civil Rights Activist Fania Davis is Visiting Scholar

September 17, 2018

Social activist, restorative justice scholar and civil rights attorney Fania Davis will be Central College’s Woodrow Wilson Visiting Scholar from Oct. 15 to 20, 2018.

During her Central visit, Davis will make course presentations, conduct discussions, offer a public lecture and meet with faculty and student groups.

Davis is co-founder and consultant for Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY). In 2018, she retired from her role as director. Disparately impacting youth of color, punitive school discipline and juvenile justice policies activate cycles of youth violence and incarceration. RJOY works to interrupt these cycles by promoting institutional shifts toward restorative approaches that actively engage families, communities and systems to repair harm and prevent re-offending. RJOY focuses on reducing racial disparities and public costs associated with high rates of incarceration, suspension, and expulsion.

Davis’ close childhood connection to victims of the 1963 Sunday School bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, set her career path early in life. She earned a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a doctorate in indigenous studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies.

She has taught restorative justice and indigenous peacemaking at the graduate and undergraduate levels. She has received the Ubunti Service to Humanity Award, the Maloney Award, and World Trust’s Healing Justice Award. The Los Angeles Times named Davis a new civil rights leader of the 21st century. “We are delighted to bring someone of Fania Davis’ caliber to Central’s campus as a visiting scholar,” says Brian Peterson, Central’s associate dean for curriculum and faculty development. “We look forward to being enlightened, inspired and challenged by her unique perspective, her deep experience and her transformative work in restorative justice.”

The Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program, administered by the Council of Independent Colleges in Washington, D.C., brings prominent artists, diplomats, journalists, business leaders and other professionals to campuses across the United States for week-long residential programs of classes, seminars, workshops, lectures and informal discussions. For 35 years, visiting fellows have introduced students and faculty members at liberal arts colleges to a wide range of perspectives on life, society, community and achievement. The program is available to all four-year colleges and universities. For more information, visit www.cic.edu/visitingfellows.