Moving Forward: Education is Part of the Answer

Dear Friends of the Brooklyn Institute,

BISR has spent the last five years building a new model of critical education and scholarship interwoven into the everyday lives of working adults. We currently serve well over a thousand students annually in New York City, Jersey City, and Philadelphia. In the wake of this deeply troubling election season, the need for new modes of community-based education and scholarship are more apparent than ever. We feel a new sense of urgency to bring our work to ever-greater audiences, and with this goal in mind, are pleased to announce new programs like BISR Praxis, BISR Community Initiative, new classes in our course catalog, new national and regional programming, and much more.

We have run over 70 courses this year alone, many on topics of special concern in our current political climate, such as:

Even as we continue our core work and further expand our course catalog, BISR is proud to announce new programs that enable individuals, underserved communities, businesses, and non-profit, labor, and political organizations to design specialized curricula and projects in areas of personal and professional interest. To learn more about these programs, please visit the pages for Office Hours (individualized study), Community Initiative (underserved communities), OnSite (commercial organizations), and Praxis (public interest organizations). We have already run several pilots for our BISR Office Hours and BISR Praxis programs as well as a full cycle of our Community Initiative. OnSite programming will begin in 2017.

Finally, in the weeks ahead, BISR will look to engage new communities in discussion about race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, disability, and yes, even democracy itself. We are gearing up to take our programming to Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota, focusing on communities – rural, suburban, and urban – whose social fabric has been stretched by economic instability, demographic change, and racial tensions. Working with local scholars and organizations, this initiative builds on our years of public pedagogy experience to foster community-based education that is both rigorous and widely accessible.

We are energized to do this crucial work, but we need your help. There are many ways to show your support:

– Become a BISR member or make a donation: BISR is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with a range of membership opportunities. Your tax-deductible donations support our efforts to design excellent programming and expand to new locations.

– Connect us with your networks: We are particularly interested in speaking to individuals are able to assist in substantive ways with our regional expansion initiative, or who are interested in bringing OnSite or Praxis programs into the organizations in which they work.

– Take a class: BISR served over 1000 students last year. Let’s keep the critical conversations going. For those of you interested in Winter 2017 courses, February classes are now live featuring perennial favorites like The Iliad and Jane Eyre alongside timely topics such as Disaster Capitalism, the works of James Baldwin, and Separation Anxiety: Religion and the State.

– Share information: Tell your friends or family about BISR and help us bring new faces into our learning community.

Just as politics-as-usual has failed so many, it is clear that we need to create new forms of public learning for the work ahead. Please join us as we chart a new path.


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