Civil Discourse & Social Change

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Civil Discourse & Social Change


Open to all students, faculty, and staff!


Reverend James M. Lawson Jr. will be teaching a course this Spring 2023 Semester on non-violent social change and the Civil Rights Movement for the Communications Department, COMS 400C, Course # 12019, Tuesdays, 4:00PM-6:45PM (Pacific) in Manzanita 122. This course is a tremendous resource for CSUN, as the course embodies the ideals and goals of CSUN’s Roadmap to the Future. 

Faculty, staff, and students are all welcome and encouraged to enroll. 

There are no prerequisites, but interested individuals must request a permission number from Adrian Aini in the Communications Department,

CDSC is proud to support the struggle against the Executive Orders on the CSUN campus. We ask that you please watch the following student-made video for more information:

About CDSC

Civil Discourse and Social Change is a campus-wide initiative that combines education, community involvement and sustained activism on issues around social justice and social change. The initiative operates under the auspices of the Provost, offering dynamic programming designed to provide social justice education opportunities to students and faculty.

CDSC was co-founded by Dr. Marta López-Garza and Dr. Kathryn Sorrells in 2010 to address student concerns regarding access to education, their future aspirations, and broader issues of social justice. At the invitation of CDSC, Reverend James L. Lawson Jr., who is a prominent leader of the civil rights movement, serves as a visiting scholar  About CDSC continues

Reverend Lawson's Biography

Rev. Lawson lecturing arrested in NashvilleReverend James Lawson has been working with the CDSC initiative at CSUN since 2010.

James Lawson was born in Pennsylvania in 1928. His father and grandfather were Methodist ministers, and Lawson received his local preacher's license in 1947, the year he graduated from high school.

At his Methodist college in Ohio, he joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), America's oldest pacifist organization. Through FOR, he was first exposed to the nonviolent teachings of Gandhi and fellow black minister Howard Thurman.

After spending time in prison for refusing the Korean War draft, he obtained his B.A. in 1952, and spent the next three years as a campus minister and teacher at Hislop College in Nagpur, India. While in India, Lawson eagerly read of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the emerging nonviolent resistance movement back in the United States. Reverend Lawson's Biography continues