Alan Jenkins to step down as President of The Opportunity Agenda
Will become a Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School
Michael Paul Jackson, Media Strategist, The Opportunity Agenda, 570-406-3120, firstname.lastname@example.org
Melodie Jackson, Associate Dean for Communications & Public Affairs, Harvard Law School, 617-496-4481, email@example.com
NEW YORK (March 5, 2019) – Alan Jenkins, longtime President and Co-Founder of The Opportunity Agenda, announced today that he is leaving the social justice communication lab in June. He will become a Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School in the fall.
Jenkins, who co-founded The Opportunity Agenda 13 years ago, has helped to change the way the social justice field operates – from elevating the importance of narrative change strategies to pioneering new approaches to public opinion and media research to developing a rising generation of effective communicators around issues of racial justice, immigrant human rights, economic opportunity and criminal justice reform.
A search for a new president will begin immediately, led by Madifing Kaba, The Opportunity Agenda’s Steering Committee Chair, and Search Committee Co-Chair Sara Stuart.
“The Opportunity Agenda could not be more ready for this new chapter,” Jenkins said. “We have a community of hundreds of artists, entertainers, and creatives who are inspiring enormous audiences around the country and world. We have a network of thousands of social justice leaders who look to us for communications guidance, training, and support. And we have a talented staff of advocates, researchers, and communications experts who are highly respected in their fields. I am confident that The Opportunity Agenda will reach even loftier heights under a dynamic new President.”
Jenkins founded the organization with Dr. Brian Smedley, Phoebe Eng, and Bill Lann Lee in 2006 to harness the power of strategic communications and popular culture to drive lasting policy and culture change. Prior to The Opportunity Agenda, he was the Director of Human Rights at the Ford Foundation, with prior positions including Assistant to the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice, and Associate Counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
“Alan has been a force and a trailblazer in the fight for social justice in this country,” Kaba said. ”He transformed a vision for equal opportunity into tangible, actionable and concrete tools to support the work of activists, leaders and every day people in America. From advancing alternatives to incarceration to promoting fair and affordable housing to fostering policies that welcome immigrants and refugees, the impact of Alan’s work has been significant and in some cases groundbreaking. He is unequivocally instrumental to making this country a better place.”
“Alan is one of the country’s leading thinkers on the relationship between media, public opinion, law, policy and ensuring opportunity for all Americans,” said Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning. “I am thrilled that he will be bringing to Harvard Law students his expertise on what today’s lawyers and leaders need to be effective communicators for their cause.”
Jenkins said he looks forward to continuing his vital activism, and will educate law students on the intersection of law, social justice and communications.
“New beginnings are always emotional,” Jenkins said. “But my emotions right now are ones of appreciation and excitement for what lies ahead.”
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The Opportunity Agenda is a social justice communication lab. To advance the impact of the social justice community, we shape compelling narratives and messages; build the communication capacity of leaders through training and resources; and engage with artists, creatives, and culture makers as powerful storytellers to shift the public discourse.