Students for Economic Justice 2013 Fellowship
Eric Henson is an undergraduate Urban Studies and Planning major at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). Prior to transferring to UCSD, his full exposure to community organizing occurred when he was introduced to the captivating teaching and literature of a sociology course titled, “Social Problems” at San Diego City College. The course engaged in problem-posing discussions on societal stigmas and dilemmas of class, race, gender and disabilities, and how to pursue collective action in order to address such issues. Through the curriculum, he joined the campus-activist group “Education for All” (EFA) that educated student-peers and parents on the budget cuts from Elementary to Higher Education. The group worked on regional to state-wide scale with various activist groups to revive the California Masterplan for education. It led him to the opportunity to deliver a speech on International Worker’s Day 2010 about the history of California’s tax structure that has caused the vast increase of tuition that has affected the children of migrant workers. The intersection of different activist groups that worked collectively with EFA led him to develop an interest for neighborhood organizations, and working with them throughout Southeast San Diego, such as the Bay Terrace Community Association, and the People’s Produce Project of Southeast San Diego, where attended meetings and watched students from San Diego State University survey vacant land to be used in coordination with Southeast San Diego residents. These life occurrences spawned his interest in the history of how communities and cities develop or decay, which directed him to the field of Urban Studies and Planning. He is looking forward the conscious framework of tools that the Center on Policy Initiatives will provide him to add perspective to his vision as a community organizer and social worker.