Run Toward Fear: Millennial Activism & Social Justice in The Trump Era

The 2016 Election was one of the most polarizing presidential races in recent memory. From the primaries through Election Day, campaigning was marked by religious, nationalist, racial, gender, and political party divides. The Election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, with the majority of white voter support and on the heels of national Black Lives Matter protests and immigration reform efforts, underscores the extent of the national divide.


The shifting landscape, alongside the election of a majority conservative house and Senate and upcoming Supreme Court nominations, has heightened anxiety. Concerns abound—from abortion, immigration, police reform and foreign policy to jobs, healthcare and affordable college costs, and more.


Many young Americans in recent weeks have expressed both fear of what is to come under a Trump presidency, and readiness to re-commit to change efforts as an overwhelming response to the question, “where do we go from here?” Run Toward Fear offers an answer. Led by a panel of nationally recognized activists, artists and scholars, this townhall style gathering welcomes students to join a safe space discussion focused on imagining a better world.


Rather than give in to fear, this forum brings thought leaders from the frontline of contemporary political debates and grassroots activist political struggle to join students in forward-thinking conversations about what the shifting political winds mean for college students, women and marginalized communities, and the ways young activists across the nation are re-imagining the most important issues of our time.  We will reflect on activist strategies and successes that haven’t penetrated national media. And at the same time, consider the ways popular culture moments driven by artists like Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar, actors like Jesse Williams and sports figures like Colin Kaepernick are both invigorating and distracting from social justice efforts. Run Toward Fear explores the new national landscape at the intersection of youth activism and social change.


• Is the alt-right just a new name for white supremacy or is their room for discussion across new divides?


• What is the future for criminal justice reforms and healthcare initiatives that were jumpstarted during the Obama administration??


• Where are millennial generation organizations like BYP100, Dream Defenders, United We Dream and Campaign Zero focusing their efforts post-election?


• Given crises in employment, education, criminal justice and more, can reforms advocated within the two-party electoral politics system go far enough to bring about quality of life that most Americans so desperately need?


• Will important gender debates within grassroots activists organizations continue in this climate of fear of Trump and rising American conservatism?