Researching Public Law and Public Policy in the Public Interest

Welcome Dawan Alford, the 2017-2018 CLiME Fellow

Dawan Alford

Dawan Alford pulls in best practices from across the globe, combining a special blend of local knowledge with global research experience that equips him with a unique perspective on diverse, urban landscapes. As head of community engagement with HANDS Inc., a notable community development corporation in New Jersey, he designs engagement strategies that connect anchor institutions to grassroots initiatives by communicating common narratives through an authentic lens. He is a preeminent cross sector collaborator and social justice advocate who cares a lot about mental health in urban youth, the arts and civic engagement. While volunteering much of his time to community organizing, Dawan champions a spirit of collectivism that empowers residents to value their communities. He rose to the forefront of raising awareness on the impacts of trauma in youth through University lectures, school speeches and as the keynote for the Orange school district Superintendent’s forum. As a Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health coalition member, he implements youth-led forums as safe spaces, for decompressing and teaching healthy coping mechanisms for youth managing traumatic stress. After graduating with an Undergraduate degree in Public Administration from Rutgers University Newark, he returned to his hometown Orange, NJ to assist underprivileged youth transitioning to college by establishing a nonprofit that provides scholarships to students in honor of his best friend who was killed as a result of gun violence. On track to receive his Master’s degree, Dawan serves on nonprofit boards, is a Leadership Newark fellow, working with the Center on Law, Inequality & Metropolitan Equity, International Leadership Exchange alum and works diligently to advance the greater Newark community.

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