Often, African American community organizations are distanced from government institutional practices. In response, they may approach local academics to help bridge the divide. This think piece explores lessons that one academic scholar learned during the process of writing and distributing an applied report that ultimately helped a community organization to gain access to the governmental decision making process. In exploring the project, we first focus on the process and value of shifting from a charity orientation to a social justice orientation. Second, we use the report itself to provide examples of essential, concrete aspects of social justice-oriented products. In the end, we argue that academic scholars can contribute to community empowerment if (1) an asset rather than deficit orientation is employed and (2) scholars are viewed as community assets rather than institutional resources.
- Asset based community development
- Community empowerment
- Community engagement
- Community scholars
- Engaged scholarship