College of Constructive Hell Raising

cch-logo-4-0-latin-copy"Think Like an Organizer"

Now accepting applications for the 2017 semester, beginning January 17th and ending May 23rd.


What is the College of Constructive Hell-Raising?

How do you make positive change? How do “Davids” ever beat “Goliaths?” What’s the Difference between a “Strategy” and a “Tactic?” A “Movement” and an “Organization?”

The College for Constructive Hell-Raising is a semester-long, citizen-friendly seminar class to help DFW activists of all kinds think more like organizers.  

We present and analyze basic community organizing principles in interesting and engaging ways, including firsthand accounts from veterans of past and current DFW social justice campaigns.  

Whether you’re trying to win a stoplight at an intersection, overcome discrimination, or shut down a toxic polluter, the same principles of organizing apply. Become a savvier citizen of The Republic, and become a better advocate for your cause: raise more constructive hell.


The Particulars 

Class meets two Tuesdays a Month, 7 pm to 9 pm, in the Piney Woods Room of the Meadows Conference Center, 2900 Live Oak, in East Dallas

There's a maximum of 15 students this semester. Admission preference will be given to existing DFW groups who want to better train volunteers or staff and help pay for enrollment with scholarships.  

The cost $125. 


Class Schedule 

January 17th: 

“What is Constructive Hell-Raising?” 


January 31st : 

“The Four Dirty Words of Organizing”

Guest Lecturer: Peter Johnson


February 14th: 

“(Internal) Organizing”

Guest Lecturer: John Fullinwider


February 28th: 

“Strategy vs. Tactics”

Guest Lecturers: Lon Burnam/Mavis Belisle


March 14th: 

“(Self) Critical-Thinking”

Guest Lecturer: TBA


March 28th: 

“Perception is Everything”    

Guest Lecturer: Zac Trahan


April 11th: 

“Effective Outreach”

Guest Lecturer: Don Maison 


April 25th: 


Guest Lecturer: Luis Sepulveda


May 9th: 

“Means vs Ends”

Guest Lecturer: Changa Masomakali


May 23rd: 

“The Qualities of a Good Organizer"


Visiting Faculty 

Mavis Belisle

Veteran DFW peace and anti-nuclear organizer. 

Lon Burnam 

Former State Representative and Director of Dallas Peace Center.

John Fullinwider

Veteran anti-poverty and civil rights organizer. Original Bois D’arc Patriot.

Peter Johnson

Veteran civil rights activist, former Dallas SCLC organizer. 

Don Maison

Over 25 years as Director of AIDS Services of Dallas. 

Changa Masomakali 

Dallas anti-police brutality campaign organizer.

Luis Sepulveda

West Dallas organizer who won clean-up of lead smelter waste.

Zac Trahan

Former Dallas Program Director, Texas Campaign for the Environment. 


Jim Schermbeck, Dean of Instruction

Jim Schermbeck was born and raised in Fort Worth. He attended his first protest on behalf of striking farm workers at 13 and founded his first anti-nuclear group at 19. He’s been a professional community organizer in DFW since 1989 when he opened the Dallas office of the National Toxics Campaign. He’s worked with DFW neighborhoods to discover and clean-up two North Texas Superfund sites, shut an outlaw lead smelter, pass the most protective gas drilling ordinance in Texas, and halted the burning of hazardous waste in local cement plants. He’s currently Director of Downwinders at Risk. 


Downwinders At Risk, Board of Trustees

Downwinders at Risk is perhaps the most successful grassroots environmental group in Texas history. It’s certainly one of the most persistent.  

Founded in 1994 to stop the burning of hazardous waste in Midlothian cement plants, it broadened its mission in 2010 to include protection of DFW air quality when it won its original fight.

Downwinders board members are all DFW residents. They’re all veterans of their own organizing campaigns. 

Since its founding, Downwinders has used basic community organizing strategy to win its victories. Now we want to share what we’ve learned with other North Texas activists who want to increase their understanding of community organizing techniques, as well as learn about DFW social justice history.


College Application

Use this to apply for admission to the College of Constructive Hell-Raising


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