College of Constructive Hell Raising

cch-logo-4-0-latin-copy“Think Like an Organizer”

Now accepting applications for the 2019 semester,

beginning January 15th and ending May 21st

College Application

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What is the College of Constructive Hell-Raising


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 basic community organizing principles in engaging ways, just like the schools that professional community organizers attend. But we also have veterans of local socialjustice campaigns from the last 50 years come and talk about what they learned fighting the good fights right here in DFW.

Whether you’re trying to win a stoplight at an intersection, overcome discrimination, or shut down a toxic polluter, the same principles of community organizing apply. Become a savvier Citizen of The Republic, and a better advocate for your cause. Learn how to raise more Constructive Hell.


The Particulars 

Class meets every other Tuesdays from January 15th to
May 21st, 7 – 9 pm, at the Meadows Conference Center, 2900 Live Oak in East Dallas

You’re encouraged but not required to attend informal follow-up discussions with guest lecturers at the Bryan Street Tavern after class adjourns.

The cost is $150. It includes a book, and lots of reading material. Some scholarships are available. Sign Up in October or November and the cost is $90.

ATTENDANCE POLICY                                                                                                                                                                               Since there are only 10 classes, absences are costly to you and your classmates. We understand our location makes it harder for those living and working outside metro Dallas to attend, but that’s why we start at 7 pm. Make sure you allow for DFW traffic in order to arrive on time.

Class Schedule 

January 15th: 

“What is Constructive Hell-Raising?” 


January 29th : 

“The Four Dirty Words of Organizing”

Guest Lecturer: Peter Johnson 


February 12th: 

“(Internal) Organizing”

Guest Lecturer: John Fullinwider


February 26th: 

“Strategy vs. Tactics”

Guest Lecturers: Kim Batchelor, Mavis Belisle and Sister Patricia Ridgley 


March 12th: 

“(Self) Critical-Thinking”

Guest Lecturer: Luis Sepulveda


March 26th: 

“Perception is Everything”    

Guest Lecturers: Colette McCadden
and Meagan Greene


April 9th: 

“Real World Civics”

Guest Lecturer: Angela Hunt


April 23rd: 


Guest Lecturers: Patti Fink 


May 21st: 

“Means vs Ends”

Guest Lecturer: Sara Mokuria


May 23rd: 

“The Qualities of a Good Organizer”


Guest Lecturers

Kim Batchelor 

Bois ‘ Darc Patriot, tenant’s rights and immigration organizer

Mavis Belisle

Veteran DFW peace and anti-nuclear organizer

Patti Fink

Veteran LGBT

John Fullinwider

Longtime community organizer and original Bois D’arc Patriot

Meagan Greene

Frisco Unleaded Co-founder

Angela Hunt

Former Dallas City Council member

Peter Johnson

Former MLK Jr associate, original Dallas SCLC organizers

Collete McCadden
Frisco Unleaded Co-founder

Sister Patricia Ridley

Life-long social justice worker based in Dallas, with emphasis on Central American and immigration rights

Luis Sepulveda

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

Sara Mokuria,

Co- Founder, Mothers Against Police Brutality


Jim Schermbeck, Dean of Instruction

Jim Schermbeck has been a professional community organizer in DFW since 1989 when he opened the Dallas office of the National Toxics Campaign. 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.

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.


Alumni Include:

Kim Aman, Program Director, Moss Haven Farms
Clarice Criss, Regional Field Manager, Color Of Change
Kristian Hernadez, DSA North Texas Co-Chair
Janelle Kinney, North American Charitable Givings, LUSH
Evelyn Mayo, Community Outreach & Educator/NWT Legal Aid
Michelle McAdams, Economic Empowerment Specialist,
New Friends New Life
Misti O’Quinn, North Texas Organizer, Sierra Club Beyond Coal
Cory Troiani, DFW Program Director, Texas Campaign for the Environment

Student Comments :

“It made me move away from thinking of myself as an activist – someone who subscribes to a particular set of beliefs or positions, but doesn’t necessarily push forward a policy or action. Now, I think of myself as someone who has the tools to translate opinions into action. Now, I’m concerned with being effective, not just being right.”


“The information and knowledge gained from the College is invaluable for anyone at any stage of outreach, political gaming, activism, or simply in business or life.”


“The College is the best way to learn about historic progressive battles in Dallas, connect with a diverse group of committed citizens, and learn how to be a pragmatic, effective organizer.”


“I didn’t anticipate how quickly I would become informed on the history of progressive politics in Dallas; I didn’t anticipate getting to meet so many incredible organizers in the city (both lecturers and students).”


The depth of the class, as well as the opportunities to actually discuss and learn from those “in the trenches” and behind the scenes of significant events of the past couple of decades. It was invaluable seeing the different strategies and techniques used to accomplish goals.


“…the camaraderie and connections with other local activists that, despite my extensive network, I had never met before, was immeasurably important to the work I’m currently doing and plan to do in the future.”


“The level of insight that Jim has from his years of organizing was invaluable and very well organized/structured. The resources, thoughts behind each class topic, and chance to both connect with fellow aspiring organizers and meet/network with veteran difference-makers more than met what I was hoping for this course.”