Journalist David Bornstein speaks about social innovation

September 30, 2013 8:45 AM

Greg Thomson


Author and journalist David Bornstein shared his experience covering social innovation Thursday (Sept. 26) as the NewDay speaker on the Tulane University uptown campus. He was joined by a panel of innovators from New Orleans who spoke about their efforts to solve various social problems throughout the city.

David Bornstein, Johanna Gilligan, Jim Kline

David Bornstein leads a discussion of social innovation projects with Johanna Gilligan of Grow Dat Youth Farm and Jim Kline, a teacher at the New Orleans Charter Science and Math Academy. (Photo by Guillermo Cabrera-Rojo)

Bornstein stressed that social injustice is often highlighted by the media, but the people working to resolve the problems are given little recognition. In his column for The New York Times, Bornstein writes about these problem solvers. He discussed some of the organizations that are attacking issues such as homelessness, ineffective foster care and the public education system.

“My inbox is full of thousands of emails about problems that are happening all around the world that we are very aware of but we are not always sure how those are being responded to,” said Bornstein. “We recently covered the 100,000 Homes Campaign whose goal is to put 100,000 chronically homeless people in permanent supportive housing.”

Three New Orleanians talked about how their own organizations are confronting social problems in nearby communities. Jim Kline, a teacher at Sci Academy, is in charge of the school’s Seminar on Innovation and Change, which helps equip high school students with the tools necessary for college.

Tulane alumna Johanna Gilligan spoke about her work hiring teenagers to grow food for the community at Grow Dat Youth Farm in City Park.

Architect Bryan C. Lee Jr. discussed Project Pipeline, an architect and design mentorship program for high school students sponsored by the National Organization of Minority Architects.

Audience members proposed questions to the social innovators, then Bornstein concluded with what he said was one of his favorite quotations.

“A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us,” he said. “To live is to be slowly born.”

Greg Thomson is a junior at Tulane studying communication.

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000