Elam Boockvar-Klein ’20 has been awarded a yearlong Newman Civic Fellowship, the second Colorado College student — and second CC sociology major — to receive this prestigious award in two years.
The 2019 Newman Civic Fellows class is made up of 262 community-committed students, representing colleges and universities from 41 states, Washington, D.C., Mexico, and Greece. The Newman Civic Fellowship supports the next generation of public problem-solvers in their personal, professional, and civic growth. Boockvar-Klein’s fellowship runs for the 2019-2020 academic year.
A native of New York City, Boockvar-Klein has been a CC Community Engaged Scholar since his arrival at Colorado College. As a first-year student, he co-started CC’s J Street U chapter with Rachel Powers ’20 and Kalie Hirt ’20. The organization brings students together to discuss, spread awareness, and plan tangible actions around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I am working toward effecting structural change on both a global and local scale,” he says. “I first became involved in political advocacy around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during my freshman year. After learning about the systems in place that perpetuate egregious human rights violations within Israel/Palestine — along with my complicity as a self-identifying Jewish person — I decided to take action. In the past two years, I have helped develop sustained engagement to put an end to the Israeli occupation through event organizing, phone drives, and petitions.”
Boockvar-Klein also has dedicated extensive effort to connect with the Colorado Springs community, and through his work with the Community Engaged Leaders program, has served as a mentor and facilitator, providing middle-school students with opportunities to learn about community organizing work.
“I understand that one can often be much more impactful within one’s own community simply due to proximity to the on-the-ground realities and issues,” he says. “As such, I also co-lead an afterschool program in an underserved middle school in which students develop community-organizing skills, culminating in a community-based project.
“Due to my experiences working on issues of both foreign policy and local educational inequality, I have been able to see the obvious connections between localized and globalized systems of oppression; they operate in a similar manner. The key to effecting community-level change is to first understand the big-picture policy and economic structures at play, and I am grateful to be able to work on both scales,” he says.
Boockvar-Klein joins Veronica Fernandez-Diaz ’19 who was a Newman Civic Fellow last year. Both students participated in a trip to Georgia last summer led by Associate Professor Eric Popkin, of CC’s Department of Sociology. The students’ work at three immigrant detention centers served by the Southern Poverty Law Center was featured in a Summer 2018 Bulletin story.