Empathy and Social Justice: The Power of Proximity in Improvement Science

May 23, 20191 min read

In this article from the Carnegie Commons Blog, Leandra Fernandez reflects on Bryan Stevenson’s 2016 keynote address from the Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education.

Stevenson, the Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, has decades of experience fighting poverty and challenging discrimination in the criminal justice system. His speech offered insights for working towards equity, including the idea of how being "proximate" to suffering helps us understand the nuanced experiences of those who experience inequality.  

Fernandez takes the idea of proximity and connects it to improvement science, stating "You cannot be an effective problem-solver from a distance. There are details and nuances to problems that you will miss unless you are close enough to observe those details."

Read the full post for more on Stevenson's speech and on why empathy is a critical component of improvement science.

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