j  leggett
advocate for social change



I am a socio-legal scholar and educator. My research examines how language influences rights consciousness and legal mobilization, particularly among marginalized communities. I earned a B.A. in Political Science (Honors with Distinction) from the University of Washington. I received a Law Degree (J.D.) from Seattle University in Washington State. I was a visiting student at CUNY Law School and Penn State Dickinson School of Law Comparative Law Program in Florence, Italy where I focused on public legal education and comparative human rights. I have managed political campaigns, worked as a community organizer, and have given talks on immigration policies, environmental law & politics, race & equity challenges in teaching and topics in criminal justice involving rights consciousness.  I currently teach Constitutional Law (CRJ 66) and U.S. Judiciary (CRJ 67) and have taught Environmental Politics (Pol 58) at Kingsborough and at Barnard College. I am the Director of Civic Engagement at Kingsborough Community College. My publications have covered topics including critical constitutionalism, culturally responsive teaching, fake news and participatory democracy, engendering civic identity and agency through dialogue, political ecology and democratic theory through intersectional, socio-legal analysis, rights consciousness and legal mobilization, critical participatory action research, and equitable assessment practices. I am a co-curator of the UnhomelessNYC Art Exhibition and Abortion: Critique the Constitution Kit.

I am most interested in how disempowered social groups use rights talk as a way to mobilize against injustice. As a professor at an urban community college, I am able to learn with a diverse population that represent some of those most common forms of discrimination in everyday life. These dialogues help us deconstruct systemic inequity and reconstruct new knowledge about possible alternatives together.

As an educator, I have the role-power to design specific interactions in and out of the classroom envirionment. I call these intentional designs structured learning opportunities.

I have engaged in this work for over 20 years. This journey has not been – what most would describe as traditional or linear – path. I was the first in my immediate family to attend college, and came from a modest working-class family. For much of my post-high school education, I was a part-time student, working- full-time, and I took several breaks. At each turn in the journey, I experienced new ways of integrating my social justice interests with a variety of educational theories and methods.

This website serves to document some of this work and provide connections to new strains of inquiry.


Some Organizations I think you should consider working with:

Alpha-Artists Alliance: Click here to access website.

Grow in Haiti. Click here to access website.








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