Ellis Maxwell is a facilitative leader who takes a community-centered approach to public problem solving, bringing people together across real or perceived differences, and creating exemplary civil, civic discourse.
Ellis has played increasing leadership roles in the College’s peer-led “Customs” program, which builds a supportive residential community. In addition to –and often in conjunction with– his significant presence in these campus-based activities, Ellis engages with communities beyond the College to address issues of peace and justice. Ellis conceived and initiated opportunities to connect with those who are most directly impacted by current social conditions and perils, or who have reason to see that world from a different vantage in order to better understand those whose circumstances and worldviews have been shaped by experiences quite different from his own. Ellis’ curiosity about and respect of various perspectives, evident in all his work, demonstrates an ethical approach to social change work.
Ellis has contributed to the vibrancy and productivity of our campus conversations. In myriad concrete ways, Ellis has taken extraordinary, meaningful action on pressing global social issues, and we are proud to have him represent Haverford as a Newman Civic Fellow.
As a first-year student at Haverford College, I quickly became involved with an on-campus club called Rethink Incarceration, which organizes on-campus educational events and collaborates with other Philadelphia area organizers and groups to advocate for justice for all incarcerated people, and the abolition of prisons. In my work with Rethink Incarceration, I became connected with Let's Circle Up (LCU), an organization started by men incarcerated at since-closed SCI Graterford that leads restorative justice workshops both at Graterford (now at SCI Phoenix) and on the outside. I am connected in particular with Charles Boyd, an LCU organizer who remains incarcerated at SCI Phoenix, and the two of us are working towards creating space for artistic and literary collaboration between those inside and outside of prison walls. We are focusing on creative work that can be used to educate young people about the intersecting evils of capitalism, imperialism, and white supremacy, while encouraging young people to ask their own questions and engage their curiosity.