Eli Plenk

Cambridge, MA

HIA Program:

Germany Germany 2013


Eli grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but spent bits and pieces of his childhood in Salt Lake City and New York. He began his undergraduate studies at Reed College before transferring to Hampshire. At Hampshire he crafted an interdisciplinary concentration that focused on the politics of difference with an emphasis on histories of race and racialization in the U.S. He graduated in spring of 2013 after writing a thesis on postnationalism, geographies of identity, and the role of spatial practice in social justice work. Eli has an extensive background in community organizing. He got his start in middle school when he helped lead a statewide boycott Massachusetts’ high stakes test and since then has organized with migrant communities, youth, prisoners, and a variety of other populations. He regularly runs workshops designed to equip students with the tools they need to get their voices heard in the political arena, and recently contributed to a book on the topic. When not in New York he can often be found at Boston Mobilization; a leadership school and organizing community for progressive young people that he helps run. Aside from his work there, Eli has taught at the Highlander Center, served as a fellow at the Media Institute for Social Change, and organized with the New York Reentry Education Network. He currently works at the Prisoner Reentry Institute, teaching English at Queensboro Correctional Facility and working with New York's prison system to expand access to education behind bars. Beyond organizing and teaching, Eli is interested in journalism, art, and design. He loves maps, bright colors, the founding fathers, and 90’s pop.

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