SWS Congratulates the 2021 Winter Social Actions Initiative Award Winners – Dr. Brittany P. Battle, Dr. Ziwei Qi, and Dr. Kelly Grace

Congratulations to the 2021 Winter SWS Social Actions Initiative Award Winners

Dr. Brittany P. Battle, Dr. Ziwei Qi, and Dr. Kelly Grace

In 2016, SWS Council approved the Social Action Committee’s (SAC) proposal to support more direct social action of SWS members. The Social Actions Initiative Awards provide a way for the SAC to directly support and encourage the social activism of SWS members.  Awards are given out twice per year on a competitive basis until funds run out. The social actions represented by this initiative are central to advancing the mission of SWS. All three of the award winners this funding cycle will receive $1,000 to support their social activism projects. Special thanks go to the Social Actions Initiative Award Subcommittee: Dr. Ruth M. Hernández-Rios (Outgoing Chair), Rosalind Kichler, and Dr. Kristy Kelly.

Photo of Dr. Brittany P. Battle

Dr. Brittany P. Battle is a scholar-activist and an Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Her research interests include social and family policy, courts, social justice, and carceral logics. She teaches courses on social justice in the social sciences, reimagining the criminal legal system, and courts & criminal procedure. She is currently working on a book manuscript (under contract with NYU Press) titled “They’re Stealing My Opportunity to Be a Father:” The Child Support System and State Intervention in the Family, which examines the experiences of parents involved in the child support system using courtroom observations and interviews. The project illuminates the ways that the child support system functions as a neoliberal construct at the intersection of the welfare and criminal justice systems. Dr. Battle is also the co-founder of Triad Abolition Project, a grassroots organization working to dismantle the carceral state, and the Forsyth County Police Accountability & Reallocation Coalition, a collective of grassroots organizations in her area working to defund law enforcement budgets and refund the community. In the summer, Triad Abolition Project organized a 49-day occupation in downtown Winston Salem to secure changes in the county law enforcement agency in response to the murder of John Neville by sheriff’s deputies in the local detention center.

The award will fund the “Defund, Transform, Abolish?: Reimagining Justice in the Era of Mass Incarceration Workshop Series.” This series of workshops will train local community organizers and supporters in the traditions of restorative justice (micro-level), transformative justice (macro-level), and abolition. Approximately 15 participants including university undergraduate and graduate students, K-12 educators, activists, and community members will receive materials to read and engage with during the 10-week series. The workshops will serve as a transformative educational and training experience to provide participants with foundational frameworks for understanding abolition and practicing restorative justice. This education and training will ultimately contribute to the community-building needed to support new methods of accountability that move away from carceral systems of punishment and expand communities of care.



Photo of Dr. Ziwei Qi

Dr. Ziwei Qi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. She has a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the University of North Dakota and a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from St. Cloud State University. Dr. Qi has been actively engaged in research involving gender-based violence, rural criminology, restorative justice, and social entrepreneurship in the criminal justice system. She is one of the co-founders of the Center for Empowering Gender-based Violence, a research and service center based in rural Kansas.

The award will fund the “ Breaking the Cycle of Violence—Addressing Economic Independence for Survivors of Gender-based Violence in Rural Communities.” Four organizations will lead the one-day teach-in virtual workshop in April 2021. They are Colorado/Kansas-based and survivor-centered social enterprises providing housing, job training, and employment to women survivors. During the workshop, we introduce ways to provide both employment and residential assistance to survivors, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the end, audiences will participate in the discussion and propose ideas to providing sustainable support through job training, employment, and safe housing to help survivors to regain control of their life in Hays, Kansas, and beyond.



Photo of Dr. Kelly Grace

Dr. Kelly Grace is an independent researcher, consultant and visiting scholar at Drexel University focusing on gender issues in education in Cambodia.  She holds a PhD in Comparative and International Education from Lehigh University, where her dissertation used structural equation modeling (SEM) to analyze the impact of early childhood education programs on Cambodian mothers’ justifications of child abuse.  Her primary research interest examines barriers related to gender in early childhood education and primary school programs, with an interest in Chbab Srey, or rules for women, and how this impacts educational experiences.  She also works broadly in the area of gender in education K-12 and university settings. Dr. Grace supports the development of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) systems for education programs, specializes in project data management and analysis, and develops and implements trainings in both gender and M&E in educational settings.  While her contextual area of expertise is the Cambodian education system, she also works with large international organizations on cross-context projects.

The award will fund the first Society of Gender Professionals (SGP) Circles Symposium in March 2021. SGP “Circles,” or chapters of members, work in specific thematic/geographic areas, to network, collaborate and provide professional development for feminist academics/practitioners/activists. Circles conduct applied research, develop South-South collaborations for feminist action, and work together to raise the profile of gender expertise around the world. Circles membership is international, with leadership mostly from the Global South, who work in underserved contexts and with minoritized communities. Together, they bring marginalized voices to international arenas.


Social Actions Initiative Awards: The Social Action Initiative Awards is the Social Action Committee’s effort to directly support and encourage the activism of SWS members. Awards are given out twice per year. The next deadline is April 1, 2021.
Here is the direct link to apply: https://sws.memberclicks.net/awardsapril2021
To learn more about SWS awards please visit our website https://socwomen.org/awards/