Dr. David C. Turner III is an Assistant Professor of Black Life and Racial Justice in the Department of Social Welfare at the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA. He is also a faculty affiliate with the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, and the associate director of the Million Dollar Hoods Project on campus. As an activist scholar from Inglewood, California, his research broadly focuses on social movements, political identity, and resistance to the prison regime. More specifically, Dr. Turner examines the ways that Black boys and young men work to resist the carceral landscape alongside their peers in community-based educational spaces. He has published numerous articles and book chapters, including manuscripts in the American Educational Research Journal, Theory Into Practice, Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics, The Journal of Research on Adolescence, and others. As a community organizer, Dr. Turner brings over a decade of movement-building experience to the classroom, having worked to negotiate and win demands for racial justice, secure funding, divest resources from carceral and harmful institutions, and coordinate actions across the state of California and the nation, all while teaching at both the K-12 and the postsecondary level.
Dr. Turner worked across LA County with boys and men of color as the manager of the Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition, where he co-led campaigns to change school discipline practices, support investments in youth development, and end policies and practices that lead to criminalization in communities of color. For his commitment to both advocacy-based research and grassroots leadership, Dr. Turner was selected as an inaugural fellow in the John W. Mack Movement Building Fellows Program with the Weingart Foundation and a Data Fellow with the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color and the Tableau Foundation. Dr. Turner currently serves as the senior advisor for the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color.
Dr. Turner has participated in the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) as a political education and research specialist, helping organizations with teach-ins, designing curricula, and community-based participatory action research, most notably as a member of the research team with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and the People’s Budget, and a co-founding member of the Police-Free LAUSD Coalition. Dr. Turner has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education, NBC BLK, the Los Angeles Times, Spectrum 1 News, and the New York Times for his activism and applied scholarship.
Ph.D., Social and Cultural Studies in Education, UC Berkeley
M.S.Ed. Higher Education, University of Pennsylvania
B.A. (Cum Laude) in Africana Studies, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Areas of Interests
Social movements, youth and community organizing, school discipline, juvenile and criminal justice, participatory action research, Black boys and men, Abolitionist Organizing
5240 Public Affairs Building
In the News
The People’s Budget on “Inside the Issues” with Alex Cohen. Spectrum 1 News Aired 5/15/2023
LA Coalition Report Urges Alternative Solutions to School Police on LAUSD Campuses (February 1st, 2023) San Fernando Valley Sun Times https://sanfernandosun.com/2023/02/01/la-coalition-report-urges-alternative-solutions-to-school-police-on-lausd-campuses/
Stop attacking activists — political change at City Hall wouldn’t exist without them (December 16th, 2022) Los Angeles Times https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-12-16/la-city-hall-political-shakeup-was-spurred-by-confrontation
Wake Up, Democrats. Don’t Let Republicans Own the Issue of Violent Crime (November 7th, 2022). Los Angeles Times https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-11-07/violent-crime-issue-midterm-elections-politics-republicans
Tableau Conference 2022 Feature – Dr. David C. Turner III
City Rising – Youth and Democracy. PBS Southern California. Aired 10/20/2020 https://www.pbssocal.org/programs/city-rising/city-rising-youth-democracy-xkjbp5/
Reflections on Race: A Closer Look at Racial and Social Equity. Aired 7/7/2020