Hannah Cornfield is from Nashville, Tennessee, where she began learning about the Southern Civil Rights Movement and the Black Freedom Movement from multi-generational activists and organizers. A first-year doctoral student in Social Welfare, Hannah is interested in understanding how generational differences in exposure to state violence impact our political identity formation and attitude toward social movements, particularly around prison industrial complex abolition and anti-zionism. Hannah is interested in working with movement-based organizations to study interventions for transforming intergenerational tension around abolition movements and interrupting cycles of oppression. She is especially interested in using participatory action research methods as a means to address state-sanctioned, structural harm and build accountable communities.
Prior to UCLA, Hannah served as the founding Senior Manager of Social Justice & Advocacy at YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee. She worked closely with the organization’s domestic violence shelter and youth development programs to advocate on local and state levels to end racialized and gender-based violence. Hannah also organized with Southerners on New Ground for prison abolition and queer liberation through campaigns to end cash bail and pretrial detention; and co-founded Nashville Jews for Justice.
Hannah received her BA from Pitzer College in 2012 and wrote her sociology honors thesis on the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike; and earned her AM from University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration in 2017. As a master’s student, Hannah gained experience facilitating trauma-informed, school-based group counseling for high school youth; and in local, grassroots coalition building on racial and economic justice issues. Before earning her masters, Hannah worked as a field organizer in rural Virginia on the 2012 Obama presidential campaign and worked at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, supporting the field team on national education equity and voting rights campaigns.