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David C. Turner III


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 youth-based 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 through PolicyLink 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 surveys, most notably as a member of the research team with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and the People’s Budget. 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.  



University of California, Berkeley

Graduate School of Education

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Social and Cultural Studies in Education (Education and Social Change Focus)

August 2021


University of Pennsylvania

Graduate School of Education

Master of Science in Education

Higher Education 

Completed May 2014


California State University, Dominguez Hills

Department of Africana Studies

Bachelor of Arts

Minor in Sociology

Cum Laude

Completed August 2013


Current Employment

Assistant Professor of Black Life and Racial Justice, Department of Social Welfare. 


Luskin School of Public Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles

Fellowships and Grants


Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies

University of California, Los Angeles

Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow

John W. Mack Movement Building Fellowship

Weingart Foundation (2019-2020) - $25,000

Eugene Cota Robles Fellowship for Doctoral Study (2014 - 2018): UC Berkeley - $140,090


Data Fellowship for the Alliance for Boy and Men of Color (2019-2020): Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition - Skills and Network-Based Fellowship



Liberty Hill Foundation. Safety and Youth Justice Community Survey (2019): Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition [grantee] - $150,000


Mervyn M. Dymally African American Political and Economic Institute. Understanding Black Male Political Identity in Community-Based Context (2017-2018): Social Justice Learning Institute [grantee] - $20,000




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