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About Us

COURAGEOUS RI is a media literacy program to reduce the hate that leads to violence by building a coalition of empowered people who recognize, analyze, and resist harmful forms of expression and communication.


The program is an initiative of the Media Education Lab, whose mission is to improve the practice of digital and media literacy education through scholarship and community service.

The University of Rhode Island received a grant for COURAGEOUS RI from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships, opportunity number DHS-22-TTP-132-00-01.

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The Courageous Journey

COURAGEOUS RI is a three-part initiative over two years, during which time we will aim to reduce the hate that leads to violence by building a coalition of empowered people who recognize, analyze, and resist harmful forms of expression and communication. That coalition will be built through: 


  1. Courageous Conversations: Community dialogues that bring people together to advance media literacy and deep listening.

  2. Professional Development Program: Lesson plans and a supportive online community for educators who help students apply media literacy competencies in civic education.

  3. Youth Media ContestA youth multimedia contest that offers prizes to high school and college students for their creative and inspiring media messages. 

Man and Heart
Gold Star Progam

Leadership Incentives 

Courageous Rhode Island includes opportunities designed to develop leadership in the use of media literacy and active listening strategies as a "whole-of-society" method to prevent the fear and hate that leads to violence.  

The Ripple Effect 

You can replicate a Courageous Conversations program for a school, library, church, workplace, or another community context. Participants who implement one discussion program get a $50 stipend and receive $50 for every subsequent session, up to a maximum payment of $300. 

Community Bloggers 

Write a blog post about a topic or issue relevant to Courageous Conversations. If your work is accepted for publication, you will receive a $250 stipend. 

Courageous Rhode Island Professional Development Program

We select 50 middle school, high school, or college educators to participate in a 10-hour online PD program (consisting of 6 one-hour online programs plus independent reading, viewing and other work. Participants  receive a $500 stipend and are expected to implement at least 1 learning activity with their students. 

Courageous Youth Voice Student Media Contest

Courageous Youth Voice is a student media contest that awards $7,000 in prizes, including a $1,000 grade prize award.

Gold Star Members


Cleo Allen

Polly Allen

Caroline Budnick

Paul Cook

Bobbie Eisenstock

Craig Evans

DeWolf Fulton

Phoebe Hall

Joanne Harris

Barbara Harrison

Karen Henninger

Charles Hensey

Bobbi Houllahan

Lisa Iannucci

Caroline Inlow

Pat Jaehnig

Anchal Jain

Colleen Kenyon

Sum Kung

Emily Le May

Jennifer Lima

Pamela Mann

Lauren McClanahan

Cameron McKinley

Grace Pigozzi

Elyse Rhodes

Jennifer Romans

Samanthe Sheffer

David Sok

Sochan Sok

Jennifer Stich

Camilla Streeter

Claudia Summer

Gregory Thompson

Cornelia Trahan

Amber Wessies

Christine Williams

Gold Star Members

131 people from across Rhode Island, the United States, and around the world became Courageous Leaders by partticipating in this program in 2023. 


Donna Alvermann

Laurie Gaddis Barrett

Ramona Bass-Kolobe

Michael Bilow

Elayne Burke

Karen Henninger

Barbara Holtzman

Mary Mazza

Jeffrey Perrone

Sarah Trudeau

Christine Williams


Carissa Anderson

Brittany Barbato

Christopher Barton

Diane Q Beltran

Alan Berry

Dawn Brew

Robert Burns

Carol Byrne

Karl Charles

Jeffrey Crawford

Laura Davis

Shawn Domgaard

Laura Hosley

Cedric Huntley

Kathleen Jackson

Jessie Kingston

William Kimes

Martha Kuhlman

Madeline Labriola

Rachel Lawrence

Laura Laurence

Maureen Mann

Carissa Moglia

MJ Moriarty

Luisa Murillo

Amy Neilson

Mary O’Connor

Steffanie Padilla

Fernando Oliveira Paulino

Carrie Perez

Annalisa Raymer

Catharine Reznicek

Avelina Rocchio

Tara Ronda

Melanie Roy

Jacqueline Schulz

Fidelia Sok

Morgan Sowers

Ardian Shajkovci

Cheryl Space

Rosemary Smith

Fran Sterling

Jennifer Stevens

Natalie Velez-Millan

William Yang

Perizat Yelubayeva

Etta Zasloff


Jordan Abelson

Hakim Coggins

Sue Ellen Christian

Amy Crawford

Cheryl Crowder

Sneha Dhakan

Katie Dosch

Tricia Driscoll

Michelle Freeman

Abbey Greene

Ash Gopalani

Wendy Gustavel

Jos Howles

Mary Ellen Iatropoulos

michelle l

Kent Lenci

Karen Martell

Katie McNamara

Susan Morettini

Pamela Morris

Ruth Ristich

David Robinson

Michelle Schillinger

Ginger Sharbel

Lindsay Wesner

Mia Whitfield


Small Group Discussion


Rachel Balaban

Lee Clasper-Torch

Shawn Domgaard

Betty Finn

Elizaveta Friesem

Carolyn Fortuna

Charles Hensey

Renee Hobbs

Pat Jaehnig

Yamaya Jean

Colleen Kenyon

April Leach

Shane Lee

Karen Markin

Mary Moen

Jess Michelson

Catherine Morris

Dawens Northecide

Nancy Richman

Tori Saia

Pam Steager

Julianna Soscia

Bob Van Oosterhout

Invite Us to Speak to Your Group

Invite us to offer a Courageous Conversation program or workshop to your community  

Team Members

Renee Hobbs
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Pam Steager
Catherine Morris
Yamaya Jean
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Mary Moen
Julianna Soscia
Dawens Northecide
Boris Hrncic
Wendy Gustavel
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Benjamin Thevenin
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John Palella
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Kent Lenci

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Join Our Coalition

A motivated coalition of Rhode Islanders can step beyond an us-vs-them mentality, work to develop a common understanding of pressing social problems, share the skills to critically analyze media messages, defuse hate, and prevent extremist violence.

Is your organization ready to join our coalition?


Contact Pam for more information: 

Rhode Island Civic Learning Coalition

Rhode Island Department of Public Health

Rhode Island Secretary of State

Rhode Island National Guard

Rhode Island Council for the Humanities

Rhode Island Fusion Center

Rhode Island School Superintendents Association

Rhode Island Department of Education

Rhode Island Public Broadcasting

Unitarian Universalists of South County

Bethel AME Ministers Alliance

Moms Demand 

Jewish Community 


RI Commission on Prejudice and Bias

Jewish Community 

U.S. Attorney's Office

Providence Student Union

Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Rhode Island State Council on the Arts

Rhode Island Civic Readiness Task Force

Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence

University of Rhode Island 

Rhode Island State Police

Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Angels RI

Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy

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