Mission Statement


Progressive Pupil makes Black studies for everybody by creating and sharing documentary films and social media that expand knowledge about the history, cultures and politics of communities of African descent, promote civic engagement and encourage collaboration between activists, students, scholars, artists, teachers and their allies.




Participants in the New Leaders for Social Change program Fall 2013

Participants in the New Leaders for Social Change program Fall 2013

Progressive Pupil was founded at Williams College in 2006 to increase knowledge about Black communities and promote civic participation that addresses racial inequality and advances social justice.

Shortly after it was founded, Progressive Pupil produced its first documentary film Beautiful Me(s), which stimulated discussions at film festivals and colleges throughout the US, Canada and in Cannes about the experiences of students of color. After moving to Santa Clara University’s Ethnic Studies Program in 2007, the organization implemented an undergraduate internship program for students who are committed to promoting diversity during their careers.  The same year the organization completed its first digital public humanities project, beautifulmes.com, in collaboration with Design Action Collective.

Since finding a home at The New School in 2011, Progressive Pupil has experienced an exciting period of growth. Its Social Media Education program—which currently includes the blog The Progress as well as the organization’s Facebook page and twitter feed—now reaches 50,000 unique viewers per week on average in over 120 countries.  The internships have expanded to become the New Leaders for Social Change program, which mentors graduate students pursuing careers advancing social change in the fields of nonprofit management, interactive design and documentary filmmaking.

Currently, Progressive Pupil is distributing the award-winning, critically acclaimed documentary feature, Black and Cuba, to libraries, colleges and universities, high schools, and museums throughout the US and internationally.  In addition to being available on Kanopy (Netflix for colleges) and DVD, it will be accessible via Itunes, Amazon, and Google Play in 2016.

Progressive Pupil also produces the transmedia project 9 GRAMS, a play, book, documentary film, and interactive experience that explores the impact of mass incarceration and solitary confinement on Black women and members of the LGBTQ community. Emmy award-winner S. Epatha Merkerson serves as director of the play and a fellow producer of the project. The play was selected as part of the Pride Theater Festival in New York City July 2016.


Progressive Pupil
511 Avenue of the Americas No. 399
New York, NY 10011