[{"id":1,"name":"Adam Horowitz","thumbnail":"/Images/Fellowship/horowitz_adam.jpg","shortDescription":"Founder, U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC)","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\t\n\n

Adam Horowitz is an artist, instigator, and cultural organizer. He’s founder of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC), a grassroots action network inciting creativity and social imagination to shape a culture of empathy, equity, and belonging. He’s also a co-convener of Nuns & Nones, bringing Women Religious and Millennials together in new communities of contemplation and social action. Adam was co-executive director of the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC and has worked with numerous organizations at the intersection of arts, education, and social change—AshokaThe Future Project, and the International Folk Art Market, among others. He has traveled internationally as a theater-maker and researcher and was a 2010 Fulbright Scholar in Colombia, 2015 Artist in Residence at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at NYU, and 2017 Fellow with the Intercultural Leadership Institute.

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Project Description

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The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) is a people-powered department not a government agency —a grassroots action network inciting creativity and social imagination to shape a culture of empathy, equity, and belonging. The USDAC connects artists, organizers, and allies in an ever-expanding learning community by sharing vital information and creative tactics, taking action together, and devising cultural policies and programs to catalyze profound culture shifts in the service of social and environmental justice.

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Since 2014, the USDAC has engaged more than 30,000 people across generations and geographies in participatory, arts-based community dialogues and actions. In this next chapter, the USDAC will build on the foundation of its first years to strengthen network infrastructure and support ongoing engagement, learning, and connection for the tens of thousands of artists, organizers, culture bearers, city officials, concerned community members, and others who recognize that cultural organizing and creative civic engagement are more critical than ever in addressing pressing social and environmental issues.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267326369"},{"id":2,"name":"Ajay Chaudhary","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/chaudhary_ajay.jpg","shortDescription":"Founding & Executive Director, Brooklyn Institute for Social Research","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Ajay Singh Chaudhary is the founding and executive director of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research and a member of the core faculty specializing in social and political theory. He holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University’s MESAAS department and Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and an M.Sc. in Culture and Society from the London School of Economics. His research focuses on social and political theory, comparative philosophy, Frankfurt School critical theory, religion, political economy, media studies, and post-colonial studies. He has written for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Quartz, Social Text, Dialectical Anthropology, The Jewish Daily Forward, The Public Eye, Filmmaker Magazine, and 3quarksdaily, among other venues.

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Project Description

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The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research is an interdisciplinary teaching and research institute that offers critical, community-based education in the humanities and social sciences in six states. Working in partnership with local businesses and cultural organizations, we integrate rigorous but accessible scholarly study with the everyday lives of working adults and re-imagine scholarship for the 21st century.

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In 2018, Ajay will be working in three key areas. First, identifying new partnerships, new locations, and new, more sustainable models for Brooklyn Institute for Social Research [BISR] ‘s Network program. Second, expanding the work BISR has begun with political, labor, community, and other organizers and activists through our Praxis program. Throughout this past year, BISR has held workshops, study sessions, evening discussions, and created materials with and for several non-profit, labor, political, and community organizers. Third, and most importantly, Ajay will foster the long-term sustainability of BISR. BISR is more than five years old and has holds more than 90 classes a year for approximately 1,500 students. We are proud of the work we have done so far and that we have done it while financially supporting our broad faculty’s work in the public sphere but for BISR’s long-term sustainability we must both enhance our existing strengths in our fee-based (even while lower cost) model while building out a more traditional non-profit development plan.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267326746"},{"id":3,"name":"Alicia Garza","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/garza_alicia.jpg","shortDescription":"Strategy + Partnerships Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Alicia Garza is an organizer, writer, and freedom dreamer. She is the Strategy + Partnerships Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the nation’s leading voice for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States. She is also the co-creator of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, and the Principal of the Black Futures Lab. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her organizing work, including the Root 100 2015 and 2016 list of African-American achievers and influencers. She was also featured in the Politico50 guide to the thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics in 2015. She lives and works in Oakland, California.

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Project Description

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The Black Futures Lab transforms Black communities into constituencies that wield independent, progressive Black political power. The challenges facing Black communities are complex–the solutions require innovation, experimentation, and political power. Our first project is to launch the Black Census project in February 2018, engaging 200,000 Black people about how we understand the toughest challenges facing our communities and what we envision for our futures.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267327083"},{"id":4,"name":"Alicia Nieves","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/nieves_alicia.jpg","shortDescription":"Co-Founder & Project Lead, Streetwide","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Alicia Nieves is the co-founder and project lead at Streetwide. Before founding Streetwide, Alicia was a legal fellow with Justfix.nyc, a housing tech nonprofit in New York City where she helped low-income tenants use the Justfix web application to build affirmative legal cases against their neglectful and abusive landlords. Alicia is a 2016 graduate of New York University School of Law, where she was a Latina/o Human Rights Scholar and staff editor for the NYU Journal of Legislation and Public Policy. Her previous work experience includes positions at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, New Economy Project, Atl.Legal, and FWD.us. Her work centers on developing technology and protocols for mobilizing disadvantaged communities.

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Project Description

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Streetwide is a nonprofit project leveraging technology and data for immigrant communities. The awarding-winning software allows allies and impacted communities to work together to deliver emotional and legal support to individuals and their loved ones impacted by immigration arrest and deportation. As a Roddenberry Fellow, Alicia will continue to work closely with immigrant communities across the country to provide technology, organizing resources, and data analytics to a growing number of community-led rapid response programs now emerging across the United States to protect and support immigrants impacted by the acceleration of arrests and deportations. Her approach leverages technology and data to facilitate grassroots organizing and advocacy.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267327319"},{"id":5,"name":"Beka Economopoulos","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/economopoulos_beka.jpg","shortDescription":"Environmental Justice Activist","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Beka Economopoulos has been an environmental justice activist for nearly 20 years. She is a co-founder of The Natural History Museum, a traveling museum and museum transformation project, a founding member of the social justice arts collective Not An Alternative, and co-organizer and Board Member of the 2017 March for Science. Beka’s experience in sustainability advocacy includes serving as the Director of Online Organizing at Greenpeace, and as the Director of Strategy at Fission Strategy, where clients included the United Nations Foundation and the Global Climate Change Alliance.

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Beka co-created the museum in 2014 as a project of Not An Alternative, a non-profit organization that has worked at the intersection of art, activism, and pedagogy since 2004. Not An Alternative was recently named in the NY Times and ArtNet’s “Best in Art in 2015” round-ups. The group’s installations, performances, and presentations have been featured within art institutions such as Guggenheim, PS1/MOMA, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Queens Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Tate Modern, Victoria & Albert Museum, MOCAD, and Museo del Arte Moderno, and in the public sphere, where they collaborate with community groups and activist mobilizations.

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Project Description

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To expand the consensus for ecological and equitable development, and inspire a new generation of solutions and leaders, The Natural History Museum (NHM) is unleashing the power of museums. NHM is a mobile exhibition and event producer that supports community-led land and water defense and spurs scientists and museums to respond to environmental challenges, including climate change and fossil fuel extraction.

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In a time marked by a discrediting of journalists, professors, scientists, and other public voices, museums remain highly trusted sources of knowledge and perspectives. The Natural History Museum functions as an independent “skunkworks” for the museum sector— enabling museums to try new forms of collaborations and public engagement programming, use their influence, and increase their relevance. In partnership with the Lummi Nation and Native Organizers Alliance, we have launched a multi-year program featuring Indigenous-led environmental justice struggles in exhibits, events, and online. We research, publish and present; organize workshops, symposia, and coalitions; and provide consulting to museum professionals on strategies for developing exhibitions and programs.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267327504"},{"id":6,"name":"Caroline Bettinger-López","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/bettinger-lopez_caroline.jpg","shortDescription":"Professor of Clinical Legal Education & Director of the Human Rights, University of Miami School of Law","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\t\n\n

Caroline (“Carrie’) Bettinger-López is a Professor of Clinical Legal Education and Director of the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law. She also serves as an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Carrie recently completed a two-year term in the Obama Administration, where she served as the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, a senior advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, and a member of the White House Council on Women and Girls. At the White House, she spearheaded initiatives on campus sexual assault, law enforcement response to gender violence, rape kit testing, trauma-informed responses to immigrant women and children, and violence against Indigenous women and girls.

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Carrie’s human rights work focuses on gender equality, racial justice, and immigrants’ rights, principally in the United States and Latin America. She regularly litigates and advocates before the Inter-American Human Rights system, the United Nations, federal and state courts, and legislative bodies. Previously, Carrie taught at University of Chicago Law School and Columbia Law School; worked at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Women’s Rights Project; and taught in Miami Beach public schools and Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti.

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Project Description

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The COURAGE in Policing Project (COURAGE = Community Oriented and United Responses to Address Gender Violence and Equality) works with community-based organizations, police departments, and national leaders on gender violence and policing to enhance law enforcement response to domestic violence and sexual assault against women (especially women of color and immigrant women) and LGBTQI individuals. The project has both a local and national focus, and aims to promote, implement, and coordinate the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) groundbreaking 2015 Guidance on Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.

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Working in close coordination with law enforcement, the COURAGE in Policing Project connects the dots between local and national advocacy on gender violence, racial and immigrant justice, and LGBTQI rights. Although domestic and sexual violence calls for service comprise the majority of 911 calls to many police departments, law enforcement response to gender violence is often not prioritized accordingly. Additionally, our national conversation about bias in policing has tended to focus on race and national origin, not sex or gender. This project aims to fill those gaps by developing model policies, training, supervision protocols, and systems of accountability for law enforcement response to domestic violence and sexual assault.

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As we collectively experience this current watershed moment on gender violence in the U.S., we must think creatively about how to move from #MeToo to #RealChange.  A coordinated and systematic response to gender violence in every sector—including law enforcement—is needed to create lasting change.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267327945"},{"id":7,"name":"Cristina Tzintzún","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/tzintzun_cristina.jpg","shortDescription":"Founder & Executive Director, Jolt Initiative","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Cristina Tzintzún is the founder and Executive Director of the Jolt Initiative that is winning Latinos in Texas the power and respect they deserve. She is a nationally recognized advocate and leader in the Latino and immigrant rights fields. She was named “Hero of the New South” by Southern Living Magazine and one of the top ten changemakers in the Lone Star State by the Texas Observer and hailed by the New York Times for her success with Workers Defense Project (WDP). At 24 Cristina co-founded WDP and helped pass half a dozen local and state laws to protect the rights of hundreds of thousands of workers. Cristina is the author of the book “Presente! Latino Immigrant Voices in the Struggle for Racial Justice” and other works on race, class and gender.

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Project Description

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Jolt Initiative seeks to defend the rights of immigrant and Latinx families in Texas, while simultaneously developing a culture of civic engagement needed to build a democracy where Latinx and immigrant families are included and their needs represented. Jolt Initiative brings undocumented immigrants and citizens together, investing in the leadership of young Latinx needed to shift the state and country in favor of inclusive immigration and racial justice policy. Today, 37% of the Texas Latinx population is under age 17. Jolt Initiative organizes young Latinx through cultural and digital organizing strategies that bring Latinx together and give them the tools to advocate for an inclusive immigrant and racial justice agenda at the local, state and federal level.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267328159"},{"id":8,"name":"Dominic Frongillo","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/frongillo_dominic.jpg","shortDescription":"Co-Founder, Elected Officials to Protect New York","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Dominic Frongillo made history at age 22 by becoming the youngest person ever to serve on the Town Council in Caroline, New York. Elected to two terms, Frongillo served as one of the youngest deputy town supervisors in the state.  

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A six-time delegate to the United Nations and internationally recognized for his work on climate change and clean energy, in 2012, Frongillo co-founded Elected Officials to Protect New York, the successful bipartisan initiative of nearly 1,000 local lawmakers that helped win New York’s statewide ban on fracking. Frongillo is trained by Vice President Al Gore, served under Governor David Paterson on New York’s Climate Action Plan advisory panel, and is a national trainer for the Young Elected Officials Network and Front Line Leaders Academy.

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Frongillo’s work has been featured in international media including CNN, the BBC, New York Times, Washington Point, and US World & News Reports. Frongillo appeared in Dear Governor Cuomo. A finalist for the national Barbara Jordan Leadership Award, author Jeff Thigpen named Frongillo one of America’s 16 most notable young elected leaders. Frongillo is an Environmental Leadership Program Senior Fellow and inaugural member of the Young Climate Leaders Network.

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Project Description

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Founded in 2015 by a national team of current and former elected officials, EOPA has successfully mobilized hundreds of state and local lawmakers from nearly all states. At the United Nations COP21 Paris climate negotiations, they released a national sign-on letter from over 350 lawmakers from 46 states calling for 100% clean energy by 2050. Now, EOPA is expanding to work on bold policy and political actions at the state and local levels across the country.

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EOPA is modeled after Elected Officials to Protect New York (EOPNY), a nonpartisan initiative of local officials that was central in the fight over fracking in New York State. EOPNY organized over 850 lawmakers from all 62 counties across the state and political spectrum. As a peer-to-peer network, EOPA harnesses the tremendous power of elected officials standing together and empowers bolder, more impactful climate action. By raising the bar for climate leadership, the goal is to create transformative change and give voice to front-line environmental justice communities.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267328319"},{"id":9,"name":"Jimmy Dahman","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/dahman_jimmy.jpg","shortDescription":"","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Jimmy Dahman was born and raised just outside of Youngstown, OH. As a senior in high school in 2008, he was inspired by the historic election of President Obama and went on to study Political Science at Kent State University. After graduation, Jimmy organized numerous electoral and issue campaigns across more than ten states. Most recently in 2016, he managed a team of 70 staff, hundreds of fellows, and thousands of volunteers that worked to turn out voters in Ohio’s most populous county for Hillary Clinton.

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After the 2016 election, while brainstorming ways to engage citizens in politics in non-election years, he came up with the idea for Town Hall Project. Throughout 2017 he worked with friends and former colleagues to create this resource and use it to further promote civic engagement.

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Project Description

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Town Hall Project empowers constituents across the country to have face-to-face conversations with their elected representatives. We are campaign veterans and first time volunteers. We come from a diversity of backgrounds and live across the country. We share progressive values and believe strongly in civic engagement. We research every district and state for public events with members of Congress. Then we share our findings to promote participation in the democratic process.

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As a fellow Jimmy will continue, and expand upon, his work at Town Hall Project. Town Hall Project seeks to empower constituents across the country to have face-to-face conversations with their elected representatives. In 2018, they plan to expand into targeted state legislatures to provide constituents with even more opportunities to show up and make their voices heard. They also plan to post campaign events, forums, and debates where voters can ask questions and learn more about candidates’ positions. Lastly, they will continue to find new ways to mobilize people to events, hold elected officials accountable, and raise accessibility as an important issue in 2018.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267328565"},{"id":10,"name":"Jonathan Lykes","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/lykes_jonathan.jpg","shortDescription":"Policy Analyst, Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP)","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Jonathan Lykes is a Black queer artist, activist and policy analyst. He currently works at the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) as a Policy Analyst and is the National Youth Organizer for the getR.E.A.L Initiative, addressing disproportionality and disparities that affect Black and brown LGBTQ and gender non-conforming youth impacted by the oppressive actions of deep-end systems. Jonathan’s interdisciplinary approach to art, activism and anti-oppression work, merges policy change, artistic expression and activism to create awareness, promote personal healing, surmount institutional barriers and generate systemic change.

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Jonathan’s current position as the Project Lead and National Youth Organizer of the getR.E.A.L Initiative, situates him to merge his multidisciplinary artistic background with public policy reform, community engagement and systems change work. Jonathan currently serves as Co-chair for the National Board of Directors for Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100-C4) and is also the Artistic Director for BYP100’s freedom song and chant album, The Black Joy Experience, helping to teach holistic energy through the Black radical tradition. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago, where he also received his master’s degree from the School for Social Service Administration.

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Project Description

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Jonathan Lykes is working to sustain systems of liberation for Queer Black and Brown people as the Co-founder for the Keeping Ballroom Community Alive Network (KBCAN) and a member of the House of Garcon. KBCAN will educate and advocate through radical love by addressing trauma, emphasizing holistic healing, protecting safe and sacred space, and intentionally lifting up the self-care and self-determination of the House and Ballroom Community.

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Lykes will be further developing the work of KBCAN, which seeks to actualize liberation through confronting systemic oppression by building power, organizing House/Ballroom styled direct actions, and connecting the House and Ballroom Community to resources. The House and Ball community (i.e. ballroom scene) is a national subculture comprised of Black and Latinx LGBTQ youth and adults. Evolving from Harlem drag balls throughout the Harlem Renaissance (1930’s), ballroom provides a platform, which celebrates all forms of gender and sexual expression. The House and Ball scene provides many youth and adults with a chosen kinship structure through which collective impact, resiliency and vital resources are obtained.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267328747"},{"id":11,"name":"Kimberly Peeler-Allen","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/peeler-allen_kimberly.jpg","shortDescription":"Co-founder, Higher Heights","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Kimberly Peeler-Allen has been working at the intersection of race, gender and politics for almost 20 years. Kimberly is the Co-founder of Higher Heights, a national organization building the political power and leadership of Black women from the voting booth to elected office. A highly skilled political fundraiser and event planner, Kimberly was the principal of Peeler-Allen Consulting, LLC from 2003 to 2014, the only African American full-time fundraising consulting firm in New York State.

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After completing the 2002 gubernatorial campaign of H. Carl McCall where she served as the deputy finance director, Kimberly founded her New York City-based consulting firm to help develop capital for clients, organizations, and issues affecting people of color that have historically been kept outside of the mainstream.

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Kimberly served as finance director for Letitia James’ successful bid to become Public Advocate of the City of New York and the first African American woman elected citywide in New York’s history. In 2010, Kimberly was named to the Crain’s New York Business 40 Under 40 list as well as named one of The Feminist Press’ 40 Under 40: The Future of Feminism.

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Project Description

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#BlackWomenVote is a nonpartisan voter-activism campaign powered by Higher Heights that will provide Black women with the resources and support to mobilize their networks to the voting booth and foster conversations to discuss how we can make sure that the impact and influence of Black women is recognized on Election Day. We believe that convening in-person conversations will provide deeper engagement over multiple election cycles and increase the civic participation of participation beyond Election Day.

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By providing unique spaces for Black women to discuss the challenges and opportunities to increase their own civic participation and the participation of their network we will help support sustained growth and participation in the electorate which creates a stronger democracy. In doing so, we can refine the guided conversation and add additional engagement methods to ensure that Black women’s civic participation expands beyond voting in presidential year elections only, to contacting their legislators at all levels of government about the issues and priorities that are important to them.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267328955"},{"id":12,"name":"Madison Hayes","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/hayes_madison.jpg","shortDescription":"Director, Refugee Community Partnership (RCP)","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Madison Hayes is a North Carolina native and the Director of the Refugee Community Partnership (RCP), where she works with refugee leaders to develop community-driven models for refugee support work in NC. After a decade of working in nonprofit, international NGO, and social service, Madison’s work is rooted in an analysis of social and institutional power and oppression to examine and transform relationships between service organizations and agencies and the communities they claim to serve. Madison believes that disenfranchised communities are the experts of their own experiences, and centers their wisdom and expertise particularly in dominant culture spaces.

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Before the RCP, Madison directed the community engagement office at the Center for AIDS Research, where she worked to educate about and challenge the legacies of exploitation between research institutions and the communities they research, and to develop more ethical relationships between them. Madison brings her popular education experience as a trainer in social justice, structural power and oppression, historical and economic disenfranchisement, and Critical Whiteness to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and mentors graduate and undergraduate students engaged in community service work.  

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Project Description

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Through long term relationship-based support, opportunity development, and cultural stewardship, the Refugee Community Partnership (RCP) enables and sustains the complex process of rebuilding home in a region with one of the worst economic disparities in North Carolina.

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RCP’s Bridge Builders initiative transforms a town and its residents into a powerful support infrastructure for refugee families. Bridge Builders mobilizes and trains local residents to serve as personal navigators, working alongside refugee families to address immediate needs and work toward long-term goals, like finding and retaining employment and housing; learning English while celebrating and preserving native languages; acquiring community navigation skills; improving academic performance among school aged youth; addressing food insecurity; and interacting with and navigating systems and institutions.

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Bridge Builders functions from the bottom up, with families identifying their own wants and needs for support, keeping Bridge Builders accountable to their own priorities. Bridge Builders’ dual-purpose mission is to develop a growing base of citizens who are equipped with a critical consciousness of systems of power, structural oppression, and social position. This results in the initiative’s topline strategy: to assist refugee families in addressing critical needs, while mobilizing residents to analyze and challenge the larger systemic forces that produce them.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267329145"},{"id":13,"name":"Malik Benjamin","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/benjamin_malik.jpg","shortDescription":"","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Malik Benjamin has dabbled in dance, music, design and technology but his greatest love is supporting people who actively build communities and the cities around them. Through REVGEN, a real estate, economic and community development initiative, he mobilizes his powerful network of designers, developers, and entrepreneurs to work with community leaders, politicians and residents to collectively invest in economically challenged areas threatened by climate change.

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Malik is a 2017 BMe Fellow, member of the inaugural Young American Leaders Program at Harvard Business School Class I 2015, former Knight Foundation Scholar, inaugural FIU Ashoka U Changemaker Faculty Fellow and Miami Foundation Fellow. He is a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Miami. He remains inspired by all the awesome troublemakers that taught him to rebel, disrupt and build.

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Project Description

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REVGEN is a national initiative that builds cross sector, multi-stakeholder networks to implement radical, innovative, economic and real estate development projects for economically challenged areas threatened by climate change. Our partners include community based organizations, M/W/DBE real estate development companies, progressive municipalities and socially conscious education/research institutions. REVGEN’s strategy includes: Transferring community ownership to residents and business owners; promoting 21st century workforce skills in underemployed communities with an emphasis on skills needed for green business; promoting economic viability at the individual and community level; building economic partnerships between like-minded yet geographically separated communities; building tourism networks between under-visited creatively and culturally interesting communities; and building digital platforms to enhance, not replace, local systems.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267329346"},{"id":14,"name":"Maria Yuan","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/yuan_maria.jpg","shortDescription":"Founder, IssueVoter","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Maria Yuan is the Founder of IssueVoter, a non-partisan platform that offers everyone a voice in our democracy by making civic engagement accessible, impactful, & efficient.

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Maria’s political experience includes introducing and passing a bill as a constituent, working in a State Representative’s office in Texas, and managing and winning one of the most targeted races in Iowa – an open seat in a swing district. Maria’s professional experiences include recruiting, social enterprise, investment banking, strategy, and corporate development. Maria has consulted the San Francisco Conservation Corps, PlaNet Finance, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Urban Outfitters. She has served on the boards of Gibney Dance and The University of Texas Co-Op, and was a founding member of Friends of the Children NY’s Young Professionals Board.

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Maria earned degrees from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania and The University of Texas at Austin. Maria’s writing has appeared in Huffington Post and The Hill, and she has spoken at SXSW, The Social Innovation Summit, Shearman & Sterling, UBS, NYU, and the University of Pennsylvania.

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Project Description

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IssueVoter is an innovative, non-partisan platform with a mission to give everyone a voice in our democracy by making civic engagement accessible, efficient, and impactful. The time between elections is when the work that impacts our lives gets done. IssueVoter answers the question, “The election is over, now what?” Individuals use IssueVoter to get alerts about new bills related to issues they care about, send opinions to their Representative before Congress votes, and track how often s/he represents them. Companies, organizations, and candidates partner with IssueVoter to encourage year-round civic engagement with their employees, customers, members, or constituents.

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Through IssueVoter, anyone can:

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  1. Stay Informed year-round: through targeted alerts before Congress votes on issues they care about – IssueVoter summarizes bills in plain language, along with what both sides are saying.
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  3. Make Your Voice Count: send an opinion directly to a rep – in just one click, and
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  5. Keep Politicians Accountable: Track a rep’s votes and bill outcomes – helping anyone make an informed decision at election time.
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IssueVoter is the only site that offers a truly personalized representative scorecard and has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, MTV, PBS, & more.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267329556"},{"id":15,"name":"Micah White","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/white_micah.jpg","shortDescription":"Co-Creator, Occupy Wall Street","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Micah White, PhD is an author, public speaker and lifelong activist who co-created Occupy Wall Street, a global social movement that spread to 82 countries, while an editor of Adbusters magazine.

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Micah’s first book, The End of Protest: A New Playbook for Revolution, was published in 2016 by Knopf Canada. His essays and interviews on the future of protest have been appeared internationally in periodicals including The New York Times, The Guardian, Folha de São Paulo, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. He has been a featured guest on major network television shows such as Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect, the BBC’s Newsnight and The National, Canada’s flagship nightly current affairs broadcast.

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Micah White is a sought after global speaker. He has delivered numerous lectures at prestigious universities—including Princeton, Swarthmore, Middlebury and the University of Chicago—along with cultural festivals and private events in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Indonesia and the United States.

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Widely recognized as a pioneer of social movement creation, Micah has been profiled by NPR’s Morning Edition, The New Yorker and The Guardian. In recognition of his contributions, Esquire named him one of the most influential young thinkers alive today.

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Project Description

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The Activist Graduate School is an online educational institution designed specifically for the needs of experienced activists who want to take their movement work to the next level. Our emphasis is on university caliber seminars on history, strategy and theory of social change through collective action.

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The difficulties faced by recent social movements in achieving immediate change, despite their tremendous speed and overwhelming size, is a sign that activism as a discipline must embark on a period of paradigmatic reevaluation. What is needed now more than ever is an educational institution that is designed specifically with the needs of experienced activists in mind: an environment where activists can collaboratively study in search of the next theory of change that will spark a successful transformative social movement.

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Activist Graduate school is a creative educational environment for the practical, urgent and important task of addressing the deep theoretical and strategic challenges facing social movement creators. Our mission is to enable activists to expand their repertoire of collective action and evolve how they approach the challenge of social change.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267329747"},{"id":16,"name":"Michael Leon Guerrero","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/guerrero_michael.jpg","shortDescription":"Executive Director, Labor Network for Sustainability (LNS)","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Michael Leon Guerrero is Executive Director of the Labor Network for Sustainability (LNS). He has over 30 years of experience as a community organizer and coordinator of national grassroots alliances. He was lead organizer and Executive Director of the SouthWest Organizing Project in Albuquerque, NM for 17 years, organizing local, state and regional campaigns resulting in progressive environmental and economic justice policies and cleanup of polluted sites. He served 8 years as National Coordinator of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ), connecting community-based organizations in the U.S. with international social movements to coordinate efforts on globalization, militarism and climate. He was Executive Director of UNITY, an initiative of six national economic justice networks. Michael was later National Coordinator of the Climate Justice Alliance, an effort led by environmental justice organizations working for a just transition from extractive industries to sustainable, living economies.

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Michael now serves on the Board of Greenpeace USA. He previously served on the Boards of Jobs with Justice and the New World Foundation. He was a member the National Coordinating Committee of the US Social Forum and a U.S. representative to the World Social Forum International Council.

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Project Description

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The Labor Network for Sustainability was founded as a vehicle to bridge the labor and environmental movements and work for an economic transition to a just, sustainable and climate safe future, or as we like to say, Making a Living on a Living Planet. Last year LNS launched an initiative titled the “Labor Convergence on Climate”. It is an initiative that brings together leaders and activists at all levels of the labor movement to develop worker-led strategies on climate change. Over the next year we plan to support local and state campaigns to decarbonize major sectors of the economy. We seek to build coalitions that work for a climate-safe economic agenda rooted in values of equity and social justice. This will be my primary focus.

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My work will focus on 1) building a network of leaders and rank and file activists in the labor movement to confront climate change, 2) educating and informing environmental and environmental justice organizations on integrating workers’ rights policies in their agendas and 3) working with environmental justice organizations to build partnerships with traditional labor unions, worker centers, new forms of worker organizing, and labor support organizations.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267329910"},{"id":17,"name":"Noemi Ramos","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/ramos_noemi.jpg","shortDescription":"Executive Director, New England United 4 Justice (NEU4J)","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Noemi (Mimi) Ramos is currently the Executive Director of New England United 4 Justice (NEU4J) and has spent close to 15 years fighting for social, economic and racial justice in Boston, MA. As a young Latina from Dorchester, Mimi learned to empower herself by becoming an advocate, an educator and an organizer among low income residents seeking to have a strong voice in decisions impacting their community. After serving as Massachusetts ACORN’s Head Organizer in Boston for over 6 years, Noemi and 30 other resident leaders founded NEU4J in 2010.

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Noemi and NEU4J provide opportunities and concrete tools for low income communities of color to engage in direct action, policy development and movement building. Building strategic partnerships is core to Noemi’s organizing vision, and she currently serves in a leadership role in several coalitions, including Right to the City Boston, Community Labor United, Mass Voter Table and the Civic Engagement Initiative, the Yes for a Better Boston Coalition, and Dorchester Not for Sale.

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Project Description

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The Independent Women’s Project (IWP) aims to create a child care model that better meets the needs of parents currently employed or seeking a job in industries with nontraditional work hours, while also changing child care policy in Massachusetts to increase access to safe, reliable, and affordable child care. The IWP will build partnerships and a strategic organizing vision among: 1) single women heads of household, who are seeking employment in the building trades, hospitality and culinary arts industries, and administration 2) child care providers and nannies who are also low wage, working class women of color and 3) building trades and hotel unions with apprentice programs that provide training and direct pathways to union paying jobs for women.

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The IWP will center the leadership of low income women of color in creating a Child Care Matching Tool (app and/or website) that matches parents with first source child care providers providing care during nontraditional work hours, and developing a campaign plan that clearly defines the root causes of employment barriers for women and community led solutions. The IWP will be anchored by NEU4J’s Worker Justice Center which provides referrals on sealing criminal records, building resumes, completing GEDs, and trains residents to actively engage in worker justice campaigns.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267330129"},{"id":18,"name":"Souta Calling Last","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/soutacalling_last.jpg","shortDescription":"Founder & Executive Director, Indigenous Vision","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Souta Calling Last (Blackfeet/Blood) is the Founder and Executive Director of Indigenous Vision, a national educational nonprofit founded in 2015. Souta does not consider herself an environmentalist but more as a Blackfoot woman whose cultural practice is dependent on clean water and high functioning ecosystems. Her work on land and water protection started in childhood cleaning beaver ponds. She continued volunteering with streamside clean-ups, restorations, and community water education while obtaining a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana in Environmental Studies Water Resources.

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She later gained experience with her tribe as a Water Resource Specialist and Drinking Water Operator obtaining her Master’s degree in Innovative Leadership and Change Management from the University of Phoenix. Before founding Indigenous Vision, Souta served as an Environmental Specialist in a National Tribal Drinking Water Program. Her connection to the landscape remained unhindered and she continued to organize lake shore clean-ups at drinking water reservoirs in the Phoenix area. Souta believes the land is a storybook of information filled with ecological and climate knowledge and that honoring ancestral observation will protect the land and water and will promote ideal human health and wellness.

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Project Description

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The Indigenous Vision Interactive Map is centered on empowering the Indigenous identity through virtual reclamation of traditional territories and asserting the Indigenous right and benefit of environmental stewardship. The resource will empower leaders, community members, and activists with a tool grounded in Tribal Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and reinforced by western science.

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The virtual reclamation of our landscape narrative will be achieved through the science of Indigenous geography and map making technology that includes virtual reality experiences. TEK explains characteristics of the landscape and eye witness accounts of climate change marking the coming and going of various species. The Interactive Map and App is a revolutionary networking resource and educational tool that provides a platform to learn about history, culture, environmental science and efforts of protection. The project will allow for a large support network of native and non-native alike to educate and assist in the protection of land and water. Mapping layers focus on the risks and challenges to Indigenous stewardship and the close proximity of damaging industries and expansion of modern development.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":"267330347"},{"id":19,"name":"Talila Lewis","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/lewis_talila.jpg","shortDescription":"Co-Founder & Volunteer Director, Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of Deaf Communities (HEARD)","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Talila Lewis was recognized as a White House Champion of Change and one of Pacific Standard Magazine’s Top 30 Thinkers Under 30. Talila engineers social justice campaigns that illuminate the nexus between race, class, disability and structural inequity.

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Talila co-founded & serves as the volunteer director of Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of Deaf communities (HEARD), an all-volunteer run nonprofit organization which created and maintains the only national database of deaf imprisoned people. Talila also serves as a consultant on radical education and workplace inclusion; an expert on cases involving disabled people; and previously served as the Givelber Public Interest Lecturer at Northeastern University School of Law and a visiting professor at Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

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Talila is a founding member of the Harriet Tubman Collectiveand co-creator of the Disability Solidarity praxis and practice. A recent graduate of American University Washington College of Law, Talila has received awards from numerous universities, the American Bar Association, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, the American Association for People with Disabilities, and the Nation Institute, among others.

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Project Description

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Disability Justice in the Age of Mass Incarceration: Connecting Race, Class & Disability to End State Violence and Dismantle Carceral Systems

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People with disabilities represent the largest “minority” population in jails and prisons, and more than half of the people killed by law enforcement annually.

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Yet still, advocates rarely view the crisis of mass incarceration through a disability justice lens or approach decarceration advocacy with an intersectional framework that takes into account that state violence perpetuated against communities of color and educationally and economically disenfranchised communities has always been deeply rooted in at least, race, class and disability. This when, for myriad reasons, negatively racialized people, people living with little or no income, womxn, and LGBTQI people are all disproportionately represented in the class of disability.

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Disability rights advocates have neglected issues of racial justice for far too long and racial justice advocates have similarly taken for granted the ways in which ableism interacts with racism and classism to create and perpetuate systemic inequity. Ending state violence requires a deep understanding of disability and disability-based oppressions as well as a keen understanding of how disability exists and arises in, and interacts with marginalized individuals and communities.

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My project will help weave communities together by highlighting the inextricable ties between oppressions that lead to perennial structural inequity and by providing the requisite knowledge and tools to help organizers practice accountable advocacy that develops a sense of collective accountability and builds across identities, communities and movements.

\n\n\t\n","website":"","vimeoid":""},{"id":20,"name":"Yeshimabeit Milner","thumbnail":"images/fellowship/milner_yeshimabeit.jpg","shortDescription":"Co-Founder and Executive Director, Data for Black Lives","longDescription":"\n\t\n\t\n\n

Yeshimabeit Milner is co-founder and executive director of Data for Black Lives. Raised in Miami, FL, Yeshimabeit began organizing against the school-to-prison pipeline at Power U Center for Social Change as a high school senior. There she developed a lifelong commitment to movement building as a vehicle for creating and sustaining large-scale social change. Yeshimabeit returned to Power U in 2013 to lead a victorious campaign to improve breastfeeding policies at the largest public hospital in the country. More recently, she was a campaign manager at Color of Change, where she spearheaded several major national initiatives, including OrganizeFor, the only online petition platform dedicated to building the political voice of Black people, and a successful campaign to remove Bill O’Reilly from television. She has a BA from Brown University and serves on the board of the Highlander Center in Tennessee.

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Project Description

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Data for Black Lives is a movement of activists, organizers, scientists, and engineers committed to the mission of using data science to create concrete and measurable change in the lives of Black people. For far too long, data and technology have been weaponized against Black communities, reinforcing inequality and perpetuating injustice. But we know that new advances in data science and technology can and will be powerful instruments for social change.

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Over the past ten years, dozens of US cities have appointed Chief Data Officers, and many more have unveiled open data portals, in which troves of data are made available to the public. With these new initiatives, there is more data on Black people than ever before. But little of this data is being used to address the pressing issues facing Black communities.

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We will be building a national network of Chief Data Officers and other elected officials with a commitment to using open data to promote racial equity. Coordinating with this network, we will amass the largest trove of historical and real-time data on Black people. Because it will take more than access to the data to create change – we will be developing a toolkit to empower people to use open data to win policy and advocacy campaigns, shift media narratives, and build real political and economic power.

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