In the Alliance network, organizing work is seen as not only a pathway to change, but a leadership development opportunity for hundreds of young leaders each year. That is why Alliance orgs do not take a break in the summer. Instead, they run summer programming to continue building youth political power year-round. Here are snapshots of those programs that graduated over 214 young leaders this summer!
Engage Miami welcomed Policy Fellow, Alejandra, and an Advocacy Fellow, Brianna, to their team this summer to support Engage Miami’s community organizing work. These fellows spent their time researching Miami-Dade County civic systems and plans, attending county and municipal meetings, and hosted a teach-in to share their research findings on how their county makes major decisions around zoning, budgeting for Community Redevelopment Agencies, city planning and more.
Forward Montana was joined by 10 smiling summer interns at their Billings and Bozeman offices. Interns were rocking their Forward Montana fanny packs across the state registering voters everywhere including music festivals, art walks, Pride festivals, county fairs, in front of ice cream shops, farmers markets, and more. If young people were there, Forward Montana’s summer interns were not far registering voters!
Five fellows and one intern joined the Georgia Shift team this summer to grow their organizing skills and help bring the organization to new heights. This team attended trainings covering everything from digital organizing to voter registration. In addition to getting trained up, they advocated for early voting and hiring young poll workers, registered voters at Augusta’s Pride, drafted two bills on a needs-based financial aid program and in-state tuition for DACA recipients, created videos and graphics for advocacy work, and much more. Not only did these fellows gain invaluable experience, they laid the groundwork for Georgia Shift to succeed in 2019 and 2020.
Leaders Igniting Transformation
Last month, LIT graduated 20 young Milwaukee leaders from their 2019 cohort of Black Hogwarts (that’s right, Black Hogwarts). During this six-week program, young people learned and discussed everything from anti-oppression work, civic engagement, political education, community organizing, and how these issues all intersect in LIT’s programmatic efforts . Cohort members also led LIT’s advocacy work, making sure the Milwaukee Public School system is investing in student success (e.g., culturally responsive trainings, restorative justice practices, and therapists) and divesting in the school-to-prison pipeline.
Michigan Student Power Network
This summer, Michigan Student Power Network worked with 21 undergraduate Organizing Fellows from eight different campuses to take part in a Summer of Organizer Training, Mentoring, and Community Building program! Fellows learned about movement history, field organizer skills, restorative justice, coalition building, as well as political theory throughout a series of trainings and workshops.
Minnesota Youth Collective
Cheers to Minnesota Youth Collective for running their first-ever Fellowship Program this summer! Fellows attended workshops and trainings on everything from art and activism to organizing 101. Summer fellows also helped craft Minnesota Youth Collective’s two newest issue campaigns around democracy and economic justice. The first campaign, Democracy Done Right, tackles barriers for transgender folx changing their names which also means barriers to register to vote. Their second campaign, Broke AF, explores what home means to a generation with limited resources struggling to afford basic necessities.
MOVE Texas just graduated their largest Summer Leadership Development class totaling 40 young leaders! Members in Austin, Dallas, Laredo, San Antonio, and San Marcos fought for paid sick time, registered voters at pride festivals, lobbied city council on climate solutions, rallied to close the camps along the border, and more. They just said goodbye to their summer fellows and welcomed 50 new fellows/interns for the fall. We are always in awe of the hustle at MOVE Texas to mobilize young people year-round.
Next Up (formerly the Bus Project!) worked with two brilliant fellows this summer, Giovanni and Luly. Both fellows helped to get out the vote by collecting 650 pledge-to-vote cards! They also attended 25 community events to chat with community members about important issues like the harmful effects of mandatory minimum sentencing for youth, lowering the voting age, and the benefits of the recently passed Student Success Act. In addition to this work, they also spread the word about Next Up’s rebrand, ensuring that young people across the tri-county area know about the organization’s exciting transition and what they have coming up next.
New Era Colorado
New Era Colorado continued to develop new leaders across the state through their spring and summer Intern and Fellowship Programs, training 43 new organizers. Interns/fellows worked on a variety of programs in Fort Collins, Denver, and Boulder. From running abortion education programs on campus, to fighting for student loan reform, to advocating for action on climate change in the Colorado legislature, these leaders flexed their power and showed what young folks can accomplish. In addition to this issue work, fellows also built up their grassroots organizing skills by registering 952 voters!
New Hampshire Youth Movement
New Hampshire Youth Movement brought on five awesome fellows to support their organizing this summer and they were busy. Their fellows knocked on 1,200 doors, canvassed at events, and were able to sign up 1,000 new people to join New Hampshire Youth Movement. In addition to their field work, fellows pushed Joe Biden on his immigration stance, urged Senator Elizabeth Warren to come out with an aggressive free college plan, and encouraged Beto O’Rourke to take the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge. They also pushed 20 other candidates about issues young people care about.
Pennsylvania Student Power Network
Pennsylvania Student Power Network worked with 25 badass fellow from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lehigh Valley, and Reading to build youth power across the state. This cohort led a number of actions and events including direct actions at the Allegheny County Jail Oversight Board meetings to address inhumane conditions at the jail, a workshop in Philadelphia focused on how directly impacted youth can communicate with incarcerated loved ones, and an action at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors meeting that pushed them to freeze tuition for the first time in 21 years! They also laid the groundwork for ongoing work around voter registration, organizing trainings, and building new campus chapters this fall.
Virginia Student Power Network
This summer, 17 organizing fellows from nine different college campuses across the state joined the Virginia Student Power Network team. They attended a leadership retreat as well as three statewide trainings to learn how to build young people’s political power on their campuses. Fellows also took part in immigrant justice actions as well as participated in New Virginia Majority’s People’s Congress where 300 people from working class communities of color in VA convened to ratify their collective policy agenda.
Last week, Washington Bus wrapped up their summer fellowships program graduating 13 young leaders! During their 10 weeks with Washington Bus, fellows attended trainings on community organizing and social justice in the classroom. They also took to the field to register voters at community festivals and talk to voters about “Democracy Vouchers”, a system for Seattle voters to receive publicly funded money to support candidates. In addition to field work, fellows also added brain power to build out community priorities for upcoming legislation for tuition-free college.
We are proud of these summer fellowship and intern programs because they not only support the critical organizing work Alliance organizations are doing year-round, they are also building and training up fierce, young leaders in communities throughout the country. And we cannot wait to see what they do next.