Twenty-seven leaders from grassroots organizations in six states came together in Seattle during three very hot days in early July to launch NWFCO’s newest training program, the Justice Leadership Academy (JLA).
The JLA is a twelve-month training program designed to both build the skills and political analysis of leaders in our partner organizations, as well as their capacity to move their campaigns. The Academy’s participants, called Community Fellows, will volunteer fifteen hours a month with their respective organizations to roll out a multi-state education and organizing effort focused on economic justice.
“The Community Fellows have made an impressive commitment to their organizations and NWFCO is making a significant investment in their development. We’re excited to see how the year-long effort pays off. The goal is to develop a cadre of grassroots leaders in the Northwest, Los Angeles, and Chicago, who are equipped to train and take action for economic justice,” – NWFCO Training Director Jill Reese.
This first training session focused on curriculum development, with each state team deciding on the focus of their training. Over the next year, each group will deliver at least one in-state training session, travel to another state in the JLA for a cross-training session, as well as plan and execute a direct action.
“NWFCO and our network of organizations are invested in a variety of economic justice issues, from job creation and living wage jobs, to financial reform and responsible banking and lending,” said Reese. “And almost every state is fighting to keep necessary services in the face of state budget shortfalls. We are developing leaders to call for solutions to the crises surrounding our country’s deep recession.”
The Community Fellows have been directly involved in these state campaigns and have linked their projects to ongoing work. In the coming months, there will be training and direct actions around fair taxes in Colorado, green jobs in Oregon, battling corporate power in Washington and Idaho, state budgets in California, and alliance building with black and Latino communities in Chicago, IL.
“The JLA will help us expand some of the work that we’ve already started in Los Angeles around the state budget shortfalls,” said Olivia Park from NAKASEC. “We’re looking at massive cuts, and we see a huge need in our community to educate people both on what this means to them, as well as what are the alternatives that our decision makers must be considering. The JLA will help continue to make this work exciting, and bring on new members.”
Mecole Jordan, from the Target Area Development Corporation, wrote that it was one of the most value-added trainings she had attended. “It was definitely useful for our organization; I particularly appreciate both the technical assistance available to us through the program, as well as the accountability for us to meet the program goals.”
The Justice Leadership Academy training team will be offering on-going assistance on the ground between now and the next training of trainers session scheduled for November
In addition to curriculum development, last weekend’s training session included sessions on grassroots fundraising, multi-media technology, and a mock action where participants organized their way into the office of “Bad Bank CEO,” played by Washington leader Jill Mangaliman.
The Justice Leadership Academy 2010 class of Community Fellows are:
Colorado Progressive Coalition (CPC)
Idaho Community Action Network (ICAN)
National Korean American Service and Education Consortium/Korean Resource Center (NAKASEC/KRC)
Oregon Action (OA)
United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations
Patricia Van Pelt
Washington Community Action Network (WashingtonCAN!)