2021 Community Organizing Fellowship

For the last 30 years, Community Coalition (CoCo) has been organizing African American and Latinx youth and residents to influence, change and create public policy that can improve the quality of life in South LA. The organization successfully pioneered one of the first large-scale action campaigns in the nation to use land-use policy for social justice, made college prep classes a civil right for all students attending the Los Angeles Unified School District, and altered the public debate on foster care to support keeping children with relatives in kinship care. The organization has built a groundbreaking, community-driven approach to creating systemic social change. Building from successful organizing fellowships over the last three years, CoCo will coordinate its third Community Organizing Fellowship to contribute to the social justice movement by investing in the next generation of BIPOC organizers committed to transforming social and economic conditions and advancing equity and opportunity for Black and Brown communities. A cohort of 8 fellows will receive intensive training in theory of social change, social movement history and the art and science of community organizing through hands-on application in a policy action campaign. The Community Organizing Fellowship will be composed of a diverse group of people contributing to the social justice movement. Fellows will have the opportunity to learn and engage with organizing experts with decades of experience. Additionally, fellows will learn organizing through field practice where they will apply power building strategies that address the root causes of poverty, mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline. Engagement with other fellows, faculty, staff, and community members will be facilitated in a hybrid model (in-person and digital). We will observe and follow CDC safety guidelines and protocols around COVID-19.

FELLOWSHIP DETAILS

The program will start on June 21st and culminate on August 13th. The 8-week Community Organizing Fellowship is based in South Los Angeles, California but will be facilitated in a hybrid model (in-person and digital). It consists of political education, organizing training, and field practice through direct immersion in local issue campaigns (i.e. Justice Reform, Land Use, Economic Development). Ideal candidates are people that have worked and/or have direct life experience related to: neighborhood/community organizing, the justice system, displacement and gentrification, immigration, etc.

REASONS TO APPLY:

POLITICAL EDUCATION/ORGANIZING TRAINING TOPICS INCLUDE:

CRITERIA:

This fellowship is geared toward individuals with a background in organizing and/or have relevant lived experience that want to refine and develop foundational skills in organizing. Applicants should be at least 18 years old and ideally:

      • Have a desire to build power in Black and Brown communities
      • Have an interest in developing community organizing skills and learning to build a base of residents to advance policy action campaigns
      • Be passionate about community, social justice issues and transformative systemic change
      • Be able to work autonomously and as a member of a team
      • Have both work and/or direct life experiences that can be harnessed to “hit the ground running”
      • Have access to reliable phone, computer, internet, and transportation to participate in key trainings and field practice that will take place both virtually and in-person.

TIME COMMITMENT AND AWARD:

The Organizing Fellowship is a full-time 8-week program. Participants are required to dedicate 40 hours per week Monday – Friday from 11am to 8pm (except for Independence Day). Flexibility on weekends is necessary in order to participate in community events and/or virtual forums. Each week, fellows are required to participate in political education workshops, organizing training and field practice. Community Coalition will provide and award up to $6,000 to selected candidates. 

This year, Community Coalition will reserve 2-3 slots for individuals working from ally organizations seeking to increase their community organizing capacity. Such individuals must receive permission to participate in the program and are not eligible to receive a stipend due to existing salaries paid by ally organizations.

GUIDELINES TO APPLY:

Applications to the Community Organizing Fellowship will be accepted through Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021, 11:59pm PST (no exceptions). Candidates who apply by Sunday, May 16th will be interviewed between May 20th-May 24th. Candidates who apply between May 17th and May 26th will be interviewed between June 1st-June 3rd. We strongly encourage you to submit your application by our early deadline to increase your chances of being selected.
Please note that this is a highly coveted fellowship. Over 100 applications were submitted last year. Notifications of acceptance to fellowship will be sent to selected candidates by Friday, June 10th at the latest. The selection committee, composed of organizational staff, former fellows, faculty, and members, will review all applications.

HOW TO APPLY:

      1. Fill out the Community Organizing Fellowship Application Form [LINK: bit.ly/2021cocofellowshipapp].
        a. Fully read application requirements below before submitting your application.
        b. Prepare your application materials before proceeding to fill out the application form.
      2. Submit responses to the following questions (max 1-page altogether):
        a. Why are you interested in applying to Community Coalition’s Community Organizing Fellowship? (for example: your connection to South LA or Community Coalition, who/what inspired your interest in community organizing, your commitment to community, involvement in groups related to social justice while in school, etc.)
        b. Using the criteria, what strengths and/or lived experience do you have that can contribute to the fellowship?
        c. Describe your experience in organizing campaigns you have been involved in.
        i. What organizing skills did you practice and develop during that time? (for example: outreach & recruitment, canvassing, phone banking, social investigation, mass mobilization, and/or campaign development)
        ii. Share an experience where you engaged decision makers for the betterment of your family, school, neighborhood, community.
        d. What experience do you seek to gain from this fellowship?
        e. How will you utilize what you learned after the fellowship has concluded?
      3. Provide a response to the following (max 250 words):
        a. A core value of Community Coalition is to build solidarity between Black and Brown residents. Share your thoughts about why it’s an important strategy for creating social change.
      4. Upload a 1-minute video with your application introducing yourself to the selection committee. Share your name, pronouns, and express your interest in the fellowship. You can also include what you hope to get out of the fellowship and what you seek to do post-fellowship
      5. Submit your resume and references.

Email fellowship@cocosouthla.org for any additional questions about the program and/or application.