National Fellowship Program for Asian American Organizing and Civic Engagement
The National Fellowship Program for Asian American Organizing and Civic Engagement develops the leadership of a new generation of activists and organizers who are deeply invested in building the power of and improving the lives of working-class Asian immigrant communities. Running from June to August, the fellowship program provides 10 weeks of intensive training, ground work, and reflection.
Beginning with a week-long training and orientation, fellows come together to orient themselves to the theory behind the community work as well as build community with each other. The bulk of the fellowship is on the ground work with host organizations. Placed at grassroots organizations across the country, fellows will develop an understanding of organizing work in a local context, develop and strengthen their organizing skills, and connect theory with practice.
At the same time, fellows have the opportunity to develop personally and politically. They will learn through political education presentations and cross-site sharing with weekly reflection webinars. In addition to the national reflection calls, fellows will have the opportunity to have weekly regional community political discussions with community organizers and activists. In the San Francisco Bay Area fellows participate in a weekly dinner speaker series. Lastly, they will also engage in grassroots fundraising, outreach, and participate in skill building trainings.
In its first year, 2014, the National Fellowship Program for Asian American Organizing and Civic Engagement brought 17 fellows placed in 7 organizations in 7 cities. Some of the extensive community work that they engaged in includes:
- community education and organizing through door-knocking and outreach in public housing, transit corridors, and working class neighborhoods
- facilitating and leading workshops
- working in community clinics on workers and tenant rights in 4 different languages
- helping to run youth development programs
- planning events and rallies for increasing the minimum wage and securing more affordable housing
- collecting community stories to document immigrant experiences
- recruiting new volunteers and members