Our Future West Virginia
About the Role
The Go South Fellow will assist and support our youth organizer and parent organizing fellow as they build power in Charleston on university campuses, West Side of Charleston (historically and predominantly Black neighborhood) and a local housing development. The fellow will be organizing on the ground with our organizers and leaders throughout their time in West Virginia. The Go South Fellow will report to Our Future WV executive director, Jennifer Wells. Their experience will also be guided by Carey Jo Grace, senior organizer and leadership academy director, Takeiya Smith, youth organizer and Dr. Shanequa Smith, parent organizing fellow. The fellow will have the entire Our Future team as a support. Responsibilities: Conducting 1:1 conversations and meetings with local community members Facilitating and organizing community meetings and skill building trainings Issue related research to inform and build our popular education program Event planning related to the June 2020 convening (we anticipate 200+ leaders gathering for 2 day convening) Data entry related to 1:1 meetings and community meetings and organization’s base building
How We're Advancing Equity:
Our primary role in advancing equity in Appalachia is centering and uplifting the most marginalized West Virginians. We build and invest in the best of West Virginia, our impacted leaders Our best risk and program that has seen the most results and residual outcomes is the 2018 Impacted Organizers Fellowship. We recruited 5 impacted organizers, all women, including a trans woman and Black woman. 3 of the 5 women were single mothers. All the organizers were receiving or had received income support and assistance due to economic injustice or poverty. The cohort members were from 3 different regions of the state, North, Central and Southern. They were the unlikely leaders because they initially did not believe they had the skills or the power to organize. We invested in them without hesitation and spent the fellowship supporting their development. What we found was they had the innate talents to build power, engage other marginalized folks, plan actions and events, speak truth to power at the legislature and with the Governor. The organized communities to push back on the local utility commissions to address environmental and economic injustice. They collected 35 stories from fellow community members about the lack of quality and accessible healthcare. They knocked doors and held community meetings. They did this in 3 months with financial investment (stipend), skill building trainings and support from our organization. They remain on the front line of our work and one organizer is running for office (city council in Wheeling). We funded people and not projects. We believed in them and we let them dictate their path. Our Go South Fellow will further this work by working alongside of our organizers and facilitators to support our impacted leaders as they embark on deep voter education and engagement during the summer as we build our civic engagement work in time for November 2020.
Key Skills & Qualifications (if any)
Strong communication and interpersonal skills (good listening skills are a plus) good organizational skill with a focus on time management and ability to multi- task Open and willingness to learn