Access to Power Fellowship

“Oftentimes, disabled people have the solutions that society needs.”

Stacey Park Milbern, disability justice leader

Image Description: ACCESS TO POWER written in large orange letters on the top left of the image, APPLY NOW! written in medium orange letters on the bottom right. All text on top of a photo of a multiracial crowd including several people using wheelchairs with their fists raised — members of Detroit Disability Power. They are holding a banner that reads “Interdependence is Survival – Naomi Ortiz” in front of a mural of a Black child raising a fist.

In this time of devastating pandemic and massive social upheaval, the systems supposedly meant to protect us –healthcare, public safety, and more– are literally killing us. In order to fundamentally alter this landscape and build a more just and caring world, our movements need the leadership of people with disabilities, who are all too familiar with these unjust systems and have always survived through resourcefulness, creativity, and adaptability. Through organizing, disabled people are leading the way to not only gain access within the current system, but build real power to transform the conditions we live in.

The Access to Power Fellowship is a deep investment in the leadership of emerging Jewish organizers with disabilities. The Fellowship is a virtual 7-month experience open to Jewish young adults with disabilities (ages 20-39) who are organizing either professionally and as volunteers. Designed in partnership with leading disability organizations Sins Invalid, National Council on Independent Living, and Detroit Disability Power, Access to Power will make JOIN for Justice’s premier organizing training and coaching accessible in new ways. From Black liberation organizing to environmental justice, Access to Power will deepen Fellows’ impact in some of the most pressing movements of our time. Together, Fellows will hone their skills and deepen their grounding to build power and make change over the long haul. 

Who are you?

  • You might be a dedicated volunteer in a local immigrant justice organization, hoping to deepen your skills in recruiting others and planning strategy. 
  • Perhaps you’ve been a professional organizer for a few years, and you’re looking for the grounding in Jewish and disability wisdom you need to bring your full self to the work. 
  • Maybe you’re struggling to get a start in organizing, and are facing barriers to getting the training and support you need. 
  • You might be taking on a new role, such as chairing your synagogue’s inclusion community, and preparing to take an organizing approach to creating specific changes.
  • Maybe you’ve been active in disability communities for your whole life. 
  • You might be wondering as you read this whether you’re “disabled enough” or “Jewish enough.” (The answer is yes! We believe you about who you are.) 

Through the Access to Power Fellowship, you’ll form a learning community with others with these varied experiences and more!

We plan to bring together a diverse cohort of 16-20 Fellows, who will explore their shared identities while also learning from their varied experiences. This Fellowship will center Jews with disabilities who are also directly impacted by other forms of oppression, particularly Jews of color with disabilities, Jews with disabilities from poor and working class backgrounds, and transgender and nonbinary Jews with disabilities. We know that investing in these leaders, who have so often been shut out of opportunities, is essential for our movements. 

The Fellowship will include:

  • Two multi-day virtual retreats, one at the beginning and one near the end
  • Two training sessions each month on organizing skills, disability justice political education, and connections between Judaism and disability
  • Peer coaching and deeper relationship-building in monthly small group meetings facilitated by an experienced organizer
  • Monthly individual coaching sessions dedicated to improving your organizing craft and supporting your Jewish and disability journeys

The Fellowship is completely free, and we have $1,100 stipends available for Fellows for whom that will make the Fellowship more accessible.

At JOIN for Justice, we believe that practice is an essential part of learning organizing. When you apply, you’ll tell us about the organizing you plan to do during the Fellowship. You might be organizing through your job, leading a team in a local organization, getting a new project off the ground, or something else. Your organizing can be on any issue, and doesn’t need to be in the Jewish or disability communities. Throughout the Fellowship you’ll hone skills you can put into practice right away, and learn from your successes and challenges in real time. 

The Access to Power Fellowship will begin with a virtual retreat in January 2021, and continue through July 2021 (exact dates to be announced). If this sounds like it might be the right fit for you, please:

Partners:

The Access to Power Fellowship is being offered by JOIN for Justice in partnership with Sins Invalid, National Council on Independent Living, and Detroit Disability Power. These three leading disability organizations bring deep expertise in disability justice, disability organizing, intersections of ableism and racism, and more. They are partners in planning the curriculum, and will lead many of the Fellowship trainings. To learn more about our partners and the lead trainers for the Access to Power Fellowship, please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact Allegra Heath-Stout, Fellowship Director, at aheathstout@joinforjustice.org or 857-869-2057. 

 

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