Wayfinder Foundation Launches First Fellowship Cohort in Indianapolis and Los Angeles

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Now more than ever, activists have a critical role to play in shaping the future of our country and its public policies. A new program, launched this week, is cultivating the next generation of voices in communities of color around the country. By doing so, the Wayfinder Foundation is creatively finding new ways to support activists through its Community Activist Fellowship.

Starting  June 1, fourteen fellows in Indianapolis, Indiana and Los Angeles, California will lead projects focused on various issue areas including parent engagement, education access, domestic abuse, immigration, women’s rights and the use of digital media for advocacy.

“The Community Activist Fellowship is providing a way for our activists to begin a year of  intense training and support to help them change the world in which we know it. By providing resources to marginalized communities, not only are we supporting their activism, we are freeing their voices to be heard, and strengthening their regard to continue to fight,” said Wayfinder’s chief program officer, Angela Jones Hackley.

Wayfinder will begin accepting applications for its second cohort in Washington, DC, Memphis, TN, and Oakland, CA, later this month.

“Wayfinder was founded in 2017 with the mission of putting resources behind activism through investing in mothers and mother-figures by using a two-generational approach – when you help the mother, you help the child,” said Chris Stewart, CEO, Wayfinder Foundation. “It is clear in this country we create systems that are designed to punish the mother – welfare systems that keep her poor, school systems that keep her and her child undereducated. These activists are saying no more! We will not be silenced. It is our duty to support them in their efforts.”

With a combined contribution of more than $100K in financial and expert resources, the Wayfinder Foundation launched this inaugural cohort as part of their “This is Activism” multimedia campaign, focused on highlighting acts of activism across the country.

“Our Fellows are excellent examples of what happens when you don’t give in to the status quo and you aren’t afraid to stand up to fight for yourself and others. It’s heroic,” said Stewart. More information on the CAF and a list of Fellows can be found on the Wayfinder Foundation website.

 

Hidden figures in the making

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 By Cheryl Coleman

An all black female team from Washington D.C. high school entered the NASA Goddard’s Optimus Prime Spinoff Promotion and Research Challenge. The challenge was to develop a way to purify lead-contaminated water in drinking fountains. The grand prize was a trip to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. and a $4,000 stipend.

The ladies were so excited about this challenge because of the high levels of lead found in the school's water system. The team found out that they were one of the finalists and needed voters support, unfortunately, what they received was hackers with racist comments from an anonymous online website. The anonymous posts said the students did not deserve to be a finalist and the black community was only voting because the teens were black. 

Three young, intelligent black women are developing a product that’s needed in our community. Something that will benefit everyone  AND because they are black, some racist tries to rig the system. Of course, if the girls weren’t black, this wouldn’t be an issue, and I wouldn’t be writing this blog. It’s so sad that even with a brilliant idea, we are still looked at as less than.

Regardless of what happened to these young ladies, Congratulations for making it to the finals! You deserve it! Unfortunately, Flint still has no clean water, and three brilliant Black young women are trying to solve a significant problem here in Washington D.C. that has been ignored for many years, but racists have to step in to seek and destroy their dreams and hard work. 

I believe the girls know that regardless of this horrible incident, they should never give up. They have a lot of people in their corner and know one day; they will change the world. #keepwinning #blackmagic

Parents Boycotting School

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By David Wilson

In the wake of another school shooting that claimed the lives of 10 students at Santa Fe High School, former United States Secretary of Education suggested parents boycott school until gun laws change. Initially, this idea seemed a bit off, but when I sat and thought about it, it makes sense, and I think I could get behind it.

Parents should not have to worry about whether or not their children are safe when they send them off to school. They should go to the school to view their students' work not to identify their remains after another instance of senseless violence involving guns.

Each time this happens, we see the same playbook; the immediate outrage, thoughts and prayers, and inaction by lawmakers. Students walked out and held rallies in capital cities. Educators and parents supported the call for change and demanded school districts update their safety plans and conduct training. Still, nothing has changed, and we have had an average of one shooting per week in 2018.

Boycotts have had a tremendous impact on spurring change because of the immediate economic effects they have. So, in theory, if parents kept their students home until laws were passed to keep students safe in school, we would see change. Lawmakers at every level would feel the brunt of the economic impact resulting from students staying home and school districts losing out on ADA funding. As a parent, this is more than a political stunt or protest. Why should we send our students somewhere where they are not safe?