ACLU of Northern California Emerging Leaders Institute

About the organization and the organizing department:

The ACLU of Northern California (ACLU NorCal) seeks to defend and preserve the rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution, and federal and state laws. Historic and systemic racism, settler-colonialism, capitalism, and other forms of oppression have resulted in inequitable and unjust enforcement of laws and in unjust laws, policies and practices themselves. Through integrated advocacy that includes policy, organizing, legal advocacy or litigation, and strategic communications, we envision and work towards a country where everyone can enjoy the principles of freedom, equality, and justice, under the law and in their lived experience.

The ACLU NorCal Organizing Team collaborates with legal, legislative, communications, and policy staff to develop our campaigns. ACLU organizers occupy a unique space between traditional community organizers and policy advocates. While we have a policy agenda that we hope to accomplish, the way we do our work is focused on involving people in exercising their power to make change, building power, and developing leaders.

About the emerging leaders institute:

The Emerging Leaders Institute is a five-month organizing training program for young leaders, approximately between the ages of 18-25, who are interested in learning the fundamental tenants of organizing and exploring a career or personal path as an Organizer.

During the program, participants will:

  • Learn organizing fundamentals, such as having a one-on-one, power mapping, building a coalition, planning an event, holding a lobby visit, and implementing a campaign strategy
  • Work on a capstone project related to an important social justice issue in their school/community
  • Develop an anti-oppression and racial justice framework for organizing and social change work
  • Build community with other young people in their county and expand their network of organizers and activists
  • Understand how to integrate a self-care and wellness plan with their activism
  • Connect with staff of ACLU NorCal and other advocacy organizations to learn about different career paths

Program details:

Two-hour, online sessions will take place every other Wednesday from 5:30-7:30 PM PST, starting on Wed, Feb. 10 through Wed, May 19 on the following dates:

Topic 1: Intro to ACLU, Organizing, and Defining Your Why

  • Wed, Feb. 10
  • Wed, Feb. 24

Topic 2: Building Power with Anti-Oppression and Racial Justice Framework

  • Wed, March 10
  • Wed, March 24

Topic 3: Building Relationships, One-On-Ones, Coalition Building

  • Wed, April 7
  • Wed, April 21

Topic 4: Campaign Planning, Wrap Up

  • Wed, May 5
  • Wed, May 19

Fellows are required to participate in all sessions, with exceptions for emergencies, unforeseen personal circumstances, or advanced permission based on existing scheduling conflicts. In between meetings, fellows will have additional small-group meetings and homework.

Reading and homework will be assigned in advance of each session. Fellows will also complete a capstone project connected to an issue in their community.

These trainings will be led by Amanda Young, Organizer & Program Associate at ACLU NorCal, along with other ACLU NorCal staff and other organizing and policy experts from partner organizations in California.

Financial commitment:

The institute is free of charge. All fellows will receive a $500 stipend at the completion of the institute, a certificate of completion, and a letter of recommendation.

Participants will be required to participate using a computer or device with internet access. We will do our best to support qualified applicants in overcoming any barriers to accessing the internet.

Application timeline

Event Date Comments
Application Opens Fri, Dec. 4th Apply Now!
Informational Webinar Thurs, Jan. 7th, 5 PM Register for the Jan. 7th Informational Webinar
Informational Webinar Tues, Jan. 12th, 5 PM Register for the Jan. 12th Informational Webinar
Application Closes Fri, Jan. 15th, 12 PM Apply Now!
Interviews with Finalists Fri, Jan. 15th and Fri, Jan. 29th Finalists will be contacted on a rolling basis for interviews
Announce Fellows Fri, Jan. 29th We hope to have the fellowship class finalized by Friday, January 29th
Institute, every other Wednesday from 5:30-7:30 PST Wed, Feb. 10th & Wed, May 19th We hope to have the fellowship class finalized by Friday, January 29th