"Do you have enough power to win what you want to change in the world?"
This is what the Grassroots Leadership Fund aims to teach young organizers - how to build a base and to create a world of racial, economic, social and climate justice.
They describe the problem as such:
Finding and training qualified community organizers is a common challenge facing many labour, community, and social justice community organizations. There are also many young activists who want to get involved in organizing, but lack the skill, training, and knowledge about what grassroots organizing entails.
From this gap emerged Justice Summer. This 2-month program seeks to meet these challenges and build the power of racial, economic and social justice organizations by training and mentoring 20 young, primarily BIPOC organizers this May and June in Vancouver.
Participants will learn key organizing skills, including how to make a clear ask, how to recruit and train volunteers and how to inspire, agitate and motivate themselves and others. Interested individuals can apply directly or be sponsored by a labour union or community organization and will receive a living wage for their 40 hours a week involvement in the program. Graduates will be well-positioned to find employment as professional organizers for local labour and social justice organizations.
"This training gave me the tools and guidance that I needed to be able to grow as an organizer," writes Gabby Doebeli, one of the participants from the initial group of volunteer organizers in 2021. "As a person who doesn't fit the stereotypical white-masculine ideas of leadership, this program helped me to see myself as a leader, as someone with valuable contributions to offer my community, and with a bright future in movement-building."
This sentiment is echoed by fellow program graduate Ismail Askin:
The campaign showed me that the best thing to do was to jump headfirst and learn by actually trying it and experimenting along the way. The result: a small group of 8 organizers, many of us organizing for the first time, brought together hundreds of people to win real rent control in Vancouver and went on to work in actual organizations dedicated to building a better world as organizers - myself included. This program changed the trajectory of my life - now I'm a movement building social justice organizer.
The Grassroots Leadership Fund is currently looking to raise $150,000 to support Justice Summer. The Fund will be matching donations up to $25,000 to encourage generous giving.
To contribute to the Fund and this project, please click here.
If you are a young activist interested in this work and want to receive information about current and future opportunities, you can sign up for updates here.