Category: Fellows

October 23, 2020 Sa'iyda Shabazz

Because…

I vote because my life depends on it, literally and figuratively. As a Black, queer, low-income mother, another four years of what we’ve had feels like I’m signing over my own death certificate. 

Families are hurting, pass a second stimulus bill now

Emily Withnall

My oldest teen got sick with Covid-19 at the end of June, and I contracted it shortly afterwards.  I’ve been sick for three months now and the fatigue, pain, and […]

Lean in to solve the housing crisis

Sharisse Tracey

As a kid growing up in Southern California in the 70’s and 80’s I was aware that there were homeless people. At that time, it seemed like a small group […]

Six Issues We Expect the Candidates to Address During the First Presidential Debate

Maya Boddie

It’s imperative the candidates address how they are thinking about how they will ensure voters’ basic needs are met as we continue to live through this pandemic, and beyond.

the Other Pandemic

Maya Boddie

“If our mental health professionals are now at the main source of the seams, then they should also be getting the funding and resources that can help train them in a way that can best humanize Black and Brown people in the streets,” said Wise. “We’ve always said it’s possible to fund other things.” 

Introducing The Flag of US

Sharisse Tracey

It was all a dream, until we made it a reality: Introducing, The Flag of US  Three years after Colin Kaepernick first took a knee there was a vision to […]

This past weekend, New Yorkers organized for more investment on child care, at least $50 billion

Sharisse Tracey

#NoChildcareNoWork is one of the latest hashtags born from the COVID-19 global pandemic and the impact on parents, children and the entire child care industry. I had the pleasure of […]

A Letter to My Daughter: Dear Baby Girl, It’s Okay to Feel Scared Right Now

Topacio Marrero

  My 9-year-old daughter is questioning a lot of what is going on in our world right now. I explain to her the importance of Black Lives Matter and answer […]

Afro-Dominicans Dismantling Anti-Blackness

Topacio Marrero

(Photo credit: Andreya Tho) Like so many of you, I’m doing my best to process the tragic loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the many more Black […]

“They’re killing me. I can’t breathe.”

Sharisse Tracey

In Trump’s great America, white pandemic protestors flood state capitols to be awed by the media and left alone by the police. At the same time African Americans are fighting […]

In all my COVID-19 planning that one thing I couldn’t prepare for: not being able to see my son for whom I share joint custody

Sharisse Tracey

When I prepared for the coronavirus in the early weeks of March, stocking up on disinfectant items, cleaning supplies, disposable masks and gloves at my local club warehouse, a week […]

Voices of Everyday Leaders

Ayanna Albertson

Digital Organizing In The Time of COVID In the age of social-distancing, many of our everyday leaders have shifted how they operate. From educators offering instruction from a virtual classroom […]

This Mother’s Day can be particularly lonelier

Emily Withnall

Mother’s Day can be a complicated day for many mothers because it often requires extra labor on the mother’s part. But for single mothers, the day can be particularly fraught. […]

Why We Should Celebrate National Poetry Month During a Pandemic

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

April is traditionally filled with patronizing one of the oldest forms of literary art — poetry. During National Poetry Month, audiences typically attend readings and discussions and use this time […]

Child care educators continue caring for kids while Trump continues failing the U.S.

Emily Withnall

As President Donald Trump shows an absolute lack of expertise – and empathy – to direct the nation through this health crisis, states are doing what they can to figure […]

We need baby wipes and cleaning supplies, now.

Sharisse Tracey

Just a few weeks ago I stopped by a local membership warehouse store to stock up on items to keep my family safe from Covid-19. At the time, earlier in […]

Child care is a critical support for working parents

Ayanna Albertson

Portia Powell, a single mom of three and an office manager at a mental health facility in North Carolina, was challenged with finding child care when the outbreak caused her […]

As votes continue to get counted, Alameda County voters show strong support to fund resources for children

Bobbi Dempsey

Residents of Alameda County have made a clear statement about the need to support both working parents and early childhood educators by allocating more resources to provide quality affordable child […]

Child Poverty Has Been Ignored at the Debates for Two Decades

Bobbi Dempsey

This critical topic has only been addressed a single time in the past 20 years. Like many other Americans, I have been closely watching the Democratic presidential debates. I’m interested […]

A budget that hurts already hurting Americans

Sharisse Tracey

President Trump recently proposed a $4.8 trillion dollar budget for the 2021 fiscal year.  The proposal is called “Budget for a Better America.” But this budget disguised as a way […]

Early childhood educators, families ask DC Mayor to make high-quality child care for kids under 3 a priority

Maya Boddie

A coalition of parents, early child care educators, community and business leaders has launched a groundbreaking early childhood campaign called Under 3 DC, calling on Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to […]

The bureaucracy of feeding your family

Emily Withnall

Where I live, in Missoula, Montana, the median area income is $54,311. Despite working three jobs, I make under $20,000 annually, or roughly 30% of the area median income, and […]

My first time using a food pantry—One moms story

Sharisse Tracey

This past holiday season was the first after my mid-spring divorce, and also the first time my children and I ate from a food pantry said Cynthia—the woman who wishes […]

How the west was won–California leading the way on rent control

Sharisse Tracey

On the heels of learning that Southern California residents now need to earn over  $100,000 a year to purchase a median two-bedroom home costing over half million dollars in Los […]

On Movember, let’s address the need of creating safe spaces for men

Michael Jackson

I’m a man who painstakingly attends to my mental health every day. This isn’t because I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder when I was 31 years old. A condition […]

We need policies that harness the vital roles of community colleges

Michael Jackson

Our world has an increasing reliance on new, ever-changing technology that requires workers to have near-constant flexibility to upgrade, retrain, and retool their skills. It’s estimated that millions of ‘middle-skill […]

In latest battle in ‘war on the poor’ Las Vegas council takes aim at homeless

Nissa Tzun

On November 6, 2019, the Las Vegas City Council held a meeting to discuss and vote on Ordinance 2019-36, sponsored by Mayor Carolyn Goodman. This ordinance targets anyone camping or […]

We demand access to affordable health care

Mikka Macdonald

The Republican Party has made it its mission to attack the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and protections for people with pre-existing conditions.  They have tried — and failed —  to […]

I Am Not Your Woman of Color

Mikka Macdonald

I work in progressive politics and I have dedicated my relatively short career to amplifying marginalized voices. Yet, sometimes when I am labeled with vague terms like “woman of color,” […]

We Must Treat Climate Change as a Racial Justice Issue

Mikka Macdonald

The climate is warming—and Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American communities continue to bear an outsized share of the burden caused by global warming. The regions with the most cancer-related […]

We cannot tolerate innocent children dying on our watch. No matter where they are born

Sharisse Tracey

I recently heard U.S. Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney on local News12 reference the inhuman treatment of undocumented immigrants being detained in our overcrowded border patrol facilities. Every time I hear […]

Kids See What We Value: We Must Invest In Communities to Uplift Children of Color

Michael Jackson

Anyone who’s ever had a hobby, a child, or been in a relationship knows, we value those things we devote time, energy, and money towards. Those things we don’t, we […]

But fandom aside, I am a black mother first, last and always and this is racial injustice at its best.

Sharisse Tracey

Before I get into this two minute jail sentence for actress Felicity Huffman’s role in the college admissions scandal, let me start by saying that I am a mom. I […]

Another unarmed Black man dies in custody of the Las Vegas police

Nissa Tzun

Byron Williams death leaves another Las Vegas family seeking answers in an in-custody death case with literal dark spots in the story

There are no degrees of blackness

Michael Jackson

“Brother brother, sister sister If you’re miss or if you’re mister Listen please to this fact Black is black is black is black”  Lyrics from Black is Black by Jungle […]

“What’s not to love about Charleston? Or Santa Fe?”

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

What was I watching? A bright, chipper afternoon edition of The Today Show on NBC. For this segment, the TV hosts invited an editor from Travel and Leisure magazine to […]

A NIGHTMARE OF RACIAL ANIMOSITY OVERTAKING AMERICA

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

A bad dream is a bad experience. But a truly terrible experience occurs when a bad dream feels like a premonition. Judging by media stories, online commentary and conversations with […]

2020 – the 100th anniversary of the first vote for gender equality – will be the year of women.

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

The old saw, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times” may apply to the status of  women in America — their gains, their travails, their […]

We are Wired for Change

Cristina Rayas

Community Change’s Communications Fellows Program is a visionary approach to building power and leaders among our communities – the power to be the ones to tell their truths and be […]

Growing Up Poor in America Was My Political Education

Michael Jackson

I remember, as a ten-year-old, tearfully watching former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and presidential candidate Jesse Jackson give impassioned speeches at the 1984 Democratic National Convention on my family’s […]

Hunger in America Deprives Everyone in America

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

There is a tradition in fairytales and various old fashioned yarns which I’ve seen over the years that a hungry person will dream of lavish meals, roast beef and mutton, […]

It’s time to talk about reparations

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

The idea of reparations are back in the news with the 2020 Democratic candidates, raising the issue of offering some form of payment to black Americans for the horrors inflicted […]

The 60 most dangerous days for Floridians: When their legislators gather

Thomas Kennedy

I once heard the Florida legislative session referred to as the sixty most dangerous days of the year for people in the state. At the end of the 2019 session, […]

White rage: What is it leading to and where will it end?

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

Ever since the 2016 presidential election, there have been countless articles, theories, and commentators dissecting it. A level of white dissatisfaction, and, yes, even white rage, played a role in […]

Immigrants make their voices heard in Florida’s capitol

Thomas Kennedy

Last week, over three hundred immigrants and other community members mobilized to Florida’s capitol in Tallahassee to defend and protect our communities from Republican lawmakers who are once again attempting to pass […]

The Assassination of Martin Luther King, and America’s Addiction to Gun Violence

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

April 4. The date of MLK’s assassination returns – as it always does to haunt us. April 4th, 1968 remains a guilty shadow lingering over American history. King is honored […]

When will Nevada address police violence?

Nissa Tzun

In the last decade, we have seen the issue of police violence resurface on the national platform. Every year since the police shooting of Oscar Grant on January 1, 2009, […]

Trump address to the nation is more anti-immigrant xenophobia

Thomas Kennedy

Donald Trump presented no solutions during his first oval office address to the nation to end a more than two-week long government shutdown that has left 800,000 government workers working […]

A 23rd Birthday Commemorated Without Celebration, as Nevada Ranks Sixth in Police Killings Nationally

Nissa Tzun

Las Vegas, Nev. – Monday, September 25th, 2018, would have been the 23rd birthday of Junior David Lopez. He was a young man with wedding plans set for mid-May and […]

Counting Every Vote Amid Voter Suppression in Florida

Thomas Kennedy

While the blue wave swept across the country last week, you might have missed it if you live in Florida. Despite Democrats winning control of the House of Representatives, flipping […]

Will Latino’s Turnout to Vote This Year?

Thomas Kennedy

With only days left until the midterm election is finally over, one question lingers in the minds of Democratic operatives working in battleground states across the country. Will Latino turnout […]

En la Florida los votantes estan activos por Gillum

Elizabeth Nazarett

En la Florida los votantes estan bien activos. Este 6 de noviembre muchos dicen que van a unir el voto por Andrew Gillum para gobernador. Dicen que van a votar […]

Supporting Food Entrepreneurs for Equity and Stronger Communities

Christen Hill

We can strengthen our communities by creating food systems that create new jobs and businesses through the people living here. DREAM (Dreaming Out Loud’s Ready for Entrepreneurship Accelerator Modules) is […]

Puerto Ricans Fleeing Island May Change Florida’s Political Landscape

Maliha Kareem

Florida is home to over 1.13 million Boricuas, 70% of whom tend to vote Democrat. This is why coming November, Boricuas who previously lived on the island but were unable […]

The hourly reality of life on a ‘living wage’

Catherine Bugayong

I am one of the 7.6 million Americans who has to work multiple jobs. I work three jobs so that I can meet my living expenses, pay bills, have health […]

Climate Voters Ready to Vote in November

Laura Munoz

As a young child living in Colombia I lived through an earthquake. I am thankful to have been far from the epicenter of the shake in a well constructed structure, […]

We Are Called to Deeply Listen to Those Impacted by Police Violence

Nissa Tzun

Hearing families who have been impacted by police violence speak is always a transformative and powerful experience for me. While I have been working with impacted families since 2009, the […]

Gillum will protect Floridians’ access to health care

Elizabeth Nazarett

Gillum will protect Floridians’ access to health care Health care is a top priority for Florida voters this November. We all know someone who has health concerns—and every day we […]

Colin Kaepernick, Christine Blasey Ford, and the America’s Bad Conscience

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

In recent weeks, two Americans galvanized media attention for their bravery, taking  stances that inspired gratitude and support for their causes. Neither is a politician or has run for public […]

There’s Too Much On the Line to Skip This Election

Elizabeth Fernandez

With so much at stake in this election, in Florida and across the nation, voting this November is critical. That’s why former First Lady Michelle Obama visited the University of […]

Congress continues to put our health care at risk

Mikka Macdonald

Last year, cancer patient and Nevada resident Laura Packard asked her U.S. Senator why he was willing to sacrifice her life for corporate tax breaks. In a public event in […]

Hay que Votar por Nuestra Salud

Elizabeth Nazarett

Vivir diez años sin poder tener un seguro de salud fue realmente difícil. Durante ese tiempo, y como madre soltera con un salario modesto, debí escoger entre darle techo y […]

Voting to Make Florida’s Environment a Priority

Maliha Kareem

Water is life.  And in many ways, it is what defines Florida. As a first generation American whose family came from Iraq, a nation with critical environment-related threats to human […]

By Supporting Kavanaugh, Rubio and Scott Are Betraying the Women They Represent

Elizabeth Fernandez

How much more are women expected to endure from the Trump administration? It’s not enough to have a president in power who was caught on tape bragging about committing sexual […]

There’s Too Much On the Line to Skip This Election

Elizabeth Fernandez

With so much at stake in this election, in Florida and across the nation, registering to vote before the Oct. 9th deadline is so important. That’s why former First Lady […]

Kavanaugh Is Yet Another Way Trump Is Attacking Women

Elizabeth Fernandez

Trump told us how he felt about women years before he was ever elected. We are just things to “grab.” According to him, “you can do anything” to us. In […]

In Florida, we steer which way we go at historic crossroads

Thomas Kennedy

Florida is on the cusp of a historic moment. Democratic voters nominated Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum as the first black candidate for Governor in the history of the state. As […]

Haga la elección correcta Florida

Thomas Kennedy

El 28 de agosto de 1963, el Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. se paró al pie del monumento a Abraham Lincoln en Washington D.C. para pronunciar su histórico discurso “Tengo […]

Out of Time: Work Requirements and College Life

Willie Francois

Almost one in eight Americans live under the discriminating tyranny of food insecurity. Bureaucratic hurdles to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—formerly known as food stamps—stunt the strides of hardworking […]

Puerto Rican Women Clap Back, Ready to Vote in November

Laura Munoz

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took the Democratic party by surprise early July when she won the primary race against long-term incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley.  Since her victory, Ocasio-Cortez has been on the […]

What the War on Citizenship Means to Your Vote

Elizabeth Fernandez

After 35 years in the United States, my father Joaquin Fernandez finally decided to become a citizen for one reason: He wanted to vote for the first woman president. From […]

The Blue Wave Won’t Happen Without Black and Brown Voters

Thomas Kennedy

The Trump administration and its constant barrage of embarrassing antics seem to be turning off a significant portion of the American electorate. Since Trump’s inauguration last year, Republican candidates have […]

In full force ahead of Florida primaries

Melissa Taveras

“I’m supposed to be in my bed today because I’ve been working hard the whole week, but instead I’m here because I need to let my neighbors, coworkers, families know […]

Use your right to vote to put people in office that have our best interest in mind

Maliha Kareem

Young people are organized and highly motivated to make a difference this year towards an inclusive Florida. Students like Brandon Dasent are changing the political landscape. Although Dasent won’t be […]

Freedom is what moves him

Maliha Kareem

In this upcoming elections, we have the chance to make history by voting YES to Amendment 4, which will restore the voting rights of over 1.5 million Floridians who have […]

Five decades since people of color were given the right to vote

Topacio Marrero

It’s almost scary to think, but it’s only been 5 decades since people of color in America were effectively given the right to vote. This was accomplished because of how […]

Have they lost their minds?

Thomas Kennedy

Republican frontrunner for Florida Governor and member of Congress Ron Desantis has released what is arguably the most embarrassing political ad of the midterm elections. In the 30 second spot, […]

Young voters in Florida state why they are voting this November

Elizabeth Fernandez

I’m speaking to voters at a candidate forum for young voters in Miami on why the November 2018 elections matter to them. Check them out. Be inspired. Let’s unite the […]

The forced trajectory of Trinita Farmer, mother of police homicide victim, Tashii Brown

Nissa Tzun

“He was very creative,” said Trinita Farmer about her son, Tashii Brown, during an interview in her home on March 4, 2018.  Farmer was eager to exhibit his work, which […]

In Florida, we are voting to change the status-quo

Maliha Kareem

With life changing decisions on the ballot, young people in Florida are gearing up for the 2018 elections to hold everyone accountable and make profound changes in our state’s Constitution. […]

Immigrants, not France, are the real World Cup winners

Thomas Kennedy

After weeks of suspense, France emerged the winner of the World Cup with a resounding 4-2 victory over Croatia. What is clear to anybody who watched the tournament from the […]

Travel bans enduring hostility toward Muslims

Maliha Kareem

This piece was originally published in the Orlando Sentinel. When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s travel ban, imposing travel restrictions on several predominantly Muslim-majority countries, it affected many people in our […]

Supreme Court nominee will impact my life

Elizabeth Fernandez

I really thought we’d have more time to plan our wedding. When my fiancée and I picked January 2019, it seemed far enough away to get everything done. Now, we’re […]

This Land Is Our Land: Diversity and Access in the Great Outdoors

Mikka Macdonald

The United States’ National Park Service and wilderness recreation industry have never been more popular—and yet the American outdoor space is still largely and systematically out of reach for people […]

This is what #AbolishICE really means

Thomas Kennedy

Growing up, most of my friends and neighbors did not know what the acronym ICE stood for. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency which oversaw the detention and deportation of […]

Why progressives need to mobilize against Trump’s Supreme Court pick

Nadia Eldemerdash

Donald Trump selected a clear partisan as his pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy who announced his resignation at the end of the Supreme Court’s term. Federal appeals court judge […]

Private prisons make more money the more people they keep incarcerated. In Florida, activists are working to stop the practice.

Thomas Kennedy

As Americans we believe deeply in freedom and fairness. We believe that we should be free to pursue the American dream, no matter your station in life or where you […]

We must fight to keep Nevada families from going hungry

Nadia Eldemerdash

Like many Americans, I have always envisioned America as a country of plenty, a country of opportunity. In such a country, there is no reason for anyone to go hungry. […]

Make the right choice this November, Florida

Thomas Kennedy

Florida has long been a bastion of conservative politics, but it has not always been this way. Since gaining statehood in 1845, Florida had voted for the most part Democratic. […]

We need to sweep white supremacists out of office before we can really confront racism

Thomas Kennedy

Last month, a viral video depicting New York lawyer Aaron Schlossberg’s racist rant against two Spanish speaking employees in a Manhattan deli seems to have left many shocked. Not me […]

In November, everything is on the line

Nadia Eldemerdash

This piece originally published in the Las Vegas Sun. Every election year, the posters and signs go up announcing new candidates vying for political office. Every year, volunteers set out […]

Separating children from parents is cruel, no matter your stand on immigration

Thomas Kennedy

Last year, I spent an evening with immigrant youth from Homestead, a city and major agricultural area of south Florida. While there, I attended a workshop facilitated by Miami-based interdisciplinary […]

Voting let me reclaim my voice when I needed it most

Nadia Eldemerdash

In some ways, it was harder for me to believe that Barack Obama would get reelected than it was to believe that he was elected the first time. Surely, four […]

Don’t know what the county assessor does? Here’s a primer for the little known elected positions in Nevada.

Nadia Eldemerdash

As voters in a democratic country, it is crucial that we make educated decisions about who we put in office and the ballot measures we pass. Researching names is straightforward […]

Education, environment, and everything in between: Democratic Gubernatorial candidates talk politics in 2018

Nadia Eldemerdash

Nevada’s primary elections are four short weeks away, and this year sees two Democratic candidates stepping up to the plate. Steve Sisolak, a local businessman and Clark County Commission chairman, […]

With payday loan , Trump again shows he’s not out to help the working class. He’s out to get them.

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

During his campaign, and again and again since becoming president, the Tweeter-in-Chief has brashly portrayed himself as “a populist,” a protector of the working class. His style, his rhetoric, and […]

Hollywood empowerment: From Coco to Black Panther to Crazy Rich Asians

Karl Catarata

This piece was originally published in AndACTION. These past few months, Latinx family pride and Black excellence dominated Hollywood with the blockbuster releases of “Coco” and “Black Panther.” And now, […]

Elections are tight; margins are slim. That’s why the Asian American vote matters.

Karl Catarata

Las Vegas – The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) population in the United States is often forgotten about, underrepresented in politics, and often thought of as a minority group that […]

Reno: Do we want to be the new Silicon Valley?

Cassandra Little

Last month, I went to San Francisco with a group of friends to see a musical. While the play was fantastic, and we had a great time, I left feeling […]

Saving Nevada’s water from climate change impact: Eldemerdash

Nadia Eldemerdash

The piece was published originally in the Reno Gazette Journal. Living in the desert, water is always on our minds – how to stay hydrated, how to manage it and […]

What’s Next for the March for Our Lives Movement?

Karl Catarata

Exactly one month ago, the world watched as Americans took to the streets to march for their lives and demand that legislators enact common sense gun reform. Sparked by youth […]

The Starbucks incident highlights the daily indignities that Black people face

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

A good friend of mine commented on his Facebook page about the now viral video of the “Starbucks arrest incident,” which showed two black men being arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks […]

Immigrant justice and criminal justice reform go hand-in-hand

Thomas Kennedy

In the Trump era, efforts to curtail the aggressive criminalization of immigrant communities have largely focused on the fight over sanctuary cities. Sanctuary cities are localities that welcome immigrants and […]

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