The Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity program has announced a third class of fellows working to end anti-Black racism in the United States and South Africa and build a more equitable world.
Established in 2016, the year-long non-residential program is based at Columbia University in New York City and the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg and is dedicated to building the capacity of the racial equity field through leadership development, network building, innovation, and narrative change. To that end, the program provides each fellow with a space to reflect and engage with new thinking, access to a transnational network of leaders in the racial equity field, coaching, and up to $20,000 in support of their efforts to address the root causes of racial inequality.
The twenty fellows in the 2020 class includes poet, activist, and entertainer Staceyann Chin, who works to bridge the divide between African Americans and the Caribbean and between Africa and its diaspora; attorney Alexandra Fitzgerald, senior legal officer at the South African Human Rights Commission; Arissa Hall, co-founder and director of National Bail Out, a collective of African-American organizers, lawyers, and culture workers building a community-based movement to end pre-trial detention and mass criminalization; Minhaj Jeenah, national coordinator of the Fight Inequality Alliance, a grassroots movement across thirty countries; and Edgar Villanueva, author and senior vice president of the Schott Foundation for Public Education.
"The COVID-19 pandemic lays bare the unconscionable injustices against Black people and other communities of color, from racial inequality to violence and exclusion," said AFRE executive director Kavitha Mediratta. "At a time of such extraordinary challenge, these courageous leaders are showing us new possibilities for how to eliminate anti-Black racism in the service of equity and justice. We're proud to support them to build the strategies and solutions our countries need."
"As we witness and fight against COVID-19's devastating effects on South Africa's people, land, and economy, it's clear that we need leaders who are able to conceptualize, build, and advocate for solutions that address and uproot systemic anti-Black racism," said Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatang. "By supporting this new cohort of leaders and growing its network of accomplished Atlantic Fellows, AFRE is strengthening the pipeline of advocates ready to engage in the fight for justice for decades to come."
For a complete list of this year's Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity, see the AFRE website.