For the past ten-weeks, all 15 Fellows poured their energy into leading some of the most important campaigns in our area: De-Escalate Washington I-940, Decline to Sign I-1552, Washington Voting Justice, and banning conversion therapy in Renton.
Combined, the Fellows obtained over 3,000 signatures and registered dozens of new voters. This translated into over 3,000 individual conversations around LGBTQIA+ advocacy, voting access, and police accountability.
For those who have ever lead campaigns, you know first hand the difficulties of creating field plans, pulling turf, lobbying elected officials, and canvassing. These tasks were no exceptions for this Fellowship class. Through extreme canvassing temperatures, difficult conversations around oppression, and yes even rejection out on the field, the Fellows continued to be intentional and committed to their campaigns. Nothing wavered them. They went out into the field every week engaging young people and pushing forth progressive policies.
This last Sunday was the final day for the 8th Washington Bus Fellowship Class. It was a bittersweet moment. What started with 15 Fellows sitting around our conference table in the office, nervously making small talk ended with a deep commitment to each other, an understanding of collective healing, and passion for building people-led power. I know they will go back to their schools, workplaces, and communities to continue to put into practice what they learned this summer.
I have said this before, and I will say it again, with these Fellows out in our communities we are going to be ok. The social equity change we want to see will happen. Follow the work they will be doing in their communities.
Read statements from the Fellows below to get a glimpse at their experience this summer.
-Cinthia Illan-Vazquez, Fellowship Organizer
And a word from the incredible staff who led our summer Fellowship program…