Goodbye to our 2017 Fellowship Class

Goodbye to our 2017 Fellowship Class <3

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…

Introducing the Bustice League!

Introducing the Bustice League!

This week’s Hella Bus Blog Thirsty Thursday blog post comin’ at ya! #knowledgeresponsibly

We’ve got big news coming out of Buslandia, a place where dreams come true. Do you dream of 100% youth voter turnout? Do you want to befriend other rad civically engaged young people? Do you wish you could be a real-life superhero? Whatever your dream is, we’re proud to announce The Bustice League™, our brand spankin’ new volunteer program created with the stuff that dreams are made of.

Members of the Bustice League are the super-volunteers that help our voter registration and campaign work succeed. Super-volunteers commit to a certain number of volunteer hours per month. The opportunities are varied and endless–you could register voters at Bumbershoot, testify at city council, create a zine, or help out around the office. Joining the Bustice League gets you access to #firstdibs at music festival volunteer shifts, bus swag, an opportunity to build up your organizing skills, and of course, a once in a lifetime chance to change the world.

The Bustice League is an extension of our leadership development programs, our seasonal internship and summer fellowship. The Bustice League is open to people of all ages and experience levels. Have you already completed our fellowship program and want to get back on the Bus? Join the Bustice League! Did you just find out about us at Seattle Pride and want to learn more about volunteering? Join the Bustice League! We’ll have fun and meaningful ways for everyone to join.

As staff members, we commit to investing in you and your growth as a young political organizer with a passion for justice. We’ll also plan regular social events (happy hour, anyone?) for Bustice League members.
If you like what you’ve read so far and want to become a defender of democracy, an advocate for justice, and a mighty political organizer, you should join the Bustice League! Come to our official launch party at the Washington Bus office in Pioneer Square on July 6 from 6-8 pm. We’ll bring the snacks, and you can bring your friends. Deal? Check out the Facebook event here and don’t forget to RSVP! If you can’t come to the launch party, but want to learn more about joining the Bustice League, shoot me an e-mail at sophia@washingtonbus.org.

This blog post was written by Sophia Hoffacker, the Bus’s own Field Coordinator.

An open letter to the 2017 Fellowship Class

An open letter to the 2017 Fellowship Class

Enjoy this week’s Hella Bus Blog Thirsty Thursday blog post! #knowledgeresponsibly

 

Dear 2017 Fellows,

Alisha graduating from her 2013 Fellowship Class

It’s been a long season of outreach and planning in preparation for your arrivals and I could not be happier to finally meet you all. In 2013, I was a fellow and it was one of the most transformative times in my life. After the Fellowship I decided I loved the Bus so much I would try my hardest to stick around for as long as I could, and now here I am 4 years later living my dream and it’s because the Bus invested in my growth as a leader. I am excited to be a contributor to the growth you will experience this summer.

It’s okay to be nervous. I remember my first day sitting in our old Bus office not really knowing what was in store for me this summer but it was the best summer ever. I met one of my best friends through the Fellowship and got a very unique (and fun!) perspective on local politics.

Alisha’s summer as Fellowship Organizer!

 

The Fellowship is a lot of work, but it’s extremely rewarding. You will become best friends with your clipboard and 4 years later you will probably find a bus sticker or two hiding out in your room. When you do, you will be reminded of that time you kicked ass in the field at the block parties, helped meet campaign goals, and maybe that person you tried to give that sticker to and they ignored you (because that will happen). Which leads me to say this:

2017 Fellowship Inauguration

 

 

Canvassing is hard. It was the hardest part for me as an introvert and if canvassing is hard for you it is okay. I’ve been at the Bus in different capacities since I’ve graduated from the Fellowship and I’ve come a long way when it comes to how I feel about field and it is because of the support I had at the Bus. Cinthia and I are here to support you when times get rough and when people get rude. One thing that helps me in the field as someone who has been doing this for a while is just remembering that the probability of me seeing someone I’ve canvassed again is very slim unless they come to more Bus stuff (and in that case YAY!). Bless and release those who are not ready to have the conversations you want to have with them and know that you might have been that person’s first contact in a field that has been historically exclusive to a lot of folks. 

Lastly, you will go through a lot this summers. Feelings of happiness, feelings of tiredness but please know that you are Bus family and family takes care of each other. I got your back and I know I can speak for the rest of Fellowship Team and Bus staff that no matter what you experience this summer, you will be supported and you will be better in the end.

Let’s go change the world and thank you for trusting me to guide you.

<3 Alisha

This blog post was written by Alisha Agard, the Bus’s Fellowship Coordinator.