The goal of this program is to redistribute power in South Carolina advocacy spaces. WREN, the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network, is an advocacy organization with a mission to build a movement to advance the health, economic well-being, and rights of women, girls, and gender-expansive people.
The South Carolina Gender Justice Advocacy Fellowship is a 6-month-long fellowship program designed to reimagine advocacy to reflect a broader representation of our communities’ perspectives and experiences. Fellows will gain access to tools and skills needed to influence public policy in South Carolina, while engaging in the legislative process during an active legislative session.
“In our work, we’ve noticed that our advocates – people from communities across the state, often say that they don’t feel prepared to take action,” Kayla Bacote, WREN’s Network Engagement Manager, said. “The system is set up to make regular people believe they need special insider knowledge or connections to participate. That’s just not true. Our democracy is for everyone—each session of this program is designed to remind South Carolinians of the power they already have and sharpen those skills.”
The Fellowship begins with a virtual orientation in December. Beginning in January, each 1–2-day session is themed with a component of advocacy and will feature guest presenters, group activities, and hands-on advocacy experience.
Sessions are currently planned as in-person events. WREN will continue monitoring COVID-19 activities in our state and lean into the expertise of public health and medical officials in order to prioritize the well-being and safety of participants and staff.
“This is our opportunity to do things a little differently. We are looking for folks who want to raise their voices and impact marginalized communities in our state. You don’t need any special qualifications, the best applicant is someone who is willing to learn and take action,” Bacote said.
WREN seeks to build a statewide cohort and will prioritize the involvement of communities and organizations who represent those most impacted by systemic oppression, including women, non-binary and gender expansive people, low-income people, Black, Brown, Indigenous, and People of Color, and people with disabilities. The program is free for participating Fellows, and WREN will make every effort to address any physical, financial, or other barriers to participation that potential Fellows may face. The application process opens in September, and the first cohort of Fellows will be announced in November.
“We all recognize the reality we’re living in. After the Texas six-week abortion ban and given our state’s history, we aren’t leaving anything up to chance. We know South Carolina will be quick to follow,” Bacote said. “Whatever the next fight, this program will prepare advocates to raise their voices.”
If you need help completing the application, accommodations are available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “SCGJAF accommodations.”
Applications are live now, visit www.scwren.org/south-
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