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"PRRAC’s Edith Witt Internships"

May/June 2006 issue of Poverty & Race

We are pleased to announce our 2006 award, to the Idaho Community Action Network (in Boise) and their intern, Fernando Mejia. Their project, Idaho DREAM in Motion, DREAM in Action, focuses on developing youth leadership teams across the state and coordinating campus/community campaigns in support of the DREAM Act, an in-state tuition bill in Idaho, and comprehensive immigration reform. Mr. Mejia, born in Mexico, is a political science major at Boise State Univ. A subsequent issue of Poverty & Race will report on their work.

Below is the report of Katie Yue-Sum Li, the 2005 Edith Witt intern, and her work for Teaching for Change (our partner organization in publishing Putting the Movement Back Into Civil Rights Teaching):

Katie Li’s Edith Witt Fellowship has supported her work with Teaching for Change’s curriculum development for the National Equity Center Civil Rights Institutes. The National Equity Center will hold two Summer Civil Rights Activist Institutes—one for college students (in Los Angeles) and one for high school students (in DC). The mission of these two unprecedented institutes is to mentor, guide and train the next generation of leaders to fight in the movement for social justice. Understanding that new leaders must gain a deep knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement from a people’s perspective as well as develop leadership and advocacy skills, the NEC has partnered with Teaching for Change to write the curriculum for their two institutes. The curriculum draws in part from the Teaching for Change/PRRAC publication, Putting the Movement Back Into Civil Rights Teaching.

Over the course of the last few months, I have coordinated, written and gathered resources and curricula for the high school institute. This curriculum focuses on the history of the Civil Rights Movement as a people’s movement, leadership and advocacy skills, media and communications training, and site visits to organizations and community groups that are contemporary examples of people fighting in the movement for social justice today. Specifically, I have had the opportunity to write a curriculum emphasizing alliance-building and intergroup community-building.

In addition, I have served as the communication liaison between Teaching for Change and the high school institute faculty. This role has included tasks such as coordinating meeting times, facilitating conference calls, soliciting feedback, and revising the curriculum after receiving suggestions. The critical experience I have gained writing and editing the NEC curriculum for TfC has broadened my knowledge about social justice resources and networks as well as deepened my skills for writing and reviewing a social justice and popular education curriculum.
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