Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity (AFRE) was developed to bring together organizers, artists, advocates and other change agents working to confront and dismantle anti-Black racism and advance racial justice. Our program gives these leaders the time, space and connection to others in the field to encourage brainstorming and inspire forward-looking planning and new ideas. Our Fellows connect and learn, expanding their capacity to act in new and innovative ways. The experience helps Fellows to deepen and sustain their work, and to better position them to drive powerful and transformative change.
Fellows participate in a 12-month program, spending intensive time together as a group in learning tours in the U.S. and South Africa, immersive courses with senior leaders in the field, and sessions to explore forward-looking scenario planning. They have access to mentors and coaches to advance their leadership, awareness and approaches to combatting racism and white supremacy.
The program has two learning tracks to meet Fellows’ needs:
Advanced Leadership Track is for Fellows who have made significant accomplishments in their activism and seek a diverse community in which to learn and develop new strategies for transformational action. Fellows attend 6 week-long sessions during the year, including tours in the U.S. and South Africa.
Residency Track is for Fellows who are well developed in their racial equity and social justice work and seek sabbatical time to develop ground-breaking solutions. Fellows attend 3 week-long sessions in addition to developing projects with potential to influence the larger field of racial equity work.
Upon completion of the program the Fellows join a vibrant alumni network that allows them to maintain connections to one another and provides them with support to collaborate on transformative efforts in their home communities. Fellows may also participate in the global network of Atlantic Fellows and access seed funding and other support for racial equity projects.
Fellows for this inaugural year were selected from a pool of candidates nominated by AFRE program partners. In future years, we hope to seek nominations and applications through an open call.
We are also developing an Undergraduate Track to support students at Columbia University and the University of California-Berkeley to engage in dismantling anti-Black racism through scholarship and internship opportunities.
We are working for a future where the conversation around racism and white supremacy in the U.S. and South Africa is open, honest and real. We envision a future where:
- The racial equity and social justice field is led by more Black people and other people of color, from policymakers to activists.
- Values of equity and inclusion go beyond those marginalized and become widely embraced.
- These values are fundamental to our institutions, laws, policies and practices and inform cultural narratives that uphold the humanity, rights and dignity of all people.
- Our communities are reshaped in forward-thinking ways that we cannot imagine today but know are needed to deliver true equity for all.
What is Transformative Leadership?
Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity is transforming leaders through connections, time to reflect and support to confront the issue of anti-Black racism from different perspectives. We see “transformative leadership” as:
Comprising integrity, modesty, self-awareness, and reflective practice
Demonstrating commitment to nurturing leadership in others
Able to cultivate deep and authentic relationships with diverse communities
Being disciplined in struggling through differences with openness and compassion
Having the capacity to develop a vision and lead others in strategic, long-term action