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Building power through organizing

  • Baton Rouge Together

Shanize Byrd joined the Community Organizing Fellowship, a paid, full-time opportunity to build power and make change with a high-impact community organizing network or organization at locations nationwide, and hit the ground running with her work at Together Baton Rouge. Through her fellowship, she was able to organize over 150 community members, including 70 individual meetings during the six-month fellowship.

Her work with the community also included educating folks on Louisiana’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program. She held eight such trainings throughout her fellowship, working with community members at schools, churches, and other local establishments. Shanize also organized a candidates assembly with a Baton Rouge high school and planned a few major public meetings.

Recently, Together Baton Rouge celebrated a big win that Shanize’s work played an important role in accomplishing. After a six-year pay freeze, the East Baton Rouge Parish school board unanimously approved a budget for the 2018-2019 school year that includes a reformed salary schedule that will give a pay increase to all school employees. The new salary schedule won’t just lift the pay freeze, but will also match pay steps with years of experience. Shanize helped design the campaign that pushed toward the new salaries for educators.

After her fellowship, Shanize became a full-time organizer with Together Baton Rouge.