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Using community organizing to empower those most affected by inequity

  • Tolu Sosanya

Tolu Sosanya discovered her passion for making policy change while serving as a Teach For America corps member in Baltimore, Maryland. To help her grow as an advocate, she participated in a number of LEE programs before securing a Community Organizing Fellowship (COF) with a high-impact community organizing group.

“My COF assignment with Faith Leaders for Excellent Schools, a newly-formed organization, extended my role of organizing to include coalition building, fundraising, and establishing a structure for the organization.”

As an African American woman who wasn't always given the support she needed, organizing is about creating a space for the people who are most affected by inequity.

“The power of organizing is in the power of people and the collective voice and influence they bring to an issue. As an organizer, I believe that the people most impacted by educational inequity should be at the forefront of determining which policies and practices should exist in their communities.”

Not only did COF give her the skills to be a better organizer through one-on-one meetings with an experienced organizing coach, engagement with a cohort of peer fellows and a brand new network, but Tolu also credits her time in COF with helping her land her new role.

“The Community Organizing Fellowship gave me a theoretical and technical framework for understanding organizing, and prepared me for my current role as the Director of Youth Organizing with No Boundaries Coalition, a grassroots advocacy organization in Baltimore.”

And even in her new role, she continues to incorporate the support of the Community Organizing Fellowship.

“The COF in-person and webinar trainings, the organizing tools forwarded from my COF manager, and conversations with LEE staff have all been instrumental in helping me to formulate what structures and content are appropriate for developing a curriculum for my youth advocates and helping them think through inequity in a way that accounts for systemic structures and their impact on individual lives.”

Apply now to advance educational equity as a Community Organizing Fellow in 2018!

Tolu Sosanya is an alumna of the 2014 TFA Baltimore Corps.