Want a Better Future for San Diego? Support Students for Economic Justice

by on April 22, 2019 · 0 comments

in San Diego

Fundraiser for the Center on Policy Initiatives’ SEJ Summer Fellowship Program – Friday, April 26th

By Jim Miller

In so many ways we are giving this generation of young people a raw deal.  Whether it be saddling them with crushing debt if they choose to attend college, allowing economic inequality to hinder their opportunities, or imperiling their future by failing to address the threat of catastrophic climate change, we have done our youth a great disservice.

And this is not just a collective failure of society in general. Even those who most like to think of themselves as fighting for a better world are not always the best mentors of the young.

Sadly, progressive politicians, organizations, unions, and activist groups end up shutting out or, worse yet, eating their young.  Rather than welcoming them in and encouraging young people, too many progressive groups fail to honor their own stated ideals and resort to exploiting eager new workers for very little pay or churning through them like they are a disposable resource.

If we are ever going to build an enduring movement that can turn the tide and redeem the future of our country, this has to end.  Leaders should start thinking proactively about who the next generation will be and how they can help foster and support them.

Progressives need to do the long hard work of growing new leadership.  If unions and activist organizations want to have better leaders who understand economic, social, and environmental justice, they ought to do everything they can to foster the education and growth of idealistic young people both inside and outside their ranks.

Fortunately, here in San Diego, the Center on Policy Initiatives has been doing this work in partnership with like-minded local labor and activist groups since 2000 with their Students for Economic Justice Summer Fellowship.

This extraordinary program gives college students an opportunity to get a crash course in intersectional politics, organizing, and outreach, and then do real hands-on work with a wide range of unions and other community organizations.  In the nineteen years since its founding, many of the graduating fellows from this program went on to work in local unions, social justice non-profits, and other community groups.  They have run for office and become emerging leaders.

More specifically, the Center on Policy Initiatives website explains.

The Students for Economic Justice Summer Fellowship is an intensive full-time, $15-an-hour, six-week program that places committed student activists at labor unions or community organizations to gain hands-on organizing experience in a current campaign for economic justice. College students will gain organizing skills, as well as knowledge on various other related topics.  The goal of this program is to train the next generation of young leaders and organizers who will effectively push forward social change and economic justice in San Diego County.

Fellows are trained by key labor and community leaders throughout San Diego. They finish the program with a better understanding of the economic and political landscape of the region and connect with progressive leaders in San Diego.

As I noted above, SEJ Fellows have gone on to work in a local unions and/or community groups with some of them even running for office.  The kinds of skills they learn in the program are essential for organizers and advocates for social justice. In sum, the SEJ Fellowship plants seeds that will bloom in the form of a better San Diego for us all.

If you’d like to support this essential work, I invite you to join my wife and me at our home for the annual fundraiser for this fine program on Friday, April 26th at 5:30 P.M. Even if you can’t make it, please consider a donation to the link below.

For more details go here

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