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The Open Buffalo Freedom Summer Fellowship is an intensive leadership development program designed to: empower residents in Western New York with knowledge of the history of the original Freedom Summer; register and engage with voters; and work on winning the For the People Act on the national level.
The Freedom Summer Fellow will be responsible for leading the Open Buffalo civic engagement work during the summer of 2021. The ideal candidate will be a passionate leader with in-depth knowledge of systemic issues that impact underserved and under-resourced communities. Fellows will need to utilize technology in order to implement the project, such as: mass text messaging platforms, social media, phone banking software and others as needed. This person will be energetic, people-oriented, confident, assertive and creative. They will have significant experience in engaging communities and community organizing.
To apply click: https://forms.gle/1wm3dM3cLt2WC5bG6
Right now, our democracy is under attack. Fear mongering about election fraud are being told on a massive scale. New laws are being enacted all around the nation that undermine one’s ability to vote, especially in poor and communities of color. True democracy is supposed to be rooted in one man, one vote , however, when corporations and the wealthy are allowed to flood our elections, their priorities dominate of the needs of everyday people.
Not only do we need to protect existing provisions, we must expand opportunities to vote in poor and communities of color. The poverty rate in Buffalo is over TWICE the national U.S. average at 28.8%. Because of this alarming and disheartening statistic, it is clear, that we must find new and innovative ways to ensure more Buffalonians have access to the ballot box, not less.
Open Buffalo Freedom Summer Fellowship Program pays homage to the ancestors, organizers, freedom fighters and organizations who created the first freedom summer in 1964. Because of their passion, brilliance and resilience, we are able to do the work we are doing today.
“Freedom Summer, or the Mississippi Summer Project, was a 1964 voter registration drive aimed at increasing the number of registered Black voters in Mississippi. Over 700 mostly white volunteers joined African Americans in Mississippi to fight against voter intimidation and discrimination at the polls. The movement was organized by civil rights organizations like the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and run by the local Council of Federated Organizations (COFO). Freedom Summer volunteers were met with violent resistance from the Ku Klux Klan and members of state and local law enforcement. News coverage of beatings, false arrests and even murder drew international attention to the civil rights movement. The increased awareness it brought to voter discrimination helped lead to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”