Nine-week program, in collaboration with Change Collective, prepares Mississippians to advocate for policy and social change across the state
JANS – The Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Mississippi State Office announces the start of the 2023 Advocacy Institute.
The SPLC Advocacy Institute is designed to help provide practical, hands-on experience and training in advocacy. Launched in 2022, the Advocacy Institute is a training ground for emerging activists and advocates across the state who are interested in advancing issues that are critical to the improvement of their communities through education, transformative change, and collective action.
“Mississippi is ripe for change,” said Waikinya Clanton, SPLC Mississippi state director. “We are excited to collaborate with Change Collective and, together, to provide the next generation of leaders and changemakers with the tools needed to strengthen communities and build people power to realize our state’s full potential.”
Throughout the program, participants will work closely with SPLC staff, subject experts, and other key stakeholders to bring these plans to fruition as they seek to effectuate change within their local communities. Sessions are centered on community impact, understanding the importance of community organizing and how legislative decisions are made that disproportionately affect marginalized communities in the state, particularly those of color.
“The SPLC is a catalyst for social justice throughout the Deep South,” Clanton continued. “We are working to build power in Mississippi from the ground up and instituting programs like the Advocacy Institute will drive that change by empowering participants to address the issues that most impact people in the state.”
The Advocacy Institute is one of several new initiatives the SPLC is undertaking to forge deep alliances and partnerships with local communities. The initiatives being launched in Mississippi are laying the groundwork for establishing similar programs throughout the Deep South.
The institute includes a newly formed partnership with the Change Collective , a national leadership network for changemakers who are passionate about solving issues in their communities and combating social isolation, political polarization, and civic disengagement.
“We are proud to support SPLC Mississippi’s important work of training the next generation of leaders to solve complex problems in their local communities. In this newly formed partnership, we are honored to include SPLC Advocacy Institute graduates in future Change Collective cohorts in Jackson, MS in order to provide further leadership development and national networking opportunities,” said Kalisha Dessources Figures, senior fellow of the Change Collective. “Our goal is to contribute to Jackson’s vibrant leadership pipeline and amplify the incredible program that SPLC has created for community organizers.”