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Fellowship for Liberated Futures explores rest and repair for Black women leaders in the social sector


Dr. Chera Reid, The Chisholm Legacy Project, and ProInspire have announced the launch of Fellowship for Liberated Futures (FFLF), an 18-month transformative program designed to empower and support Black women leaders in the social sector. The fellowship aims to celebrate, provide space and conditions for rest, and invite in the creativity of Black women and femmes working across and at the intersections of climate, racial and gender justice.

The fellowship draws from a collective vision of women of color movement leaders fully supported in their own healing and care.

“Liberated Futures advances a collective desire for Black women and women of color who are on the front lines of climate, racial and gender justice efforts to be well. We know that the arc to justice is long, and we need our leaders to have what they need to stay the course,” said Chera Reid, co-visionary and co-host of the Fellowship.

FFLF brings together a dynamic cohort of 17 leaders who will engage in a journey of self-discovery, rest and healing. Through a series of virtual gatherings, intentional in-person retreats, coaching and mentorship opportunities, participants will explore strategies to support their thriving while addressing the unique challenges faced by Black women and femmes on the front lines of leading justice work across the sector.

“For the past decade, I have partnered with women of color working on the front lines of climate change and have witnessed firsthand the physical and mental stress that ensues from responding to co-occurring environmental, social and economic crises while being under resourced with little time for rest and recovery,” said Shamar Bibbins, senior program officer at The Kresge Foundation, co-visionary and longtime climate and equity grantmaker. “These cumulative stressors lead to burnout and fracture opportunities for networking, collaboration and relationships among Black women and femmes in the sector. I wanted to create a space for celebration, rest and repair as part of how we address the systematic underinvestment in Black and Brown leaders in climate justice.”

Jacqueline (Jacqui) Patterson, founder of The Chisholm Project (TCLP) and co-host of Fellowship for Liberated Futures, shared this sentiment about the Fellowship:

“Through co-anchoring the Fellowship for Liberated Futures, TCLP is honored to advance this extension of our mission in providing a vehicle to ensure that Black Femmes are held and supported in centering their care and well-being. For us, we are not only advancing a mechanism through this fellowship — we are also setting forth a mandate. Through co-leadership of FFLF, we champion a paradigm shift and challenge the notion that we must sacrifice our wellness to serve the movement and our communities. Resources and space for rest and restoration should not be a privilege for a fortunate few, but a norm for us all. We proudly and exuberantly celebrate the experience that the first cohort in FFLF have embraced and modeled, while we ardently strive to ensure universality of Black femmes having these critical pre-conditions for the path to liberation.”

ProInspire is dedicated to collaborating with organizations and funders to co-create conditions for the personal and collective flourishing of leaders of color, especially for Black leaders in the sector.

Bianca Anderson, co-CEO of ProInspire, added: “We are grateful for this opportunity and we’re deeply committed to cultivating an environment that honors the holistic needs of these fellows. We aim to provide a sacred space for exploration, rest, healing and growth on the journey to liberation.”

The Fellowship for Liberated Futures is made possible through the generous support of the Kresge Foundation, JPB Foundation and McKnight Foundation. Together, these organizations are committed to investing in the long-term leadership of leaders of color in the social sector.

Learn more about the Fellowship for Liberated Futures here.