Surge Institute Launches Abolitionist Design Lab with Seven Surge Chicago Alumni

(Chicago, IL – August 30th) The Surge Institute is excited to announce that seven Surge Chicago Alumni have been selected to join its inaugural Abolitionist Design Lab. Beginning in August 2021, the selected alumni will participate in a cohort-based professional learning and accountability community centered on abolitionist practice and liberatory design, which will meet monthly and will culminate in March 2022 with a celebratory Gallery Walk of the alumni’s final creations.

Participating Surge Alumni include:

 

The Abolitionist Design Lab initiative is designed to honor the legacy of abolitionist practice and support practitioners in actualizing that practice, with the goal of building solutions, initiatives, policies, and responses to real-world obstacles and impediments to dignity and humanity. The Design Lab will be facilitated by 2019 Surge Alums Lydia Mercer and Terrence Pruitt, and they will use Dr. Bettina L. Love’s We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom, as a guide to abolitionist practice and design. 

 

 

The Surge Chicago Abolitionist Design Lab is made possible through the contribution of Crown Family Philanthropies.

Sign up for the Surge Institute’s Quarterly Newsletter to stay informed about upcoming events, news and related developments. If you are interested in investing in Surge Chicago’s work, consider making a contribution to the Surge Institute (select Chicago), which goes directly towards supporting the Surge Chicago community of 135 alumni as well as accompanying programs such as the Chicago Surge Fellowship and the Abolitionist Design Lab.

 

MEDIA CONTACT:

Marisa Muñoz

marisa@surgeinstitute.org

c: 773-251-7475

About The Surge Institute:

The Surge Institute is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established with a simple but important mission to develop and elevate leaders of color who create transformative change for children, families, and communities. Founded by Carmita Semaan in 2014, the organization was designed to empower emerging diverse leaders to change the landscape of education by providing them with a unique, authentic leadership development experience. To learn more about The Surge Institute, please visit: www.surgeinstitute.org

Surge Institute and Education Forward DC Partner for Washington, D.C. Launch of the Surge Academy, an Executive Program for Leaders of Color in Education

Are you or a leader you know interested in learning more about the 2022 Surge Academy cohort in D.C.? All candidates can fill out this form to be notified of upcoming virtual events as well as when the application is live. The program’s homepage can also be referenced for any updates regarding the application timeline.

(Washington, D.C. – August 23, 2021) The Surge Academy, a national program that develops, elevates and unites leaders of color within the education and youth-serving space, will be expanding to Washington, D.C. The expansion of the Surge Academy is made possible thanks to a partnership with Education Forward DC, an organization that accelerates the work of visionary education leaders to foster a city of high-quality, equitable public schools for every DC student and family.

Designed by the Surge Institute, the Surge Academy program provides an intensive leadership experience, packed with powerful content that explores executive skills such as finance, strategic planning and change management. In addition, throughout the program, fellows engage in a deep and unflinching dialogue about personal growth, trauma and the true state of diversity, equity and inclusion in the United States. Jahna Riley (KC’20), an alumna of the program and Founder of Aya Coffee + Books, shares what she gained personally from her Surge Academy experience:

“I’ve leaned into my values, and I am much more self-assured and unapologetic. Because of my Surge experience, what was once a dream and a long-term goal is now a reality. I have grown to be comfortable with calling myself an educator, an entrepreneur, and a Visionary.”

Launched in Kansas City, the six-month fellowship program originally brought together a cohort of 11 African-American and Latinx emerging leaders to explore how they can collectively transform education to best serve all youth and communities. To date, the program has graduated three cohorts, two in Kansas City and one in Indianapolis respectively, totaling 44 leaders who have transitioned into Surge’s National Alumni Network of more than 200 leaders of color. In previous expansions of the program, the Surge Institute has partnered with organizations such as:

Investing in the Surge Academy is part of the Education Forward DC’s commitment to building a future where students starting furthest from opportunity can chart their own path and thrive​. Fonda Sutton, Partner, Public Engagement at Education Forward, shares what the partnership means for leaders of color in the Washington, D.C. educational landscape:

“An education system that serves all students better is only possible if the voices, experiences, and needs of communities of color figure more prominently in our city’s education planning and decision-making,” shared Sutton. “Surge Academy DC will focus on building up and networking leaders who have shared experiences with the communities we care about and provide space for fellows to challenge and support one another in building on their dreams for students of color. We are excited to support the creation of a stronger network of Black and Latinx leaders united in shifting existing power dynamics and driving systemic change for education in DC.”

Upon graduating from the Surge Academy, fellows maintain a deep connection to the Surge national movement, united in the purpose of building an equitable future for communities of color.

To learn more about applying to the Surge Academy in Washington, D.C., the Surge Institute welcomes local leaders of color to attend an upcoming virtual networking event. These spaces are an opportunity to be in community with like-minded leaders and learn more about the program’s recruitment process. Registration and additional details are available on the Surge Academy homepage. Applications for the cohort will open in November 2021.

Sign up for the Surge Institute’s Quarterly Newsletter and follow the Surge Institute and Surge Academy on social media to stay informed about upcoming events, news and related developments.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Marisa Muñoz

marisa@surgeinstitute.org

c: 773-251-7475

 

About The Surge Institute:

The Surge Institute is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established with a simple but important mission to develop and elevate leaders of color who create transformative change for children, families, and communities. Founded by Carmita Semaan in 2014, the organization was designed to empower emerging diverse leaders to change the landscape of education by providing them with a unique, authentic leadership development experience. To learn more about The Surge Institute, please visit: www.surgeinstitute.org

About Education Forward DC:

Education Forward DC works to advance quality and equity in DC public schools. We are committed to doubling the number of underserved students in Washington, DC in five years who are college and career ready, with a particular focus on at-risk and special education students. We provide grants across the city, offer advisory support to our grantees, and coordinate work across sectors, schools, and organizations in DC to ensure a great public school for every DC student. To learn more about Education Forward DC, please visit: www.edforwarddc.org

Surge Institute Welcomes Fifth Oakland Surge Fellowship Cohort

(OAKLAND, CA – August 18th, 2021) The Surge Institute is excited to welcome 17 leaders from across the Bay Area to join the 2022 Oakland Surge Fellowship cohort. As the organization enters its fifth programmatic year in Oakland, these fellows join a vast network of mission-driven leaders who are currently working within the education and youth-serving space, united by the collective goal to transform systems and build towards a future where the nation’s young people and communities of color can thrive.

The Surge Fellowship is a best-in-class, spirited experience for emerging leaders of color in education. During selection for the cohort, the Surge Institute identifies and elevates promising education leaders of color to engage in a collaborative learning environment guided by Surge’s four programmatic objectives: Dream Big, Focus Inward, Know the Landscape, and Make an Impact. With experience ranging in sectors from philanthropic to youth development, from nonprofit to traditional school administration, the 2022 Surge Oakland cohort will embark on a transformational, professional journey in which they will build community, freedom dream and collectively center on the importance of healing for communities of color all while unlocking unique leadership and advocacy skills. 

“Throughout the recruitment season, we put out a call for leaders of color who are ready and able to do the work of clarifying and strengthening their leadership. I am so grateful for all of the strong leaders who applied, and I am eager to get this year’s fellowship off the ground, said Yvonne Rodriguez, Ph.D., Program Director for the Surge Fellowship in Oakland. “In this season of the continuing impact and evolution of the climate crises, COVID-19 pandemic and white supremacy rage, we know that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by these added burdens. Our people need and deserve leaders they can trust now. This cohort is deeply committed and connected to the community, and they understand the complexity of the work ahead and are ready to jump in. I look forward to being in community with them and to witness their impact,” she continued.

See below for a full list of 2022 Surge Oakland Fellows:

Traditionally, the Surge Fellowship has transpired through monthly in-person sessions held at Bay Area-based organization venues focused on generating social impact for surrounding communities, such as the National Equity Project, Greenlining Institute and College Track. Last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all sessions were held virtually to ensure the safety of the Surge community. In light of recent developments around emerging variants, the organization has determined that all Surge programming will be virtual through the end of 2021. Surge hopes to gradually transition to an in-person or hybrid format as soon as safely possible.

“As people of color in this country, our stories have been, and continue to be, about striving and persisting in the face of ‘no’ and ‘not yet.’ And yet, through the generations, we’ve still found ways to excel,” said Swen Ervin, Director, Civil Service & Paraeducator Staffing at SFUSD. “Surge provides an opportunity to knock down the barriers for ourselves and for young people. We must create a future that says ‘yes’ and ‘right now’ for our youth – and we’re long overdue. And by continuing to bring like-minded people together, Surge helps us amplify our voices, the voices who came before and those yet to come. I want to be part of that. I want to see a future where all kids know that they already possess everything they need.”

Over the course of the 2022 Oakland Surge Fellowship, fellows will center each other’s lived experiences and personal talents as leaders of color in order to fully realize the multi-generational impact that they collectively envision for their communities. At the culmination of the program, Surge Fellows will complete a Capstone Project. The Surge Fellowship in Oakland utilizes Liberatory Design (LD) as the foundation for Capstone Projects. Through this framework, fellows will engage the community in defining challenges and designing solutions that result in love, justice and equity. In this way, they will ideate and take action on an initiative that is reflective of the hopes and aspirations of communities of color.

The Surge Fellowship was created with the goal of expanding diversity in the education leadership pipeline, and this program and its impact has expanded in reach far and wide, activating, elevating, and connecting mission-driven minds and thought leaders across the nation. This work is made possible by Surge’s community partners, funders, supporters and people who believe in investing in the genius that already exists in communities. 

If you are interested in investing in the 2022 Surge Oakland cohort, consider making a contribution to the Surge Forward Fund, which goes directly towards covering tuition amount and supporting the journey of a fellow who would otherwise be unable to cover such the price of the fellowship, or by becoming an IMPACT Community Member.

About the Surge Institute

The Surge Institute was established in 2014 with a simple but important mission to develop and elevate leaders of color who create transformative change for children, families, and communities. Founded by Carmita Semaan in 2014, the organization’s signature program, the Surge Fellowship, was designed to empower emerging diverse leaders to change the landscape of education by providing them with a unique, authentic leadership development experience. 

To learn more about The Surge Institute, please visit: https://www.surgeinstitute.org/