We understand the power our physical surroundings hold and believe the everyday people who live, work, and play in a given space deserve the agency to shape their environments. We also understand entrenched social barriers and generational inequities can limit who feels welcome and able to contribute to conversations about the future of their community. To help Kennett Square, a small Pennsylvania community with a Latino population greater than 50%, meaningfully diversify its community decision-makers Praxis developed and implemented the Emerging Leaders Fellowship. The 4-session program identified and uplifted emerging civic leaders (mostly, though not exclusively Latinos under 45) to help them build collaborative networks, develop confidence as experts, and claim power within the community.
The core curriculum encouraged Fellows to think about how the town can become more inclusive in the long-term, with a focus on how their individual leadership styles and ideas can promote this transformation. Fellows actively participated in a series of discussion-based modules, which included guest facilitators who shared their leadership stories and led interactive exercises in leadership, collaboration, and idea implementation. Many of the guest facilitators Praxis brought to the Fellowship were inspiring to participants because they had initiated important programs and policies that brought major benefit to the Latino community in other cities and towns.
“On the first day of our sessions, many barriers were broken. It didn’t matter about our job titles, or what we did in life, or the color of our skin. We recognized ourselves as human beings. I felt like I was in a safe environment. I could bring my whole self and speak up. It was the first time I felt valued as a leader. It was a life-changing experience for me.”
—Elideth Navarro, 2022 Emerging Leaders Fellow