First Generation Civil Rights Fellowship
The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is launching the First Generation Civil Rights Fellowship program, or FirstGEN, this summer on June 3, 2013. The 2013 class will be the inaugural year of this program, created to coincide with the Lawyers' Committee's 50th anniversary. To meet our 2013 inaugural FirstGEN Fellows, Ms. Tania Chairez and Ms. Najaah Daniels, please click here. To read a May 7, 2013 article on this program, appearing on Diverse Issues in Higher Education, please click here.
Each year FirstGEN will sponsor two undergraduate students, with placement with the Lawyers' Committee's Public Policy Project. Fellows will learn first-hand how important civil rights battles are fought through public policy advocacy efforts. Fellows will also receive the opportunity to meet one-on-one with leading D.C. based civil rights advocates. In addition to working on Public Policy Project assignments Fellows will be expected to produce a policy white paper which will be posted on the Lawyers' Committee's website and presented before Lawyers' Committee staff and, if possible, board members.
The purpose of this program is to provide additional support to first generation college students who may face greater obstacles developing and maintaining civil rights focused career paths. This additional support is provided in two ways, first Fellows are provided with modest financial support, and secondly the Fellowship program will facilitate meetings with advocacy leaders, from across the public interest sector, to help Fellows better understand the breadth of the civil rights field and to help Fellows develop professional networks. This fellowship is a 10 week summer program. In addition to a modest stipend Fellows also have the opportunity to seek and earn college course credit.
Application for Summer 2014 Placement, Deadlines
The FirstGEN Fellowship Selection Committee seeks to identify applicants who are passionate about developing careers in civil rights and who represent the first generation of their families to pursue higher education.
- Accepting applications through January 21, 2014.
- Finalists will be contacted on or before February 28, 2014.
- Two Fellows will be selected anywhere from March to April of 2014.
- Ten week summer Fellowship commences approximately during the first week of June, 2014.
The start date will be negotiated once the 2014 FirstGEN Fellows are selected.
- The Civil Rights Fellowship Committee seeks bright undergraduate students, who are first generation college students, dedicated to pursuing careers in civil rights.
- Applicants must possess a track record of public service through volunteer work/community service.
- If applicants do not possess a track record of public service, applicants may include an additional page explaining the circumstances preventing this type of engagement.
- Candidates who are people of color, women, LGBT, or other minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.
- A cover sheet listing the applicant's current contact information (address, phone, and e-mail), university and graduation date.
- A one page resume, which should list relevant prior experiences working or volunteering in public service.
- A reflective essay not to exceed 2 double-spaced pages describing why the applicant is passionate about pursuing a career in the public interest civil rights field.
- Applications should be emailed, Portable Document Format (PDF), as one single document, if possible, to email@example.com.
- Fellows must complete his or her freshman year before commencing this program.
- Fellows must be first generation college students.
- Fellows must be enrolled either full time or part time.
- Fellows must be able to reside in Washington, D.C. for ten weeks during the length of this program.
- $1,500.00 (per fellow).
Fellowship Program Details
- Fellows will be directly supervised by Public Policy Director Tanya Clay-House but will potentially have the opportunity to work in other project areas of interest.
- Fellows will have the opportunity to meet with D.C. based civil rights leaders from the Hill, the non-profit sector and other social justice organizations.
- Fellows will be required to produce a white paper on a racial justice issue related to Lawyers' Committee work, for publication on the Lawyers' Committee website.
- Fellows will receive leadership and advocacy training.
- Legal Mobilization Project Counsel Alejandro T. Reyes manages the programmatic aspects of this fellowship, which include providing leadership and advocacy training, providing research guidance and facilitating meetings with civil rights & public interest leaders.
Am I required to find housing on my own?
Yes, each fellow is required to find housing; we can provide suggestions.
Am I required to reside in the District of Columbia during the fellowship?
No one is required to reside in the District of Columbia. The only requirement is that a fellow is able to come to our office each day during the program.
When you say first generation graduate, do you mean within your immediate family?
My older sibling graduates one year ahead of me, do I still qualify?
Every applicant will have a different story to share, please share yours, and the selection committee will make a decision based on your specific situation.
I am unable to commence the fellowship program on May 29 or on June 5, should I still apply?
Our aim is to have both fellows commence this program on the same day or as close together as possible, however we are flexible. The best thing to do is to apply and include in your application when you would be able to commence.
I graduate before this program begins, am I eligible?
Yes, as long as you are enrolled at the time you submit your application materials.
A parent has a two-year associate degree, am I eligible?
Yes, but include this information in your application materials.
About the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure equal justice for all through the rule of law, targeting in particular the inequities confronting African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities. The Lawyers' Committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar's leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity - work that continues to be vital today.
Please contact Alejandro T. Reyes, Counsel for the Legal Mobilization Project, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-662-8321.