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Open Society Foundations Announce 2020 Soros Equality Fellows

NEW YORK—Organizing in communities in the Mississippi Delta. Developing an innovative tool kit to support the racial justice movement. Telling the story of Muslim women engaged in community activism through documentary film. And chronicling the violence inflicted on America’s Sikh population.

These are just some of the projects being undertaken by the 2020 class of Soros Equality Fellows, a remarkable group of 13 individuals who bring a diverse array of tools and talents to bear in a common purpose: to advance racial justice and equality in the United States at a time of enormous challenge and enormous opportunity.

The program, now in its fourth year, is designed to help incubate innovators and risk-takers striving to create and develop new ways of addressing the systemic causes and symptoms of racial disparity and discrimination. It draws from different worlds—from artists and advocates to lawyers and organizers. In addition to providing support for the fellows’ specific projects, the program seeks to promote leadership development training, networking, and other professional opportunities aimed at building and nurturing the racial justice ecosystem in the United States.

In the current climate, the work of these fellows has never felt so urgent. “We are at a transformative juncture in American history,” said Alvin Starks, director of the Open Society-U.S. Equality team at the Open Society Foundations, who oversees the fellowship program. “Millions have taken to the streets to support racial justice in the United States and around the world. And public opinion has shifted dramatically. It’s an incredible honor to be able to support the work of these leaders to seize the moment and do their part to affect real and lasting change.”

The 2020 Soros Equality Fellows will each receive stipends of $100,000 over the course of 18 months.

2020 Soros Equality Fellows

Dayana Blanco Acendra will develop a transnational network of activists focused on the use of legal mobilization for racial justice. This project will be co-created with Daniel Gómez-Mazo.

Hisham Aidi will create a web documentary series and book project to study the rise of Afro-Arab and Amazigh migration and activism in the United States over the last 25 years.

Cliff Albright will create a framework and an accompanying tool kit to help the racial justice movement better understand and measure power.

Zaheer Ali will create “Make It Plain: Storytelling and Listening for Social Change,” a Muslim community-based participatory storytelling and listening narrative project that is scalable and can be replicated around the country.

Virgilio Bravo will produce a documentary that chronicles and disseminates a blueprint for a new model of democracy through the lens of the 2020 Chilean revolution.

Nausheen Dadabhoy will direct a feature-length documentary, titled An Act of Worship, which follows the lives of three Muslim women as they find their place in community activism at a time when Islamophobia is sharply on the rise.

Daniel Gómez-Mazo will develop a transnational network of activists focused on the use of legal mobilization for racial justice. This project will be co-created with Dayana Blanco Acendra.

Jeremie Greer will build “Liberation in a Generation,” a movement support project centering the economic liberation of people of color, so that, within one generation, the U.S. has an economy where all people of color belong and have equal opportunity. This project will be co-created with Solana Rice.

Saru Jayaraman will address income inequality through development of a new narrative rejecting the undervaluing of subminimum wage workers and demanding instead a full, fair minimum wage for all.

Solana Rice will build “Liberation in a Generation,” a movement support project centering the economic liberation of people of color, so that within one generation, the United States has an economy where all people of color belong and have equal opportunity. This project will be co-created with Jeremie Greer.

Rev. Osagyefo Sekou will create an organizing hub to train and support organizers and religious communities working across social movements in Memphis, Tennessee, and the greater Mississippi Delta region.

Simran Singh will write a book titled, More of This Please: Self-Care for the Soul from Sikh Wisdom, highlighting the marginalization and racialized violence experienced by Sikhs in the United States.

Anasa Troutman will develop and employ a cultural framework to shift the narrative and mechanics of local economies, specifically in African American communities in Southern cities.

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