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The Alston / Bannerman Fellowship Program is committed to advancing progressive social change by helping to sustain long-time activists of color. The program honors those who have devoted their lives to helping their communities organize for racial, social, economic and environmental justice. The program provides resources for organizers to take time out for reflection and renewal. Fellows receive a $25,000 award to take sabbaticals of three months or more.

Why a sabbatical program for activists?

The Alston/Bannerman Program recognizes that working for social change usually means long hours at low pay, with few tangible rewards and few escapes from the day-to-day pressures. Without time to stop and reflect, the pressures can prove overwhelming, but without resources, it is impossible to take the time. Therefore, the Fellowship Program gives long-time activists of color the financial support and freedom to take a break and recharge.

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Who are the Alston/Bannerman Fellows?

Since 1988, there have been 185 Fellows. They've worked on a broad range of issues from environmental justice to fair wages, from immigrant rights to native sovereignty, from political empowerment to economic revitalization. They are from 32 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. For examples of the kinds of organizing recognized by the Alston/Bannerman Program, see the brief bios of Past Fellows.

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What do Fellows do during their sabbaticals?

Alston/Bannerman Fellows have the freedom to use their sabbaticals however they think will best re-energize them for the work ahead. No product (other than a brief report) is required. Past Fellows have used the time and resources to travel, study, visit with other activists, read, relax, acquire new skills, explore new interests, spend time with their families, retore their health, plan, evaluate and "just be still." Some Fellows have called their sabbaticals "life saving", some "life changing", but all of them report tremendous benefits, for themselves and their organizations, from the chance to step back and rejuvenate. See what Fellows say about their sabbaticals for more information.

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