CCL expands diversity efforts with conference scholarships & D.C. fellowship
By Flannery Winchester
Those of us who are alarmed about climate change come from all walks of life, political perspectives and cultural backgrounds. CCL wants to make sure all those perspectives are represented in our organization and at our events, so we’re ramping up our diversity efforts. We’re happy to announce two different scholarship opportunities for multiple volunteers to attend the 2018 International Conference this June, the Diversity Scholarship and Conservative Scholarship, as well as a paid Diversity Fellowship opportunity in our Washington, D.C., office.
Diversity and Conservative Scholarships
Applicants can apply for $250 or $500 stipends, depending on their anticipated travel expenses to this summer’s conference. The Diversity Scholarship is generously funded by a $5,000 grant from the Joseph Robert Foundation and is open to people of color. CCL matched that with an additional $5,000 from our operating budget to create the Conservative Scholarship, which is open to anyone identifying politically right of center. Both scholarships are open to people who are new to CCL or who are already volunteers, but they are both limited to applicants within the U.S. Scholarship applications are open now and close April 15, and all recipients will be alerted by April 22. Anyone who receives a scholarship will also have their conference registration fee waived.
“Since I’ve been involved for the past couple of months, I have seen CCL expand its outreach to diverse communities, and a scholarship is an extension of this support,” said Karina Ramirez, a CCL volunteer who leads the Spanish Language Action Team. “I think members of the Spanish language team, as well as other members of color, have a lot to contribute to CCL. Getting the necessary training, education, and now financial support says a lot about where CCL wants to go and what it wants to accomplish in the future.”
Individual CCL chapters have fundraised to send members to conferences before, and CCL has offered discounted or fully waived conference registration fees for some attendees in the past, but this is the first time CCL has been able to offer funds to cover travel and lodging in addition to eliminating the registration fee.
CCL Conservative Director Jim Tolbert also weighed in. “I am encouraged that we have scholarships available to help bring more conservative voices to CCL’s national conference in June,” he said. He added that the Conservative Scholarship “reinforces CCL’s commitment to a bipartisan approach that constantly works to bring people together to solve climate change instead of divide people over other issues.”
Andres Jimenez, one of CCL’s Senior Directors of Government Affairs, has worked in the environmental field for years and seen its diversity challenges up close. “I was usually the only non-white person in the room,” he said about his previous job, where he worked on fishery management and ocean acidification. “Historically, folks who are hired to work on environmental issues—it’s not a very diverse field.”
He noticed the same trend in CCL’s attendance at conferences, so he quickly hatched an idea to create more space and opportunities for people of color: a Diversity Fellowship. This opportunity is a paid, three-month position in our D.C. office, geared toward applicants of color. “We got funding approved for two fellows this year, one February through April and one May through July,” Andres explained. This timing will give the fellows the chance to be on the Hill, attending meetings with CCL staff and congressional staff, conducting research, and more. The fellows can also take advantage of exciting opportunities at the June conference, such as participating in a panel discussion or leading a presentation.
“When we as a staff show that we’re embracing diversity, we expect that will reflect more and more into CCL’s membership as well,” Andres said. To apply for the Diversity Fellowship or share the application, click here. Applications are ongoing, so don’t hesitate to send in a resume!
“These efforts are really meaningful for CCL,” said CCL project specialist Adeline DeYoung. “Not only are they allowing folks to experience the personal empowerment that comes with being a CCL volunteer, but they are also helping us get closer to being an organization that truly reflects the makeup of the citizens of our country.”
Please share these opportunities with your chapter members or other members of your community who may be interested. Direct any scholarship questions to Adeline DeYoung at adeline (at) citizensclimate (dot) org, and any fellowship questions to Andres Jimenez at andres (at) citizensclimate (dot) org.