RAC Teen Racial Justice Fellowship

Our RAC teen fellowship programs are learning intensives in community organizing, designed to equip our youth leaders with the skills to create change in their home communities. Through our fellowships, high schoolers connect with other social justice leaders from across the country and learn lifelong skills applicable to any issue they are passionate about. Our fellowships value experiential learning, moving beyond theory and Zoom trainings into action. Each fellowship culminates in teens designing and implementing a project in their home communities.  

Our fellows are the leaders of our movement’s social justice work today. They don’t have to wait until they can vote, or until they are “grown up” to make a difference – they can take action now. Our youth leaders finish the fellowships empowered and prepared to lead their peers in justice work.  

In 2021, we are focused exclusively on the RAC Teen Racial Justice Fellowship, which is the perfect next step after L’Taken or the RAC Social Justice Academy (though they're not necessary prerequisites). You can sign up to learn when the Fall Fellowship application opens (August 2021). 

What is the RAC Teen Racial Justice Fellowship? 

The fellowship is a learning intensive designed to train high schoolers to be organizers in their home communities. Racial justice fellows will meet virtually for an hour once a week for six weeks to hone your leadership skills, learn about advocacy, and be involved in the RAC’s work, including the Reform Movement's 2021 Racial Justice Campaign.

As a fellow, you’ll learn community organizing skills, explore your own identity and what your sources of privilege and oppression are, the roots of racial inequity, skills to make your community antiracist, and complete a racial justice project in your home community. You get to learn, decide how you want to make an impact, and be the leader that makes it happen.

Who should apply to be a fellow? 

We are looking for talented, enthusiastic teens who are interested in learning more about how advocacy and politics relate to Judaism, and gaining the skills needed to be changemakers. Teens who are ready to grow, learn, and take on a little bit of leadership make excellent fellows.

What will we do in the fellowship? 

We will explore what teens are passionate about when it comes to social justice, learn how to build a strategy for making change and mobilizing our communities, and engage in advocacy with the RAC.

What is the time commitment? 

The fellowship will meet in the evenings in the fall for six one-hour sessions. There will be small tasks that fellows will be expected to complete between sessions (30-60 mins max), as well as a final racial justice project that will take place between November 2021 through February 2022, on a timeline picked by each fellow individually for their community.

Fellows design and implement their own project (within a few parameters) with support from a fellowship coach, a college student or young adult with experience volunteering and working for the RAC and on campaigns.

Our Fall 2021 Fellows have their choice of three weekly session times. We will meet the following dates and times:

Session 1: 10/5 at 6:30pm EST OR 9pm ET OR 10/7 at 8:30pm EST
Session 2: 10/12 at 6:30pm EST OR 9pm ET OR 10/14 at 8:30pm EST
Session 3: 10/19 at 6:30pm EST OR 9pm ET OR 10/21 at 8:30pm EST
Session 4: 10/26 at 6:30pm EST OR 9pm ET OR 10/28 at 8:30pm EST
Session 5: 11/2 at 6:30pm EST OR 9pm ET OR 11/4 at 8:30pm EST
Session 6: 11/9 at 6:30pm EST OR 9pm ET OR 11/11 at 8:30pm EST

How much does the fellowship cost?

The RAC is using a pay-what-you-can model for participation in the RAC Teen Racial Justice Fellowship to make this program available to all who wish to participate. We have a suggested donation of $150 for fellows, which includes the six learning sessions and support from RAC staff from October through February to complete your fellowship project.

Why does the application ask about my racial identity?

When we do racial justice work, it's important to explore our own identities and how they work to give us privileges or serve as sources of oppression. Jews of Color experience the world differently than White Jews. Affinity spaces based on race offer an opportunity for white people to process and discuss racism, ask questions, and have conversations without causing unintentional harm to People of Color. They offer People of Color a safe space to have honest and open conversations about their lived experiences, without having to comfort or teach White people in that moment.

If you are a Fellow of Color (see below for a more detailed explanation of what we mean), you have the choice to opt into learning each week from an Organizer of Color, and to have a Fellowship Coach of Color as your mentor. While White Jews may also end up learning alongside you in weekly sessions, preference will be given to Fellows of Color first.

Thursdays will be taught by Kelly Whitehead, a rabbinical student who has worked as a youth group director and at URJ Camp Harlam, who is part of our JewV'Nation Fellowship Jews of Color Cohort.

Tuesday sessions will be taught by Logan Zinman Gerber, a white woman and the RAC National Teen Campaign Organizer. She learned to organize and talk about race after college, and wishes she had these skills earlier, so she dedicates her work to making sure Jewish teens and college students have every tool in their toolbox to make change.

If you are a Jew of Color who wants to opt in to learning from Kelly, please make sure you're available to attend Thursday sessions.

Thank you to Beth El Hebrew Congregation for making the 2021 RAC Fellowships possible!

Sign up to find out when the Fall 2021 Fellowship Application opens!

The RAC Teen Racial Justice Fellowship is a learning intensive designed to train high schoolers to be organizers in their home communities. Fellows will meet virtually every week for six weeks to hone their leadership skills, learn organizing and advocacy, and be involved in the Reform Movement's 2021 Racial Justice Campaign.

Fill out this interest form to sign up to find out when the RAC Teen Racial Justice Fellowship Application opens for the Fall 2021 cohort. 

Learn what past fellows have accomplished

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Students in a discussion with adults

How Judaism Inspires My Mental Health Advocacy

I need your help to ensure that every student can access mental health care, no matter where they live. Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Mental Health Services for Students Act, which would provide $200 million in grant funding per year for five years to expand mental health services in public schools. Now, the Senate must act.

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Justice Fellows Organize a "Day of Action"

Hear former RAC Teen Justice fellows talk about the importance of their Day of Action urging the Senate to pass the Background Check Expansion Act.  

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July The Vote: One Fellow's Project

Recent fellow Cameron Samuels created July The Vote, which provided infographics and resources to educate and foster dialogue around civic engagement for the month of July.