Spring 2017 Fellowship Applications Open

Fall fellowship picture

APPLICATION DEADLINE IS Sunday, January 1 at 11:59PM. Applications sent earlier will be prioritized. $500 stipend upon successful completion. Descriptions of fellowships are below

Decisions will be made by January 6. 

Eligibility requirements:
*Must be in North Carolina
*Must be between the ages of 18-30
*Must be committed to to social justice
*Must be available for training January 13-16 training, & evaluation convening April 22-23

Women, LGBTQ folks, and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply. We believe in centering and elevating youth led leadership of the most marginalized among us. We believe that when we unite and organize we create change in our communities and throughout the state of North Carolina.

Fellowship term: January 6, 2017 – April 23, 2017

Solutions to the problems facing North Carolina and our global community lie within our ability to work together for the common good and to build the leadership and power of young people to create lasting change. In order to create the kind of future we all deserve, we must understand our past, defend the gains made by those who came before us, and ignite and empower everyday people to lead efforts to build a fair and just future. When those most affected by injustice are the leaders who find and implement solutions, we will create a better world. We put our mission into practice by cultivating young leaders, building skills, and sharing an intersectional analysis that sees all of us as part of a legacy of change. We view youth as leaders who are capable of articulating their struggles and creating tangible solutions.

Started in 2013, our fellows are engaged in dynamic campaigns and organizing efforts aligned with the mission of Ignite NC and centered around the issues that concern their communities. Some of these efforts have included campaigns for a livable wage, Black Lives Matter, UNC Board of Governors and administration accountability, HB2, and election protection.

Ignite NC is building a network of youth organizers to build organization and win concrete changes in our communities across the state. From police murders to attacks on voting rights, youth are facing attacks on all levels. However, young people are taking to the streets and rising up to demand justice in our communities. Historically young people have played a significant role in transforming the country and the world. We are calling all youth who are ready to join the movement for justice to continue this legacy and apply for the Ignite NC fellowship. The stakes are too high, we must take a stand and develop campaigns that change the future of our communities.

If you  are currently working with a campus or community organization, or want to help build the youth and student movement, this fellowship provides organizing training, mentorship, connection to youth across the state, tools to create transformative change and a stipend to enable you to spend more dedicated time to organize.

Ignite NC is accepting applications for fellowships this Spring: Trianing Fellow, Community Organizing and Media & Communications.

Applications are due January 1, 2017.  Everyone will be notified by January 6, 2017.  

Training Fellow:

These fellows will work directly with staff to also be another resource for the Organizing and Communications fellow.

Their main workplan for the semester will be to develop a training to happen by the end of the semester on their campus or community that builds knowledge and skills.

Whether it is in the beginning or end of the semester, the bulk of their work will be getting trained themselves on facilitation, base building, leadership skills, etc.

They are also welcome to engage and organize with any of the work the organizing and communictationss fellows will be committed to.

To apply fill out the application send a copy of your resume to northcarolinaignite@gmail.com

Community Organizing Fellow:

Ignite NC is committed to providing organizational resources to support ongoing efforts to build power for young people and people of color in NC. This upcoming semester we will be focusing on three main issue areas!

Higher Education: Universities in NC have become increasingly inaccessible. Youth are forced to take out thousands of dollars of debt while class sizes grow and programs and centers get cut.  Be part of a campaign team that organizes for accessible higher education.

Migrant Justice: Young people across the country have changed the national narrative what it means to be a immigrant in this country. From challenging narratives of what it means to be  workers, demanding equitable access to education, demanding justice for those detained in detention centers, and changing city and campus policy to address issues of safety, discrimination, and sactuary. Be a part of a team seeking to bring capacity to this movement on a local level developing a work-plan that builds upon local coalition campaigns.

Gender Justice: Students have been at the forefront informing the narrative and addressing concerns of gender equity in this state and nation. From House Bill 2, the anti-worker, anti-trans legislation passed in March 2016 in NC, to addressing sexual assault and reproductive healthcare, more than ever youg people must direct the conversation and movement for gender justice. Be a part of a team that works to educate the larger community that works to fight back against gender based violence and discrimination. Read more about HouseBill 2 here.

To apply fill out the application send a copy of your resume to northcarolinaignite@gmail.com

 Communication Fellow:

Communication Fellow’s will support the organizing work of the organizing fellows! Activities will include writing press releases, managing social media, creating graphics/flyers, updating website and developing a media strategy.

  • Develop and implement a media strategy that supports organizing efforts
  • Using traditional and social media to create awareness about emerging organizations and initiatives
  • Creating email announcements that uplift and aid organizing work
  • Create materials and keep website updated
  • Gather pledge cards to engage youth around relevant issues

Ideal candidates will have:

  • Be Familiar with wordpress, HTML, social media platforms and have communication experience
  • Demonstrates a passion for understanding strategic communications and its integration into an overall marketing strategy.
  • Exceptional written and personal communication skills
  • Demonstrated creativity in the practice of PR or related field
  • Willingness and ability to work well in teams
  • Experience in manage social media accounts

To apply fill out the application send a copy of your resume to northcarolinaignite@gmail.com

Resist Regression and Hatred! Let’s Take Back Our Future!

Dear Movement family,

The political climate is rapidly changing—and we will remain on the front lines of resistance. We are quickly being ushered into a world of racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic and xenophobic federal policy, of brazen white supremacy, and of deep systemic regression. We must stand together and do all we can to continue supporting our communities in North Carolina, and across the country who will be most affected by the looming policy changes. Will you stand with us?

We cannot and will not stop! This work was never about one election. We need to build a movement that creates collective liberation for our people. We need your help to put 40 youth fellows on the ground on over 15 different campuses and 5 cities starting in January! Are you in?

Ignite North Carolina is a youth-led organization dedicated to building the leadership and power of young people to create lasting and sustainable change. We are doubling down on our commitment to supporting youth of color and queer and trans youth as we build a new future. Ignite North Carolina is rooted in our mission of uplifting the voices and leadership of those most affected by injustice, and seeking to implement solutions for a more a more fair and just future.

Help us raise $10,000 as we mobilize and take back our future! This money will enable us to train and put 40 organizers across the state to respond and be proactive in ways most necessary and productive to the needs of our North Carolina community. We will continue to organizer around higher education, black lives matter, and demand full equality to lgbtq community.

As people rise up in unrest and dignified rage, help us ensure the capacity to respond fast and strategically to bigotry and hatred, and build visions of a more inclusive and equitable future.

Now is always the time!

-Ignite North Carolina

Become a Vote Defender


Vote Defender Promo

Students Band Together Against Voter Suppression

We are at a critical moment in North Carolina. Just a few weeks ago, the courts struck down NC monster voting law reinstating the law as prior to 2013. This means that same day registration, expanded early voting, and no ID requirement is the law….For now!

The monster law was not the first attempt to suppress the voices of youth of color and LGBTQ youth at the ballot box. We know poll workers, board of election officials and regressive ideologues want to restrict the process of who has access to the ballot.

With laws such as HB2 (anti-trans, anti-worker) and HB972 (does not allow public access to body cam footage) this election is vital that young people have access to show support or against politicians. These attacks have not stopped dedicated residents of this state from banding together to elevate the people’s voice. Since 2013 Ignite NC deployed more than 800 volunteers to monitor the polls on Election day and during early voting. Election Protection volunteers will be trained to be the eyes and ears on the ground documenting and combating voter suppression. As the monster voting law goes to the supreme court we will collect stories about folks experiences at the polls that will impact the ongoing litigation. We must ensure that every voter has the opportunity to vote, and every vote must count.

Register today for a training near you!


Flush Voter Suppression

Sign up to take a stand for voting rights in NC!

defenderFeaturedImageIn 2013, Pat McCrory passed H.B. 589, putting into effect one of the worst voter suppression laws in the country. Measures such as the photo ID requirement at the polls, the elimination of pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and shortening the early voting period by a week aim to disenfranchise people of color, working people, immigrants,  and students. By suppressing these voices, those behind this law aim for a future without regard for education, healthcare, and other public services.

These efforts have caused a litany of problems related to voting across North Carolina since it has passed, including out-of-state students turned away for improper ID without being offered provisional ballots or impediment forms, lines of 3+ hours because of narrowed early voting hours and mass voter confusion.

In particular, students at North Carolina State University did not have access to any early voting sites within walking distance to their campus, because the Wake County Board of Elections failed to provide such a site. Ignite NC’s Vote Defender Project has mobilized hundreds of volunteers to protect the right to vote, and we must continue the effort to increase access to the polls. This summer, the Board of Elections will make decisions about the placement of early voting sites.

2016 has been a tumultuous year for voting rights. We must stand up to the BOE at their meetings in order to win accessible early voting sites for students in North Carolina. We must also continue to advocate for students, people of color, immigrants, older people, and working people.

Sign up to take a stand for voting rights in NC!

#BOEWakeUp Stop Voter Suppression in Wake County

Sign up to attend the meeting!


Stop Voter Suppression in Wake County

Ignite NC is calling on all people to stand up and fight against voter suppression that disproportionately impacts youth, people of color, and working class people across the state. In March’s primary Wake county residents experienced extremely long lines with 3 hour waits, and students in particular experienced transportation barriers due to the county’s failure to provide a single Early Voting site on or within walking distance of the largest campus, NC State. The new voter ID law and lack of information the county provided to its residents resulted in 8,000 provisional ballots being casted. However, despite the efforts to suppress turnout Wake County’s turnout of 41 percent exceeded the state’s 35 percent.

Now more than ever it’s important for us to continue to advocate for accessible voting sites and hours that include Sunday. These are necessary in order to increase the turnout of students and communities that have been historically discouraged from participating in democratic processes. We want to make sure that as many folk as possible are able to access the ballot box as we unite against voter suppression.

We are asking all concerned residents to come out and wake up the Board of Elections. We must awaken them to the needs of our communities and demand that we are adequately represented and have a voice in the decision making process. On June 30 at 5pm we will descend upon the Wake County Board of Elections, and advocate for a early voting plan that serves the people!

Sign up to attend the meeting!




#BlackLivesMatter Queer and Trans People of Color Coalition respond to NC HB 2


On the anniversary of the passing of Blake Brockington, a Black trans teen from Charlotte, N.C., Gov. Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly moved to attack working people and create dangerous conditions for women, LGBTQ people, Black and Brown people, and any workers who experience discrimination or who struggle to make ends meet.

The General Assembly and Gov. McCrory chose to criminalize trans and gender nonconforming children and youth, and to scapegoat trans women and other trans people for rape by passing NC HB 2. House Bill 2 bars city and county governments from raising their municipal minimum wage, as well as prohibiting anti-discrimination policies that account for gender identity, expression and sexual orientation.

Lawmakers were given only five minutes to review the bill and it passed within a 12-hour period without a single trans person of color being allowed to speak.

  •      This bill reinforces the school-to-prison pipeline that trans and gender nonconforming students of color already face, by making their choice of toilet grounds for suspension or arrest.
  •      This bill rolls back decades of hard-won progress and will harm our whole state. It undermines municipal democratic control, advancements in anti-discrimination policy and further prohibits wage increases. This is a direct assault on working families and particularly working women of color, who are most likely to be paid poverty wages. LGBTQ folks of color are workers, and we are worth more![1]
  •      This bill uses trans panic and the scapegoating of trans women to derail real conversations about safety and consent. Trans and queer people are survivors of sexual assault, too. Our safety matters, and we don’t make our community safer by threatening others with the brute force of the murderous police or incarceration. If our state is truly concerned for survivors of sexual assault, it will make comprehensive consent and sex education mandatory. This law does nothing to prevent indecent exposure and sexual assault, which are already illegal, but instead prevents local governments from protecting the safety and livelihoods of queer and trans people.
  •      We honor and fight for Blake by affirming that our lives matter. Anti-transgender bias and legislation and persistent structural racism directly impact the devastating rates of suicidality, unemployment, physical and sexual violence, poverty, incarceration and homelessness experienced by transgender people of color.[2]
  •      Trans and Queer people of color demand a living wage and freedom from criminalization and discrimination, in the workplace and in the bathroom.

Tonight, we are calling for a Special Session of the People outside of the Governor’s mansion. For Blake Brockington, for Angel Elisha Walker, for all Black and Brown trans and queer people in North Carolina who have been murdered, disappeared or incarcerated, it is our duty to speak. It is our duty to demand freedom, to demand a living wage, to demand education, to demand comprehensive health care that is accessible and free of charge.


QPOCC, The Tribe, #BlackLivesMatter North Carolina, Sister Song, Ignite NC, Southern Vision Alliance, Youth Organizing Institute, #BlackLivesMatter Gate City, Workers World Party, SONG NC, Greensboro Mural Project, GenderBenders, Fight for $15, QORDS, Trans Pride in Action, Queer Youth Circus, House daLorde, Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia (MERI-NC), SAFE Coalition NC, LGBTQ Center of Durham, Center for Family and Maternal Wellness.

[1] Trans People of Color experience rates up to four times the national unemployment rate. Black transgender people live in extreme poverty with 34 percent reporting a household income of less than $10,000 per year. This is more than twice the rate for transgender people of all races (15 percent), four times the general Black population rate (9 percent), and over eight times the general U.S. population rate (4 percent). Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Discrimination Survey. National Center for Trans Equality and National GLBTQ Task Force (2011).

[2] In the 2011, Injustice at Every Turn National Report comprising of 6,450 transgender and gender non-conforming participants: 41 percent of respondence reported attempting suicide, 55 percent lost a job due to bias, 51 percent were harassed/bullied in school, or were the victims of physical assault (61 percent) or sexual assault (64 percent). www.endtransdiscrimination.org

Early Voting Monitors Find Pat McCrory’s Monster Voter Suppression Law Impedes Young Voters.

Early Voting Monitors Find Pat McCrory’s Monster Voter Suppression Law Impedes Young Voters. Youth Mobilize to Protect NC Voting Integrity.

Irene Godinez, Monserrat Matehuala, and Emma Akpan monitor polls early Tuesday morning in Southeast Raleigh

In August 2013, Pat McCroy signed HB589 into law, a set of new rules referred to pro-democracy advocates as North Carolina’s Monster Voting law.  On the day Gov McCrory signed the bill he stated, “…the law will ensure integrity at the North Carolina ballot box and provide greater equality in access to voting.”

While the Constitutionality of the laws remains quagmired in litigation, most aspects of the law will be implemented during this March election cycle, including:

  • A reduction in the time period for Early Voting,
  • An end to out-of-precinct voting,
  • The expansion of the ability of a voter to challenge another voter at the polls,
  • An end to the broadly popular pre-registration for 16 and 17 year-olds,
  • Requiring a state issued Voter ID, but excluding the use of university IDs.

Laci in the fieldIn response Ignite NC’s Vote Defender Project, launched in August 2013, has trained and deployed non-partisan election protection volunteers across the state during the March early voting period. These “Vote Defenders” will provide voters with information about the new laws, document

any incidents, and conduct an academic exit survey in partnership with a political science professor at UNC-Charlotte.  On Election Day, Ignite NC will join with pro-democracy partners in deploying more than 1000 volunteers monitors across 45 counties.

“We have already been hearing troubling reports from our monitors, such as overly-long lines, not enough early voting hours, inadequate equipment at early voting sites, and students being turned away for inadequate ID” said Holden Cession, an organizer with the election protection effort. “If Pat McCroy and the state of North Carolina want to be true to their word and protect the integrity of the election, they must take immediate action and stop defending the monster voter suppression law in the courts, and follow the lead of other states like Oregon to pass laws such as automatic voter registration.”

A few days into the early voting process has revealed that the state is unable to adequately administer the new changes: We have seen:

  • In Boone, NC, students waiting over two hours to try to squeeze into the Early Voting window which has no weekend or evening hours. In addition, high profile political operatives being unlawfully stationed inside polling locations.
  • In Chapel Hill, students have been turned away for improper ID and not offered a Provisional ballot or ID impediment forms
  • North Carolina State University students experiencing transportation barriers as Wake County failed to provide a single Early Voting site on or within walking distance of campus.

“These long lines are a symptom of the new voting law,” said Rachel Clay, the Western Election Protection field organizer with Ignite NC who witnessed Boone’s voting lines. “Watauga County cut every single evening and weekend Early Voting hour.  We warned them that this would be the result.  With decisions made to cut early voting, insufficiently staffing precincts, and requiring everyone to show ID, it is not surprising the lines piled up. While I am thrilled with the amount of students showing up to vote, I call on the state to do more.”

“During a highly contested presidential primary, and with several key local races on the March 15 ballot, we are right to question the impact of this new law and the intentions of Pat McCroy, who signed it,” said Irving Allen an organizer with Ignite NC. “It’s not a coincidence that we are seeing problems at precincts with high concentrations of young people and people of color.”

In the past three years, North Carolina’s General Assembly has amassed a well-documented history of suppressing dissent. In 2013 we saw the state illegally arrest and ban hundreds of people during the Moral Monday movement. Last month, four youth were arrested at a last-minute meeting of the UNC Board of Governors, for addressing a public body that has no process for public input.

BOG4Earlier this week, Lt. Governor Dan Forest announced the introduction of an Orwellian “Campus Free Expression Act” that would actually serve to put punitive limits on freedom of expression by students and faculty who dare to speak out against the austerity agenda of the current BOG and their hand-picked champion, the highly controversial appointee, Margaret Spellings.

Democracy requires that every person impacted by the laws and policies of the state have a voice in choosing their representatives. This law moves us in the opposite direction.

The NC Vote Defender Project encourages every eligible voter to cast a ballot on March 15 or during Early Voting.

Any voter who has questions about the new law, or trouble casting their ballot should call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-888-OUR VOTE, where legal experts will help them vote, provide non-partisan information, and document any instances of wrongdoing by the state.


A public response from ‘The BOG 4’

Letter: A public response from ‘The BOG 4’


Femi Shittu With the support of Irving Allen, Jen Myers and Madeleine Scanlon “The BOG 4”

On Jan. 26, 2016, the UNC System’s Board of Governors held their meeting at The Center for School Leadership Development building on the campus of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This public meeting is held every six weeks and rotates among the 16 colleges and universities of the UNC System.

The UNC System is made up of:

1. Appalachian State University

2. East Carolina University

3. Elizabeth City State University

4. Fayetteville State University

5. North Carolina A&T State University

6. North Carolina Central University

7. North Carolina State University

8. UNC Asheville

9. UNC Chapel Hill

10. UNC Charlotte

11. UNC Greensboro

12. UNC Pembroke

13. UNC Wilmington

14. UNC School of the Arts

15. Western Carolina University

16. Winston Salem State University One public residential high school for “gifted” students:

17. NC School of Science and Mathematics

Considered one of the most prestigious college systems in the nation, as you can see, the system is made of top schools such as UNC Chapel Hill, East Carolina University, and North Carolina State. It holds some of the most profound HBCUs such as North Carolina Central University, Winston Salem Sate University, and the nation’s largest HBCU, NC A&T State University.

Now that we have gotten all the credentials out of the way, it needs to be said that the Board of Governors, the prominent decision makers over this system, in NO WAY reflects the students that make up this college system. The Board of Governors is made of 33 individuals in which 4 are Black. Of course, the average face of this board is an older upper class white man.

In the past few years the Board of Governors have faced intense scrutiny in several ways, but in three concentrated areas.

1. The untransparent decision to make Margaret Spellings the next president of the UNC System. Spellings is a product of the right wing and has served several positions under George W. Bush including Secretary of Education. She was also one of the principal proponents of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act.

2. The cutting of programs, mainly from Humanities/Liberal Arts departments all while large raises are being given to those higher in the towers such as chancellors.

3. The overall lack of care and support of the HBCUs in the UNC System.

It is important to note that there are 5 HBCUs in the UNC System and the state of North Carolina has the most HBCUs of any other state. We hold up Fayetteville State University and Elizabeth City State University as the HBCUs who have had to carry the bulk of the violence by the UNC System. Both HBCUs have faced millions of dollars in cuts in the past couple of years mainly due to “drops in enrollment”. Ironically, drops in enrollment are due mostly to the lack of resources and funding for these schools over the past decade. Specifically, Elizabeth State University has suffered through tumultuous times including some of the worst cuts in the entire system while having 3 chancellors within the past approximate 3 years.

Concerning the cuts on Humanities Departments across the system I will start with my personal experience. I attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as a double major in Psychology and African American and African Diaspora Studies (AADS). Both programs are profound and rewarding programs. However, my AADS program is now running off of $3500 for an ENTIRE school year while the Psychology department has remained untouched. This is astonishingly 1/3 of what the program was running on in 2010. Though both fall under the liberal arts spectrum, we all know simply just how white the academic world of Psychology is. My experience reflects the closing of the Poverty Center at UNC Chapel Hill, the removal of the entire Spanish program at NC A&T State University, the cutting of Women and Gender Studies at NC State University and the new announcement of the cutting of Liberal Arts programs at East Carolina which sparked the clapback at January’s Board of Governors meeting.

Out of the 33 people who are on the Board of Governors, approximately 10 were present at the first meeting of the New Year. Someone commented it was because some were still dealing with the effects of the massive snow storm the East Coast had endured within the past week. With that held, it was still baffling and created tense energy for so many members of the board to not be present. One of the 4 Black people on the board was in attendance. The meeting went on like these meetings usually do: old uppity white folks sitting around talking nonsense and believing that they are actually doing work. Dozens of students, alumni, faculty, staff, and general supporters listened in on the meeting. We were pretty much “respectful” as we sat there periodically commenting to each other on the bullshit and giving the occasional loud yawn to show our disapproval with the boring nature of the meeting which is ultimately about our education and future. Then, someone on the Board dropped the statistic that education majors are down a staggering 30%. This sucked the air out of the room. We all understood that this is a direct correlation of the state of teaching in North Carolina. North Carolina, deemed the worst place to teach in 2015, has some of the poorest paid teachers of public education in the nation. This statistic was ruthlessly followed with a unanimous vote from the Board of Governors to cut from the liberal arts department at East Carolina University. When one of the board members asked if anyone disagreed we all yelled “NAY!” and so it began.

After standing and proudly voting to cut the futures of many ECU students, the members were asked to take their seats. Since there were so many empty seats at the Board of Governors table, because none of them showed up, someone said “yeah, let’s take our seats” and we began to fill up the empty seats and started to chant.

The video picks up where I am stopping.

I want to close with saying that the action we took symbolized our collective power and how decisions about our future should involve US. Why don’t we deserve a seat at your table as you discuss our education? We will not sit there as you flippantly cut programs as if you are reading from the daily paper. We will continue to shut your meetings down until you listen to the the students of the UNC System instead of making decisions for us that are hurting our people on the ground. We understand this attack on HBCUs and the Liberal Arts programs as a component of the larger Right Wing takeover the state of North Carolina has been enduring since 2012. That is me saying “MOVE!” and “I need to see him!”. They were shoving Irving in a corner, trying to force him on the ground, and trying to close the door. I feared something would happened to that Black Man if they closed that door with just him and 10 officers. The videos ends as I am told to put my hands behind my back.

The cops were physically violent and we do not agree with how they reacted in the space. All four of us were wrongfully arrested and we find it our right to put pressure on those who hold our education in their hands.

NO Justice. NO Peace.