Activists ages 18-25 who want to gain organizing skills, learn more about church-state separation and advocate in their communities are encouraged to apply to AU’s Youth Organizing Fellowship. Applications close on Sunday, June 20.

The Youth Organizing Fellowship is a paid, year-long opportunity to grow as a leader, build power with a national cohort of youth organizers and advocate for religious freedom and the separation of religion and government.

One of AU’s current Fellows, Claire Davidson Miller, had this to say about her experience of learning from AU, connecting with peers and taking action for church-state separation:

“When I joined the Youth Organizing Fellowship at Americans United, I wasn’t sure what I would learn or gain from the experience. And, looking back on myself a year ago, I can also say with certainty that I did not understand the true importance or implications of the contemporary and continuing fight for the separation of church and state.

“The first few months of the Fellowship were an intensive learning phase about church-state separation: I learned about AU’s goals and tactics; I learned about the Equality Act and the Do No Harm Act; and I learned the movement ecology surrounding AU’s work.

“I also spent those months getting to know the other fellows in my cohort, building relationships with young organizers across the country, who have supported me in my work this year, and who I know will continue to do so after the fellowship ends. In the winter, I began to take action myself, working with other fellows to host a webinar to educate our peers about the Do No Harm Act and equip them with the tools to make DNHA a reality.”

The next cohort of the Youth Organizing Fellowship will kick off at the end of this summer with a virtual convening during which Fellows will get to meet AU and each other, learn new skills and strategize for the coming year. Then Fellows will continue to meet monthly by video for ongoing training and support while organizing events and campaigns in their communities. Applicants should be able to commit significant time to organizing with Americans United and be excited to work in collaboration with youth activists from across the country.

The Fellowship provides professional development opportunities to grow as an activist and leader. Claire shares:

“My time at AU has not only empowered me to take action around church-state separation issues but has also provided me with tools and tactics that I have been able to apply to numerous issues I organize around. In particular, the training AU has provided in communications – through opportunities to write blog posts, introductions to digital organizing techniques, and training in public speaking – were incredibly useful to me in my job search as I approached college graduation, and I will be working in communications for a nonprofit full-time, a job I got thanks in large part to my experience as a Youth Organizing Fellow.”

Applicants to the Youth Organizing Fellowship should bring some knowledge and experience but also be excited to learn more. Skills that Fellows can expect to gain or strengthen during the Fellowship include communication and public speaking, as Claire mentioned; advocacy and organizing skills, such as relational organizing and coalition building; and working with people of different faith traditions.

Americans United will select 10 Fellows who come from different backgrounds, work on a variety of issues that intersect with separation of religion and government and have shared values of religious freedom and equality. Applicants should be passionate advocates for the rights of LGBTQ people, religious minorities, the nonreligious, women, and communities of color.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining the next cohort of Youth Organizing Fellows at Americans United, go to www.au.org/youthfellows to learn more about how to apply.

Photo: Members of AU's Youth Organizing Fellowship meet via Zoom.