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The Leaders Giving Us Hope Amidst a Chaotic 2020

In a year as chaotic as 2020, what gives you hope for the future? At Public Allies, we see hope in the many faces of emerging, diverse, values-driven leaders.

Working in communities across the country, the tireless service of our Allies and alumni brings to life the vision of a more just and equitable society. Faced with unprecedented challenges, they have consistently elevated to meet the moment and created a path forward.

When the deadly pandemic broke out, they helped shield the most vulnerable communities by providing food and health resources. A group of Miami alumni (Krystina François, Francesca Menes, and Aaron McKinney) launched a mutual aid fund that offers direct online payments to Miami families and individuals in need.

When cities across America mourned and protested anti-Black racism, they played a key role in advocating for equity in all sectors. Members of our Twin Cities cohort (the majority of whom identify as BIPOC) led crucial conversations in the wake of George Floyd’s death. One member, Sagal Hadafow, put it this way:

“For me, leadership in this time looks like reminding people of the joy that is always within them and around them, especially when it’s the toughest. Beyond sharing mental health resources to Black folks, it’s important for all of us to know that joy is revolution, joy is resistance.”

When faced with a historic election, they got out the vote, worked the polls, and ran for public office. Delaware alum Rysheema Dixon won re-election to the Wilmington City Council on a platform of community health, quality jobs, and public infrastructure. “Public Allies made me the leader I am today,” Dixon says.

Amidst all of these monumental challenges, hundreds of Allies graduated from our AmeriCorps program, ready to put their newfound confidence and skills into action. One of these Allies, Shelby Bustria, shared her experience in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley cohort: “I found out that my input is valuable and it is important to speak up when needed. I recognize I have the power to be the bridge where others feel connected, supported, and heard.”

We remain hopeful for 2021. Whatever the New Year may bring, Public Allies is committed to making an impact and making our country stronger and more connected. Our Allies will continue serving hundreds of nonprofit and government agencies in dozens of communities across the country, and our network of systems-change leaders will ensure the future is designed by and for everyone. 

None of this is possible without your support. On December 1st, we celebrate #GivingTuesday, a day to strengthen the organizations you care most about by donating to them. We hope you will include Public Allies on your list.