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By Claudia Paredes and Emma Gibbens, NLC Oakland 2015 Fellows
Our first day of NLC Oakland was a dreamy flashback to the first day of school. How long ago that feeling was for each fellow varies, but the main elements of anticipation, curiosity, excitement and some nervous butterflies were all felt. Our NLC learning community is diverse in just about every sense of the term. Yet, we all share our commitment to our personal and professional development, the growth and impact that young progressive leaders can have on the world and our love for the Bay Area and Oakland. It is with this energy that we engaged in the experience as the inaugural NLC Oakland cohort.
The inaugural class of NLC Oakland is an impressive cohort of young progressive leaders, if we do say so ourselves. Our diverse backgrounds and perspectives are an honest makeup of California and America today. Our progressive values and aspirations to change the world unite us. Every single one of us is proud to be a part of the Oakland community, and willing to invest our whole selves towards making our community stronger. We’re in the heart of race, gender, economic, and social inequality in America. We face it every day. We see the problems and we’re motivated to fix what we can and leave a positive legacy. From a prison abolitionist to an accountant, our cohort is uniquely skilled to challenge national complacency around some of the most critical social justice issues of our time
A striking similarity that unites us is being in a stage of transition in life’s journey. Each of us is on the cusp of something new, something bigger and better, something that will really harness our superhero powers for the best. This crux we find ourselves at is an incredibly defining time in our lives, and while on the exterior it presents differently, we are all united in our hunger for growth, progression and change.
We are encouraged by this opportunity to cultivate the skills, relationships, and support to navigate these changes and make the most impact. Guiding us in this transformational experience are the amazing NLC Oakland Board Members. These individuals have come together to conceptualize and formalize a uniquely Oakland framework to the nationally recognized NLC curriculum. They have already been our confidants, mentors and friends. Standing alongside these folks are the inspirational speakers and facilitators as well as the NLC alumni network. We know we are in good hands and are eager to engage in meaningful conversations and actions together.
As a cohort, we have a deep commitment to each other’s success, and to building a legacy for NLC and NLC Oakland, ultimately advancing progressive values to benefit our communities. As we engage further with our experience as fellows, we are excited to share our experiences, insights and reflections with you all through our blog. Stay tuned!
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