2017 Communications Institute
From June 4 – 8, 2017, The Opportunity Agenda conducted its 8th annual Communications Institute, through which we train progressive leaders in social justice communications. This 2017 Institute focused on Countering the Fear-Based Narrative and paid particular attention to solutions that counter rising narratives of fear and intolerance imbued in recent political rhetoric. The Institute took place in New York City.
A cohort of 17 Fellows received comprehensive training on a variety of communications skills, including framing and narrative development, media strategy, and on-camera interviews.
By focusing this year’s Institute on Countering the Fear-Based Narrative across our issue areas of Criminal Justice, Economic Opportunity/Poverty, and Immigration, we aimed to strengthen diversity and acceptance and collectively frame the debate in a way that tells a larger story and draws connections between those issue areas for crucial target audiences.
The 2017 Communications Institute was made possible, in part, by the generous contributions of The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, The Libra Foundation, Unbound Philanthropy, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and individual donors.
Meet the 2017 Fellows
Miriam AukermanStaff Attorney, ACLU of Michigan
Miriam Aukerman is a senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Michigan. She also manages the ACLU’s West Michigan Regional Office. Miriam litigates high-impact cases on a broad range of civil liberties issues, with a particular focus on immigrant rights, poverty, and criminal justice. Miriam also promotes constitutional rights through...Get To know Miriam
Emily ChatterjeeSenior Counsel, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund
Emily Chatterjee is Senior Counsel at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund. The Leadership Conference is the nation's premier civil and human rights coalition, charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and...Get To know Emily
Nusrat ChoudhuryDeputy Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program
Nusrat Choudhury is the deputy director of the ACLU Racial Justice Program, which is dedicated to advancing opportunity and equality for communities of color in the United States by fighting racial bias and drivers of inequality in education, housing, the economy, and the criminal legal system. She leads litigation and...Get To know Nusrat
Brian EricksonBorder Policy Strategist, ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights (RCBR)
Brian Erickson joined the ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights (RCBR) in August of 2010 as a Border Servant Corps volunteer to support and eventually lead RCBR community organizing and abuse documentation initiatives. In his current role of Border Policy Strategist, Brian coordinates policy advocacy, communications, and...Get To know Brian
Melissa FranquiCommunications and Marketing Manager, Drug Policy Alliance
Melissa Franqui is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for the Drug Policy Alliance. She manages the execution of campaigns with visual components, as well as the promotion of publications and merchandise. Melissa also directs branding and multi-media assets for DPA’s events. She is passionate about social justice and is...Get To know Melissa
Jessica GlynnSenior Director of Law and Policy, YWCA Kalamazoo
Jessica Glynn is a human rights attorney with more than 20 years of experience in community organizing and systems change advocacy. As the Senior Director of Law and Policy at the YWCA Kalamazoo, she provides comprehensive representation to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. She founded the...Get To know Jessica
Teresa HodgeCo-founder and Director of Strategy and Innovation, Mission: Launch, Inc.
A committed champion for people living with arrest and/or conviction records in America, it was a 70-month federal prison sentence that introduced Teresa Hodge first-hand to the criminal justice system. Upon coming home, she co-founded Mission: Launch, Inc. with her daughter, Laurin Hodge. In 2016, Teresa became an Open Society...Get To know Teresa
Charon HribarDirector of Cultural Strategies, The New Poor People’s Campaign
Charon Hribar is the Director of Cultural Strategies and Poor People's Campaign Revivals Coordinator for the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice. Over the past 15 years, Charon has been committed to the work of political education and leadership development. She has particular interest in developing the use...Get To know Charon
Bassem KawarAdvocacy Specialist, The Campaign to TAKE ON HATE
Bassem Kawar is a community organizer from Chicago, and currently the Advocacy Specialist for the Campaign to TAKE ON HATE, a project of the National Network for Arab American Communities. Bassem graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from DePaul University, where he was a student organizer. He began his career...Get To know Bassem
Carl LipscombeDeputy Director, Black Alliance for Just Immigration
Carl Lipscombe is the Deputy Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI). For nearly 15 years, Carl has organized poor Black and immigrant communities; litigated on behalf of indigent criminal defendants and undocumented immigrants; and worked with grassroots organizations, worker centers, and unions to affect policy change on...Get To know Carl