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
Janos MartonDirector of Policy and Campaigns, JustLeadershipUSA
Janos Marton is the Director of Policy and Campaigns at JustLeadershipUSA. A born and raised New Yorker, Janos attended Dartmouth College and worked on political campaigns and disaster relief before returning home to attend Fordham Law School. As an attorney, Janos worked at a civil rights firm as special counsel...Get To know Janos
Tiffany McFaddenVolunteer, Alliance of Families for Justice
Tiffany's experience as a foster youth has made her resilient, aware, humble, empathetic, as well as a fierce advocate for children and families who have experienced situations similar to hers. After many years, she ultimately learned that what happened to her goes beyond having a mother with a criminal record...Get To know Tiffany
Matt NelsonExecutive Director, Presente.org
Matt Nelson serves as the Executive Director of Presente.org—the nation’s largest online Latinx organizing group; advancing social justice with technology, media, and culture. Before his work at Presente.org, Matt was the Organizing Director at ColorOfChange.org and prior to that, he co-founded several worker-owned cooperatives in multiple Midwestern cities, including a...Get To know Matt
Mary SmallPolicy Director, Detention Watch Network
Mary Small is the Policy Director at Detention Watch Network (DWN) where she is responsible for leading DWN's research, policy analysis, litigation, and congressional advocacy in strategic ways to dismantle the United States’ detention industry. Prior to joining DWN, she was a Protection Advisor at the United Nations High Commissioner...Get To know Mary
Nailah SummersCo-Founder and Communications Director, Dream Defenders
Nailah is a co-founder and the new Communications Director for the Dream Defenders. She attended the University of Florida, where she majored in African American Studies with a minor in Philosophy. She lives in her native Miami with her pit bull and two cats.Get To know Nailah
Caitlin SwainExecutive Director, Forward Justice
Caitlin Swain is the Executive Director of Forward Justice, a law, policy, and strategy center dedicated to civil rights, racial justice, and social and economic change in the South. She previously worked for the Advancement Project as a Skadden Fellow, where she supported grassroots efforts to end the over-criminalization of...Get To know Caitlin
Naomi TsuDeputy Legal Director of the Immigrant Justice Project, Southern Poverty Law Center
Naomi Tsu oversees the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) legal and advocacy work on behalf of immigrants in the Deep South. She represents clients who have experienced wage theft, discrimination, human trafficking, and other abuses. She was counsel for immigrant workers in David v. Signal, one of the largest labor...Get To know Naomi