Imani Clark l EJAM 2018 Fellow
Growing young leaders
When Imani Clark became an EJAM fellow in 2018, she was already on a path toward community organizing and helping others. But with the fellowship, which took place in Flint, she learned that she could make a career out of organizing, along with doing it because she cares.
She also learned a broader definition of economic justice: “I thought it was very literal, and economic justice was just equal work, equal pay, like the fair wage type thing, which it is.”
Yet through the fellowship workshops, she learned that economic justice also encompasses the environment, healthcare, and women in the workplace. “I got different perspectives and approaches.”
An unintentional outcome of the fellowship for Imani was stronger familial connections.
When she first started with the program, she thought it was something special, so she brought her family into the work. Her mom, two younger sisters, two cousins, and an aunt became involved in Imani’s volunteer work in the community, specifically in Flint where the fellows did hands-on volunteering during the water crisis.
“Besides my professional relationships, [the fellowship] really got my family involved in community service work. It got my younger sisters thinking about college applications. It got my aunt to start networking with a church group,” says Imani. “It let me show them a world where they can implement community service and economic justice.”
For Imani, who was the youngest fellow in her cohort, EJAM also turned self-doubt into determination.
“EJAM teaches you to go for things. They equip you with tools, but then they encourage you to strike out on your own. If you want to start a project, start a project. Or if you want to build something in a community, don’t hold yourself back.”
Imani says she learned that it doesn’t matter how young or old you are, as long as you have a passion for seeing the betterment of the place you live.
Today, Imani works primarily with youth at The Ezekiel Project in Saginaw. The Ezekiel Project is an interfaith interracial organization addressing social justice issues and working for systemic change within the Great Lakes Bay Region.
Imani has organized around blight and school improvement, promoting youth leadership. She recently organized youth to lead an education town hall, addressing how to improve schools during COVID.
Imani has also mastered digital organizing, which has come in handy during times when face-to-face convenings are not possible.
Additionally, she’s a practicum manager at The Ezekiel Project for the 2020 cohort; her skills and passion are inspiring a new group of fellows to strive for justice and community change.