About the Fellowship

The Michigan Economic Justice Fellowship is a nine-month program designed to unlock passion for civic engagement and motivate leaders to create community power to advance change. This intensive training is designed for individuals who are interested in making an impact in their community through organizing around economic justice issues like raising wages or ensuring benefits like earned paid sick time. It also provides members with the opportunity to gain valuable community organizing skills and experience by working with social justice agencies in Metro-Detroit. The experience not only can help you make change within your community but can also help individuals gain meaningful and high-paying employment too.

Graduates of the program should expect to develop the ability to conduct political analysis, understand how to plan and execute basic and intermediate community and political organizing, and learn how to work collaboratively, across issue silos and communities to achieve lasting change in their respective communities and across the state.

In the course of nine months, participants learn how to be leaders in Michigan’s economic justice movement. Participants will:

  • Develop a broader understanding of the political landscape in Michigan, including who holds power in their community and how to influence them.
  • Deepen their awareness and improving their ability to collaborate across issues and communities.
  • Strengthen core leadership skills to engage more fully in organizing, advocacy, and issue campaigns.
  • Learn how to operate in and anti-racist/anti-oppression way.
  • Identify long-term leadership goals and developing a clear plan to increase their political involvement.
  • Feel empowered and equipped to take on greater leadership roles in their community.
  • Build relationships with economic justice leaders and activists across the state.
  • Play a crucial role in promoting economic justice in Michigan.

Applications for the 2022 Fellowship will be available soon!

Justice Speaks! Toastmasters International

The Backstory!

In December of 2020, the Michigan Economic Justice Alliance graduated 55 change agents from their 2020 fellowship program. Many of the graduates were determined to not only stay in contact with the Alliance and their fellow graduates, but to continue building a strong platform for Economic Justice across the state.
They decided to continue to develop their leadership skills and to focus special attention on their ability to deliver powerful and impactful speeches to audiences across the globe.

The 2020 graduating class of the Michigan Economic Justice fellowship set out to charter their first Toastmasters International Club, Justice Speaks!

In May of 2021, with a total of 20 founding members and an array of participants, Justice Speaks! became an officially chartered Toastmasters International Club.

What is Toastmasters International?

Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Headquartered in Englewood, Colo., the organization’s membership exceeds 364,000 in more than 16,200 clubs in 145 countries.

Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders.

Founding Members of Justice Speaks!

Justice Speaks! was founded by graduates of the Michigan Economic Justice Fellowship of 2020. Founding members include:

  • Deniqua Robinson – President
  • Rhonda Askew – Vice President of Membership
  • Victoria Bernett – Vice President of Public Relations
  • Jaime Junior – Vice President of Education
  • Clara Blakely – Immediate Past President
  • Aisha Wells – Sergeant at Arms
  • Oriana Powell – Treasurer
  • Lacy Dawson – Secretary
  • Barbara Burden – Member
  • Dr. Joyce Ellis McNeal – Member
  • Joelena Freeman – Member
  • Gina Luster – Member
  • Janlynn Miller – Member
  • Theresa Mitchell – Member
  • Rochella Steward – Member
  • Lakisha Troup – Member
  • Janel Williams – Member
  • Shandelier Yarn – Member
  • Katrece Jones – Member
  • Kea Matthis – Member

Justice Speaks! The Goals!

The club has set and is determined to meet the following goals within its first year of existence.

  • Be a very proactive space for activist and organizer to increase their leadership abilities through increased confidence in their public speaking skills.
  • Increase membership by 25%.
  • Support members in competing in no less than 3 Toastmasters International speaking competitions.
  • Keep an active membership of no less than 20 members.
  • Become a Toastmasters International Club of Distinction during the first year of existence.

What is a Distinguished Toastmaster Club?

In order to be considered as a Distinguished Club, Justice Speaks! must strive to achieve 10 goals as designated by Toastmasters International. Those goals include having a minimum of 20 active member, having a set number of members complete specific education levels, completing club officer trainings, and adhering to specific administrative duties.

Justice Speaks!

Meeting Schedule

  • 2nd & 4th Tuesday of each month
  • Executive Team Meeting 6:00pm – 6:55pm
  • Toastmasters Session 7:00pm -8:45pm

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