2017 Fellows


Fellowship 2017 Overview

The 2017 Fellowship took place from July 9th - August 5th. 11 fellows from across the country from various Historically Black Colleges and Universities from different backgrounds came together to help the community members living under BWEMC. The fellowship also included 3 fellow mentors who guided the fellows on a daily basis, and 3 community mentors who helped everyone ensure logistics and messaging made since for the community.

Fellows were separated into three groups and were tasked with working in either Marengo County, Sumter County, or Choctaw County. While there fellows were tasked with getting community information for the database, mapping important areas in the community, identifying and cultivating leadership in their counties, and doing a photo series of their county. Fellows were also encouraged to do interviews with the community about their experiences with BWEMC. All tools were provided by REC Democracy Project.


2017 Fellowship Participants

Fellows:                                 Fellow Mentors:              Community Mentors:

Amari Teal                            Eddy Pierre                       Cordarrius Perry (2016 Fellow)

Christine Smith                   Ian Lawrence                   Erin Craig (2016 Fellow)

Jordan Miller                      Shardea Womack            Vanessa Gulley (2016 Fellow)

Kha'doe Ra Crosby

Kendall Lawson

Madison Torry

Marlayna Jackson

Montel Murry

Rachael McLauglin

Shakira Mcbride

Sydney Clayborn



  • The average age of the fellows in 2017 was 20
  • The average age of the mentors (fellows and community) was 25
  • Fellows were comprised of 8 women, 3 men
  • Mentors (fellow and community) was comprised of 4 men, 2 women
  • Universities Represented: Xavier University of L.A, Dillard University of L.A, Tuskegee University of A.L, Wallace Community College of A.L, Southern University of L.A North Carolina A&T of State of N.C, Alcorn State of M.S, Spelman College of G.A, University of West Alabama of A.L, and the New School of N.Y.
  • Fields of Study, B.A: Political Science, Business, Engineering, Sociology, Finance and Supply Chain Management, English, Mass Communication, Spanish, Comparative Women's Study,
  • Fields of Study, M.A or higher: International Affairs, Education, Law
  • Where were they from? Chicago, IL, New Orleans, L.A, Selma, A.L, Greensboro, N.C, Carson, C.A, Hayward, C.A,  St. John, F.L, Fairfield, C.A, Mary Ester, F.L, Settle, W.A.

Successes and Lessons

Fellows collected 655 names in three weeks. 

Fellows successfully completed GIS mapping using google maps

Each team successfully found churches in their counties which have become leadership hubs for the campaign

Fellows successfully identified and met two current board members, which previously had not been accomplished

With the help of the fellows, the date of the annual meeting has been announced, and the for the first time ever the bylaws were posted online.



"When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure."


- Peter Marshall

Shining Stars

This year, the fellowship held a friendly competition among teams. This year, The Red Team "Roll Tide" knocked it out of the park. Despite their concerns, hesitations, coupled with their distinctly different personalities, they achieved their goals. They not only got the most names in our database, they were able to successfully identify leadership and cultivate them. They also had the most popular final presentation and photo series by anonymous vote. Congrats to team red, you guys killed it!

Team Red

Fellow Mentor - Eddy Pierre, age 26

Community Mentor - Cordarrius Perry


Amari Teal

Kha 'do Crosby

Marlayna Jackson

Shakira McBride


Final Presentations

Fellows were tasked with making a short presentation that describes their experience during the four weeks while in Alabama. They were encouraged to discuss, what they learned, what they loved, and their most difficult lessons. Because the teams were separated into different counties, their experiences in the field were highly unique to the areas they worked in. After four weeks, the fellows found their voices, and put their ideas together. These presentations represent much more than what was written. They are a testament to overcoming difficulties. Working with new people can be hard. Working with new communities can deflate your confidence. Learning new ideas and creating a grassroots message requires practice and perseverance. The fellows pressed through and thus creating refined jewels of themselves. We are all proud of our 2017 Fellows.


Check out the fellow presentations bellow.


Team Red: White or Wrong

Team Blue: Agents of Change

Team Yellow: Operation Impact