At Dream.Org, we know that those who are closest to the problem are often those closest to the solution. That is why we are proud to host the Empathy Network Advocacy Cohort, a training program created to provide justice-impacted leaders with the skills and tools they need to change the criminal justice system, such as how to be an effective organizer as well as campaign, advocacy, and media skills.
Kenneth Nixon graduated from the program in early 2022 after serving 16 years behind bars in Michigan for a crime he didn’t commit. After a judge overturned his conviction in April 2021, Kenneth left prison as a free man and reunited with his family.
After release, Kenneth immersed himself fully in the realm of Criminal Justice Reform and founded a non-profit dedicated to helping others in similar situations. He quickly realized he couldn’t do it alone and enrolled in the Advocacy cohort where he developed the skills needed to advance his newly formed nonprofit.
Kenneth described his experience as transformative:
“I'm fresh out of a prison cell. I didn't know anything about forming a non-profit, sending out mass emails, or being able to collect data on your supporters. But learning it allowed me to take my organization to the next level. The Organization of Exonerees wouldn't be what it is without the training provided by this cohort.”
The Empathy Network Advocacy Cohort is built on Dream.Org's record of success in developing leaders in the criminal justice reform movement to lead historic victories at the local, state, and federal level—including passing the First Step Act into law, reforming women’s prisons across 13 states, and making progress to cut incarceration nationwide. The program is three months of intense training followed by three months of mentorship by Justice team.
The program is run by some of the best advocacy trainers in the country and is designed to empower cohort members to advance solutions that cut incarceration, reimagine justice, and make our communities safer.
Over three months, leaders in each cohort will learn critical skills such as:
- Building an organizing strategy
- Legislative advocacy
- Creating paths of engagement with local, state and federal stakeholders
- Tactics to escalate campaigns over time
- Digital organizing using social media, virtual events, and other online tools
- Graphic design and content calendar building
- Spokesperson and media training
Meet the 2022 Cohort
Dream.Org is fighting for a society in which there is freedom and dignity for all. But, we can’t do it alone. We invite you to become a partner with us in training and ushering in the new social justice leaders of tomorrow. With your support we can continue the work of bringing people together across racial, social, and partisan lines to create a future with freedom and dignity for all.