Amplifying Voices in Turbulent Times

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Intercultural Leadership Institute Announces Next 28 Arts & Culture Fellows

The Intercultural Leadership Institute (ILI) today announced the names of the 28 artists and cultural activists selected to participate in a highly sought after year-long intensive leadership program focusing on art & culture as a platform for personal growth and social change.

“We need visionary leaders in these times. Our hope is that these new Fellows will creatively contribute to communities and the nation the kind of hope and passion that have always energized the cultural movements that have transformed our society in so many important ways,” said María De Leon, President & CEO of the National Association of Latino Arts & Cultures (NALAC).

“I firmly believe that these leaders, by building their knowledge and understanding of their collective historical and cultural perspectives will create a new way to work in solidarity while sharpening their professional and leadership skills within the context of their own cultures, to help develop those social and political visions that will help build just and sustainable societies,” De Leon said.

Participants in the Fellowship come from across the United States and represent a range of ages, backgrounds and gender identifications. All of them were carefully selected based on their commitment to work within and across cultures to build a more just society.

“I want to make a deep cultural impact in my community, and I know that I’ll need some guidance along the way,” said Suzy González, a San Antonio based Fellow. “I believe in using our power as creators of culture not just to entertain, but to make change.”

“So often this work teaches you to build your own watering hole, and forget that there are other places to quench your thirst,” said Noel Quiñones, an AfroBoricua poet, performer, and organizer from the Bronx. “Being an ILI Fellow is the proof in the desert I need to keep going, not only for myself but for my Bronx and Latinx familia. I am ready to build.”

While ILI has cultural roots in the Black Arts Movement and the struggles of indigenous peoples and Latinas, the fellowship was established in 2016 by four innovative and visionary organizations: Alternate ROOTS ( based in Atlanta, GA; First Peoples Fund ( based in Rapid City, SD; NALAC ( of San Antonio, TX and PA‘I Foundation ( of Honolulu HI.

The year-long leadership program will bring participants together for three on-site sessions that will be based upon learning approaches that emphasize overlapping experiences, shared spaces and mutual accountability. The on-site locations will be held in the home locations of the founding organizations.

"I am excited at the possibility of investing in my personal growth and building a movement with my peers that lasts beyond the course of the fellowship – and critically looks at how we uplift and build solidarity between marginalized communities from different cultural contexts and understandings,” said Carol Zou, director of programs at Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia.

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Ennis Carter
since: 06/2016
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