JustLead Washington and the Leadership Academy’s Spokane Retreat

Contributed by Jennifer Werdell, JustLead’s Executive Director

Just before the current traveling and gathering restrictions were put into place, JustLead Washington carried out its most recent 3-day Leadership Academy retreat in Spokane. While JustLead has always drawn Academy Fellows from around the state, this marked the first time a retreat was hosted in Eastern Washington. Fellows came together to share their individual “leadership stories”—powerful personal narratives explaining how they each were called to equity and justice work—and heard from Academy alumni Francis Adewale and Riddhi Mukhopadhyay about engaging systems and community stakeholders.

Friday night during the retreat, JustLead also hosted a reception for Fellows, alumni, and friends. “Perhaps the best illustration of how much JustLead is impacting communities east of the Cascades was the presence of so many community leaders, activists, and academics, many of whom were proud to share their experience as alumni of the Leadership Academy,” said Adewale, also a JustLead and Access to Justice Board member. “The weekend was a testament to JustLead’s efforts to truly expand statewide the Circle of Human Concern.”

Following the retreat, JustLead supported Excelerate Success and a cohort of racial justice advocates to offer two racial justice learning discussions with Dr. Leticia Nieto and Fleur Larsen. Close to 90 community members from Spokane joined the sessions to explore strategies for addressing internalized racism and horizontal oppression. The brief sessions were merely a starting point, and the racial justice community in Spokane committed to ongoing follow up work.

JustLead will start to recruit for the next Leadership Academy in the fall, with the 2021 program expected to launch by next March. JustLead is also continuing to roll out virtual CLE programming, workshops, and articles to support advocates during the COVID-19 crisis. To stay up to date, visit JustLead’s Facebook page.