Damita Hill, Jefferson State’s Director of Development and Community Outreach, was honored recently as a graduate of the inaugural class of Fellows from the Women’s Policy Institute (WPI).
The Fellows included 21 women leaders from across Alabama. They completed a rigorous curriculum and are now equipped with the knowledge and practical skills to engage and lead in all aspects of state-level public policy advocacy.
To catalyze the mounting dialogue and public outcry for a powerful, unified voice for women in the state of Alabama, The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham created the Women’s Policy Institute, a durable and permanent advocacy operation that will bridge the gap between the legislative process and Alabama’s diverse communities. By recruiting current and new women leaders, WPI will provide the training, guidance, and access necessary for women to lead and engage in all aspects of state-level public policy advocacy.
The WPI Fellowship is a 40-hour experiential learning curriculum designed to train community-based leaders in Alabama in public policy advocacy. The goal of WPI is to increase the number and capacity of visionary leaders, their organizations and/or their communities so that they can actively shape and work to implement policies that impact the lives of women in Alabama.
Over the course of the curriculum, mentors, trainers, and experts in policy work cover, in detail, the legislative process in Alabama, the issues affecting women, advocacy campaign planning, and strategies for movement building. WPI Fellows have the unique opportunity to learn real-world policy skills and develop critical solutions to address the needs and barriers facing women across a variety of issues, including workforce participation, healthcare, child care, and more.
Alabama women make up 52 percent of the state’s population and represent an essential demographic, key to the future prosperity of our state and every corner of the globe. Women in Alabama, though overwhelmingly strong and resilient, face immense barriers that can only be assuaged by shifting power dynamics, public policy advocacy, and systems change. The leadership and voices of women are critical in these discussions, processes, and seats at the table.
The Inaugural Women’s Policy Institute Fellows are: Zahrah Abdulrauf, Zaharia Anderson, Jenny Arras, Lillian Brand, McKenzie Burton, Alexus Cumbie, Angela Curry, Rachel Estes, Devin Ford, Jerri Haslem, Theresa Helms, Kristina Hendrix, Damita Hill, Dr. Victoria Hollis, Abbott Jones, Claudia Mesnil-Baez, Belinda Mitchell, Candice Pettaway, Dr. Nadia Richardson, Dr. Jennifer Scalici, and Estela Tirado.
WPI is an equity-centered, women-led strategy for building grassroots leadership and community power. WPI is a sustained effort to identify, cultivate, train, and support women in every region of Alabama to drive policy change from the ground up.