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When I applied to be a New Leaders Council-Wisconsin fellow, I was not at the top of my game. I had recently been arrested while engaging in civil disobedience, wrote about it publicly and was professionally sanctioned as a result, and had my self-employment venture completely collapse leaving me without sufficient income to pay my bills.
I secured a position working with people with developmental disabilities for barely more than the minimum wage, started selling my plasma twice a week until my blood protein levels dropped too precipitously, and spent nights driving for Uber. None of this was enough to pay my family’s bills, but I did everything I could to minimize the amount of debt we had to take on to survive.
My central problem was I could not stand the conflict between my progressive values and the conservative nature of my career. I worked for years as a risk management and safety consultant to businesses across the country. I regularly witnessed business owners and managers engaging in illegal or immoral acts against their own employees and/or the public. Participating in those structures of oppression made me miserable every single day. After my business venture failed, I faced a choice: go back into the relatively high-paying career I had left behind, or set off on a new path that would allow me to live by my progressive values.
Long story short, I am now a first-year law student at the University of Wisconsin Law School on the path to founding my own progressive law firm in the Madison area, I run a website devoted to exploring social justice and revolutionary lawyering (SolidarityLaw.com), and I have never been happier. What happened in the meantime during that “long story?” The New Leaders Council.
For me, NLC was a breath of fresh progressive air after inhaling nothing but conservatism for far too long. I suddenly was part of a community of brilliant, passionate, and caring people who were committed to making the world a better place for all who live in it. After years of spending each day feeling alone in my thoughts and values, I suddenly had a network of people who both supported and inspired me to an extent I wouldn’t have imagined possible.
The people who make up the Wisconsin chapter of the New Leaders Council were there for me when I was at a very real crisis in my life, and I have no doubt they will be there for me in the future as I use the skills I learned from the program to make real progressive change in our community. I cannot recommend the NLC highly enough.
Apply today! Or nominate someone who could benefit.
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