Based in the Pacific Northwest and Mountain States, Western States Center works nationwide to strengthen inclusive democracy. For 30 years, our work has advanced social, racial, and economic justice by convening, developing, organizing, and supporting the communities most affected by inequities. We’ve played a catalytic role, working with community partners to build people-centered movements, develop new leaders, and shift culture - with our eyes on the prize of an inclusive democracy where people can live, love, and work free from bigotry and fear.


Western States Center is seeking seven fellows for our 2019 Defending Democracy Fellowship Program to train organizers and researchers in strategies to counter white nationalism across the country.

Once a contained social movement, white nationalism has morphed into a mass movement with significant public support. The white nationalist movement and its broader “alt-right” coalition is shaping public narrative on national policies, endangering community cohesion, and limiting the rights of people of color, immigrants, refugees, and other marginalized communities.

White nationalism is jeopardizing the gains we’ve made over the past 50 years and endangering democracy here and abroad. That is why preparing our movements to effectively counter the threat of white nationalism is a critical priority in this moment. Western States Center has created this fellowship because the need for leaders in this area of work is increasing. The fellowship is a professional educational and training program that will prepare community leaders to better understand white nationalism and counter it in their communities and in their work.

We are seeking candidates who:

  • Are experienced student organizers, early-career professionals, or mid-career professionals making a shift to justice and progressive movement building work with leadership aspirations.

  • Have a clear racial justice analysis.

  • Have experience in community organizing or investigative research (at least two years, including as a student).

  • Are interested in engaging in anti-hate and progressive movement building work over the course of their career.

  • Have existing relationships with community-based organizations or other institutions for which a deeper understanding of white nationalism and how to counter it would be beneficial to their work.

Fellows will:

  • Learn about organized racist movements through independent study and collaborative work.

  • Be guided by guest experts and organizational leaders in the field.

  • Complete projects to directly counter white nationalism through research and/or organizing, designed in partnership with Western States Center’s Defending Democracy program staff.

The fellowship will last for six (6) months, and fellows will be expected to dedicate approximately 10-15 hours per week over the course of the fellowship. A stipend of $2,500 is available for each fellow, plus travel and lodging costs as well as waived registration to participate in Western States Center’s biennial Activists Mobilizing for Power Conference in Spokane, WA September 5th-8th, 2019. Fellows may be based anywhere in the United States. Some availability during Pacific time zone working hours should be possible.


Please submit your resume and a work sample of your choice along with the answers to application questions at the following link:

The application deadline is May 3rd. Selected fellows will be notified by May 31st, and the fellowship will begin on June 17th and end on December 18th.


  • Application questions to include: describe your experience in organizing and/or research, why you’re interested in this fellowship, your career goals, to whom you believe your work is (or should be) accountable, more?

  • Work sample of your choice: options include a blog or op-ed style writing sample, art or cultural work, research paper, organizing plan, petition text, digital organizing email, or something else!

Western States Center is an equal employment opportunity employer. Employment decisions are based on merit and organizational needs, and not on race, color, citizenship status, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, weight, religion, creed, physical or mental disability, marital status, veteran status, political affiliation, or any other factor protected by law.