Skip to main content
Organizing Accelerator DC Weekend
Press Statement May 16, 2023

Activists Gather in Washington, D.C. for Weekend of Learning and Collaboration

Organizing Accelerator DC Weekend


May 16, 2023


NAACP | Chyna Fields

Groundwork Project | Anna Sophie Tinneny

WASHINGTON – Sixteen grassroots organizers from across the country gathered in Washington, D.C. for the second of three in-person weekends led by The Organizing Accelerator Fellowship Program. The Organizing Accelerator, created in partnership between the NAACP and Groundwork Project, is a twenty-week fellowship program for emerging organizers, campaigners, social justice advocates, and future civil rights leaders. 

"The foundation of every movement for justice is rooted in collaboration and connection," said Derrick Johnson, President & CEO of the NAACP. "The NAACP is proud to partner with the Groundwork Project to bring together this cohort of passionate and dedicated organizers and provide a space for them to learn and grow together. We are building a diverse, inclusive, and representative bench of organizers that will power social change today and for future generations. The skills learned and bonds built this weekend will help bring their work to the next level and ensure that every Black community across the country is able to fight, win, and thrive."

Through this first-of-a-kind program, fellows are receiving fundamental and advanced organizing skills training, senior mentorship, and an opportunity to apply for a micro-grant to support their ongoing and future community organizing projects. Over the four-day retreat, the cohort toured the U.S. Capitol and the White House, networked with Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill, in addition to meeting with NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson and Groundwork Project Founder Joe Kennedy. Harnessing the power of both the NAACP and Groundwork Project, fellows gained a behind-the-scenes look into how to effectively utilize organizing tactics to enact change at the nation's capitol. 

The weekend included training and leadership workshops to help fellows continue to build their advocacy skills and offered them the opportunity to interface with a panel of Washington, D.C. based organizers. Photos from the retreat are available for press here.

"At Groundwork, we believe in investing in people — and that's the core tenet of The Organizing Accelerator. There is no shortage of talented organizers in our country, but there is a lack of resources provided to them. With its storied history of nurturing and supporting changemakers, we are proud to partner with the NAACP in this mission to reimagine organizing," said Joe Kennedy, Founder of Groundwork Project. "The Organizing Accelerator aims to fill in where the system falls short by equipping organizers with the tools they need to advocate for their communities. This is a long-term investment. As fellows expand their networks and add to their toolboxes throughout this program, they'll be able to help their peers back home do the same. This weekend was full of fantastic workshops and priceless memories, and I'd like to thank the University of Delaware's Biden Institute for helping to curate a phenomenal weekend.

The cohort will reconvene in Jackson, Mississippi next month for the final Organizing Accelerator weekend. Over the past year, the NAACP has been at the forefront of the local fight to secure clean water and protect voting rights for Jackson residents. During their time in Jackson, Organizing Accelerator fellows will learn more about efforts to address the ongoing Jackson Water Crisis and how local leaders are mobilizing against harmful state legislation.


About NAACP:

The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.

About Groundwork Project:

Groundwork Project, founded by Joe Kennedy, invests in community organizers, advocates, and activists working year-round in places traditionally under-resourced, excluded, and ignored. GWP invests in hyperlocal efforts that build sustainable political infrastructure, engage and educate voters, and build power for the underrepresented and disenfranchised.