Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Recommend us on Google+ Watch us on YouTube Join us on LinkedIn NLC on Reddit
New Leaders Council

Progressive Champion Awards 2016

Something was in the Austin air during the June 16th New Leaders Council Progressive Champion Awards.  The room buzzed with dynamic people who are not often in the same room together: tech innovators, environmentalists, labor organizers, reproductive justice advocates, educators, and others. 

This convergence of motivated persons was not an accident – it was a recipe designed by the fellows of the inaugural cohort of New Leaders Council - Austin.

The exceptionally diverse New Leaders Council Austin fellows recruited an equally diverse cadre of supporters. For their inaugural event, they wanted to honor the Austinites and organizations they most admire. 

Progressive Champion Awards went to:

  • Worker’s Defense Project (Nonprofit Category)
  • Texas Freedom Network’s Texas Rising Youth Program (Nonprofit Category)
  • Second Chance Democrats (Civic Leadership Category)
  • Council Member Greg Casar (Civic Leadership Category)
  • Tony Aguilar of Student Loan Genius (Civic Entrepreneur)
  • Chelsea Collier of Impact Hub (Civic Entrepreneur)

The awardees gave inspiring remarks. Among them was Jacqueline Conn, accepting the award for Second Chance Democrats, which secured a victory with Fair Chance Hiring in Austin this year. NLC_ATX_Jacqueline_Conn.jpg

Introducing Jacqueline was NLC Fellow, Bianca Garcia, who gave the audience a pop-quiz on hiring practices:

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor for possession of marijuana, and complete your sentencing, are you eligible for student loans?” The answer, sadly, is no. Among other difficulties, people who have been convicted face poor employment options by having to declare themselves as such during the first phase of a job application, which often results in their being denied employment. 

Fair Chance Hiring provides applicants a fair chance at employment by removing the conviction history question on the job application and delaying the background check inquiry until later in the hiring process.

Jacqueline pointed out that issues like these often disproportionately affect Latinas like herself and other people of color. And she noted that the fight isn’t over for Fair Chance Hiring, as the Texas legislature is expected to take up the issue in the next session. 

This is one example of the many battles progressives are fighting to ensure that all Texans have the right to prosper

From January to June, NLC-Austin Fellows have been in training to ready themselves for these kind of battles.  They've studied fundraising, message framing, social media, campaign management, public relations, and other skills that will help them to be successful progressive advocates and change agents.

The Progressive Champion Awards were a reminder to NLC fellows and progressive Texans of what we are all working toward: an equitable, prosperous future.

TFN_at_ATXNLC.jpgA testament to their generous network, the Fellows had collectively raised over $10,000 by the end of the awards ceremony on Thursday – all of which will go to support the training for the 2017 NLC-Austin Fellowship class.


Applications are currently being accepted.

Know someone who'd benefit from the NLC-Austin training?

You can nominate them! They'll receive an email encouraging them to apply. 

In the meantime, however, this year’s Fellows have until June 30th to double this amount and ensure the success of 2017’s cohort.  

Women, people of color, people living with disabilities, LGBTQIA identified people, and anyone with a desire to see the marginalized empowered should look into donating to the organization and applying to take part in the next cohort.

If you would like to support New Leaders Council and our fight for a more equitable and prosperous future, please make a donation via our contribution page

Atlanta - Augusta - Austin - Boston - Broward - Capital District NY - Chicago - Cincinnati - Cleveland - Connecticut - Dallas - Denver - Des Moines
Detroit - Houston - Kentucky - Los Angeles - Louisiana - Madison - Maine - Maryland - Miami - Montana - Nashville - New Hampshre - New Jersey - New York City
North Carolina - Oakland - Omaha - Orlando - Palm Beach - Philadelphia - Pittsburgh - Rhode Island - Sacramento - San Antonio - San Francisco - Silicon Valley