Our Inaugural Fellowship
THEME: RACIAL EQUALITY AND INCLUSION
Our inaugural social justice fellowship program began in the Autumn of 2017, bringing together 15 extraordinary individuals under the cohort theme of racial equality. It is the first platform in Hong Kong to bring local, refugee and migrant ethnic minorities and their allies together under one unified banner. The fellows deepened their understanding of laws and policies about racial discrimination while enhancing their organizational and leadership skills to work towards raising awareness in Hong Kong about diversity and inclusion.
Many ethnic minority groups are at a higher risk of being socially excluded and falling under the poverty line; and these trends have only worsened in recent years according to a 2016 study. Xenophobia and negative stereotyping towards refugees, migrants, and local ethnic minorities has worsened in media coverage, negatively affecting public perceptions. However, a recent survey found that 80% of the respondents were keen to learn more about ethnic minorities, indicating that there is a need for further information and members of these communities are the best messengers for providing this.
Fellows attended six dynamic group workshops, with knowledge-sharing from seasoned experts and social leaders from different causes in Hong Kong
Each fellow received coaching and were paired with a community peer mentor to help them develop an action plan to address their own leadership challenges
The fellows have applied their skills and collaborated by working together on a final project activity to raise public awareness about racial equality and inclusion
We received over 60 nominations for our inaugural social justice fellowship with the theme of racial equality and inclusion in Hong Kong, running from December 2017 to April 2018. We were overwhelmed by the passion and dedication to social justice of all the applicants. While we wish we could have accepted all, we selected 15 exceptional fellows who have now completed the fellowship. Through this inaugural program, we have helped build future community spokespeople, particularly from traditionally marginalized and underrepresented groups, and inspired a new generation of social justice leaders.
Qualities we looked for in the Fellows
A demonstrated commitment to serve.
We sought candidates who have clearly expressed and acted in ways that tell us they wanted to tackle social justice problems that affect not just themselves, but their communities. They had been able to show that they already had some meaningful impact and were interested in scaling the work up. They are willing to be spokespeople to champion causes for the greater good.
Showed signs of great potential, but could use more support.
We looked for people who are talented, passionate and committed, but have had little to no opportunities for previous training, capacity-building and leadership development. In particular, they were able to articulate a very clear and specific challenge that they are facing that they hope the fellowship training and mentoring can help them to address.
Care about racial equality in Hong Kong and want to take action.
While they did not have to necessarily have to have worked directly on this issue before, we sought people who are passionate and eager to work collectively to address the fellowship theme. They had to at least be able to show some interest or track record already on promoting diversity, inclusion or multiculturalism and committed to working on the final project activity.
Come from very different walks of life.
We welcomed people of different backgrounds to apply to the program, particularly those from disadvantaged and marginalized communities. We appreciate the knowledge and perspective that diversity can bring to the fellowship discussion. Indeed, we looked not just at individuals but the characteristics of the group itself to ensure a diverse and representative cohort.
Are good role models for others.
Social justice work, to be truly sustainable and authentic, rests on integrity and moral character of its leaders. For that particular reason, we looked for people who are inspiring, humble and collaborative in their approach. They had to follow the golden rule, show respect and concern for others and be consultative in the way they approach their work.