DWJ Leadership Fellowship Program

Black Women Organized for Political Action and the Training Institute for Leadership Enrichment (BWOPA/TILE) launched the Dezie Woods Jones (DWJ) Fellowship initiative in 2015 creating space for 35 young leaders to examine and build on BWOPA's core issues - Health, Education, Criminal Justice and Economic Security. Learn more about the past Fellows here.

Annually, BWOPA/TILE welcomes applicants between the ages of 17-30 for a highly selective, seven-week program that prepares and develops emerging leaders to become subject matters experts, advocates and innovators of public policies that positively impact their communities.

The overall goal of the DWJ Public Policy Fellowship initiative is to develop capable BWOPA/TILE’s successors and culture-keepers that will champion a new body of policy work spotlighting BWOPA’s core issues – Criminal Justice Reform, Health, Economic Security and Education.  

With guidance from seasoned political and private industry leaders, DWJ Fellows will:

  • Learn how to craft policies relative to BWOPA’s core interest areas;
  • Participate in educational and professional development training and seminars; 
  • Be given unique opportunities to meet with high-level elected officials and influential leaders who work within the social and political arenas of BWOPA’s core issues;
  • Ascertain and develop political and public service values;
  • Gain invaluable leadership experience by spearheading altruistic projects within California or beyond.

All interested parties should complete the DWJ Public Policy Fellowship online application by December 14th.   During the month of December, information sessions will take place to share more details about the 2016 Fellowship program.  Individual interviews with selected fellows will be scheduled in January 2016.

VISION: BWOPA/TILE envisions women serving in all levels of public leadership.

GOALS:  BWOPA/TILE’s goal is to increase and expand the number of women in public leadership through its myriad of leadership development programs and initiatives and work with other like organizations to support their mission. THE DWJ Public Policy Fellowship program is TILE’s new effort to support emerging leaders develop deeper context of social justice issues, explore system change methods and strategies to execute them into action.


Black Women are Underrepresented at all Levels of Political Office


Black women are 7.4% of the US population and 7.8% of the electorate.  However, there are only 14 black women in Congress (2.6%), 2 black women in statewide elected executive office, 241 black women in state legislatures (3.3%) and 26 black women mayors in cities with populations over 30,000 (1.9%). Only one black woman serves as mayor of one of the 100 largest cities in the US.

Black Women are Critical in Improving Communities


Black women have registered and voted at higher rates than their male counterparts in every election since 1998.   Once in leadership, black women champion the interests of black citizens and underrepresented populations, supporting progressive agendas around education, health care, economic development and criminal justice reform.

Black Women Make the Difference


Black women typically represented more diverse and urban communities than their non-black counterparts.


The DWJ Public Policy Fellowship will feature a council of mentors to engage emerging leaders in a year-long public policy education and training series. Fellows will culminate the year with a presentation and published findings. Highlights of the program year include:  kick-off retreat, community leadership projects, issue-specific seminars, learning excursions (field trips). Fellows will coordinate public offerings and activities throughout the program year.

Fellowship public policy proposals and findings will be published and distributed to the greater public including elected officials, media and community, business and corporate leaders.


We welcome emerging leaders, between the ages of 17-30 years old for our 2020/21 cohort.  Ideal leaders should possess the passion to propel them to explore, investigate, examine and develop innovative and strategic policies for urban communities.

If selected, participants must commit to six (6) leadership circles and participating in a minimum of four (4) scheduled activities / events (see below) to allow maximum and optimal immersion of knowledge, experience and contribution to their program success.



Those interested in participating in the DWJ Fellowship program should submit a statement of interest, include but not limited to, full name, address, phone number, and background (i.e. college studies, extra curriculum activities, honors).

The statement of interest should describe their vision for change in African American women, and why they should be included in the BWOPA/TILE program and what they expect to achieve. The statement of interest should be no more than 800 words.

This year's deadline date to apply is August 1st.  Click here to complete online application. If  you are not able to make the first deadline, please email your interest to participate and/or your questions by July 15th to our TILE Program Assistant Monica Miller or Charlette Viney or at [email protected]traininginstituteonline.com.

FUNDING:  Join and become our partner in the movement to support the expansion of women in public leadership. We need your partnership.  Visit http://www.bwopatileleads.org to show your support.