Community Equity Program

A group of Black, Indigenous and People of Color pausing for a picture while hiking on a retreat with the Community Equity Program at Wilder
Experience political leadership from #CommunitytoCapitol

The Community Equity Program (CEP) is an immersive political leadership program housed at Wilder that brings together Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) who want to get involved in Minnesota’s legislative policy and fight for change in their communities. Led by a BIPOC team, CEP provides participants with a 9-month cohort experience along with knowledge and tools to: advocate and advance state-level legislation, engage with policymakers, question existing systems of power, create space for dreaming, and ultimately, build community power and solidarity to advance justice at the Capitol. 

Note: this program does not explicitly focus on electoral politics or running for office (but can help you in the long run if you do!). The cost to join CEP is free and only requires time and commitment.

Community Equity Program 2021-2022 Graduates

Congratulations to the 2021-2022 cohort finishing their political leadership journey through the Community Equity Program! 

Meet CEP's incredible BIPOC community leaders and learn more about who they are and why they joined the Community Equity Program. Want to join CEP in 2022-2023? Apply online!

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About Community Equity Program

Community Equity Program's mission is to deepen engagement of BIPOC communities in the legislative process by building connections to people, communities, groups, and organizations that influence or enact public policy. 


I always felt like my life was shaped and determined by decision makers. Being in this program has allowed me to step up and be part of the decision-making.


Phillipe Cunningham, 2015 CEP Alum

Apply to the Community Equity Program

Applications are now open: We invite you to apply for the Community Equity Program and join CEP's 2022-2023 Cohort!

And, for the first time in CEP's history, we are excited to announce that we will be offering a $1,000 stipend (taxable) to each participant, dispersed at the end of the program. Funds can be used at the discretion of the participant and this stipend is offered as a token of appreciation for the investment of time and energy participants will each spend embarking on this journey. 

Note: Applications will be accepted until Sunday, June 5 at 11:59 pm Central Time.

Timeline/Process: The CEP Selection Squad (made up of program alumni + staff) uses a 2-part process to select the next cohort - an online application and a virtual group interview. In Round 1, all applicants will have their applications reviewed and scored by a staff + 2 alumni. Those who advance to Round 2 will participate in a Zoom group interview with 1-2 other applicants.

Round 1: Applications are accepted from Monday, May 2nd - Sunday, June 5 at 11:59pm.

Round 2: Group Interviews (Monday, July 11th - Thursday, July 21st) 
All applicants will receive an update on the status of their application on/before Wednesday, June 22nd by 7pm (either you will advance to the group interview round or your application will not move forward). Interview slots will be offered in the morning, afternoon, and early evening (roughly 8am-6pm start times). There will be no weekend interviews.

Final Decision: Applicants will receive an email notification regarding a final determination on/before Friday, July 29th by 7pm.

I thought, ‘Well, if I’m not going to be in the Legislature, I’d still like to engage it.’ That’s really what drew me to the program.

Linda Garrett-Johnson, 2018-2019 CEP Alum

2022-2023 Community Equity Program Schedule

Kickoff: Wednesday, September 14 | 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. (in-person)

2022-2023 CEP Sessions:

  • Friday, September 23 
  • Friday, October 7 & 21 
  • Friday, November 4 & 18 
  • Friday, December 2 & 16 
  • Friday, January 6 (in-person) & 20 
  • Friday, February 3 & 17 
  • Friday, March 3 & 17 (in-person) & 31
  • Friday, April 14 & 28 (in-person)
  • Friday, May 12

I spent two years working in community health education and health promotion. While doing this work with my community partners, our biggest challenges often involved the policies that made accessing quality healthcare services more difficult. In 2018, I returned to Minnesota with an interest in becoming fully engaged in local policy development and learning about tangible methods to change the policies that negatively impact the well-being of our communities of color.  

When I learned about the Community Equity Program, I was excited to build connections with other BIPOC individuals who were passionate about public policy and to develop a deeper understanding of our legislative system. Throughout my participation in this program, I gained valuable insight into the ways that I can participate and advocate at the Capitol and within the local policy world. Along with this knowledge and most importantly, I met kind and amazing change-makers in this program. I am excited to continue these relationships and to support the great work of each member of my cohort. I will remember my time in this program as a space for growth, learning, and connection. 

Chelsea Williams, 2019-2020 CEP Alum

Meet the Changemakers of the Community Equity Program

Congratulations BIPOC Leaders! 

Get to know the 2021-2022 CEP cohort who just started their leadership journey. Find out who they are, what they are invested in and why they joined CEP.

Stories, Research & Impact

Lindberg Chambliss

Community Equity Program Helps Lindberg Chambliss Advocate for Anti-Racist Education

Lindberg Chambliss moved to Minneapolis in October 2020, intent on helping drive positive change after the murder of George Floyd. Lindberg, who had previously lived in Minneapolis, was exploring ways to support anti-racist education whe...More about this story »

Priscilla Villa-Watt, Wilder Community Equity Program participant 2020-2021

Priscilla Villa-Watt Used the Community Equity Program to Enhance her Public Policy Skills While Building a Community

After working to strengthen environmental protections in Texas, Priscilla Villa-Watt moved to Minnesota in 2019 to become the advocacy and public policy manager for Eureka Recycling, a nonprofit zero waste organization and social enterpr...More about this story »

Triasia Givens, graduate of Community Equity Program

Community Equity Program Alum Triasia Givens Advocates for Education

Triasia Givens joined Wilder’s Community Equity Program in fall 2019 because she wanted to join with others to create change in the community. Triasia is the co-chair of the Black Parents Advisory Council of Minneapolis Public Schools an...More about this story »

Linda Garrett-Johnson, a graduate of Community Equity Program at Wilder

Community Equity Program Gives Experienced Leader Linda Garrett-Johnson a Deeper Understanding of the Legislative Process

With more than 25 years of experience advocating for public policy changes, Linda Garrett-Johnson knows how to read a bill. Even with her experience, Wilder’s Community Equity Program helped Linda deepen her knowledge of the Minnesota le...More about this story »

Meet the Community Equity Program Team

Adrián Rafael Magaña

Director of Public Policy & Community Relations

Miah Ulysse

Program Manager, Community Equity Program