Community Equity Program

Wilders Community Equity Program Cohort of 2019-2020
Experience political leadership from #CommunitytoCapitol

The Community Equity Program (CEP) is an immersive political leadership program at Wilder that brings together up to 20 Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) who want to get involved in state-level policy and fight for change in their communities. CEP will provide participants the knowledge and tools to advocate and advance legislation, engage with policymakers, and build community power and solidarity 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.

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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 closed for the 2021-2022 CEP Cohort. Please check back in May 2022 and stay tuned for more courageous stories, news and updates.

Timeline/Process: The CEP Selection Squad (made up of program alumni + staff) uses a 2-part process to select our 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
Applications are open from Thursday, May 6th - Thursday, June 8th.

Round 2: Group Interviews (Friday, July 9th - Monday, July 19th) 
Interview Notifications: Monday, June 28th
All applicants will receive an update on their application (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). Please make sure you have a date set aside within this time frame in July to interview as no other dates will be offered.

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

2021-2022 Community Equity Program Schedule

Kickoff: Friday, September 10, 2021 | 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

2021-2022 CEP Sessions:

  • Friday, September 24 ,2021 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Friday, October 8, 2021 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Friday, October 22, 2021 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Friday, November 5, 2021 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Friday, November 19, 2021 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Friday, December 3, 2021 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Friday, December 19, 2021 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Friday, January 7, 2022 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Friday, January 21, 2022 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Friday, February 4, 2022 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Friday, February 18, 2022 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Friday, March 4, 2022 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Friday, March 18, 2022 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Friday, April 1, 2022 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Friday, April 15, 2022 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Friday, April 29, 2022 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Friday, May 13, 2021 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Graduation: Friday, May 20, 2022 | 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

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

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

Miah Ulysse

Program Manager, Community Equity Program