Winning Campaigns to Transform the

Criminal Justice System During COVID-19 & Beyond 

FICPFM Organizer Training Fellowship

"Now is the time for an organizing training like this for our movement. I never had organizing 101. I learned on the fly. Here’s an opportunity now for people to actually get organizing 101 and become really skilled advocates."

Norris Henderson, Founder and Executive Director of Voice of the Experienced, FICPFM Steering Committee member

People everywhere are rising up to challenge the criminal justice system. The new COVID-19 pandemic, and the the long standing pandemics of police brutality and racism, make it more urgent than ever for directly impacted people to fight for change.

To seize this moment, we must strengthen our abilities to organize and strategize in new ways amidst rapidly changing conditions of social distancing, organizing online, and economic collapse. 

The FICPFM Organizer Training Fellowship is a two-part certified program for system impacted people. All sessions will be conducted online. 

REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS JUNE 25th! We have limited space in this program so not everyone who registers may be able to participate. Register right away if you are interested!




The purpose of the Fellowship is to:

  • Build the power of formerly incarcerated people

  • Win local, state, and national campaigns to transform the criminal justice system

  • Develop leadership skills to effectively organize online and offline

  • Strengthen collaboration, strategizing, and coordination across groups

  • Grow local chapters and membership

  • Develop a cohort of trainers to train and coach formerly incarcerated people.


Phase One: Organizing Training 

Over this six week online course,  65 formerly incarcerated organizers will build their capacity to organize by learning five leadership practices (see curriculum below) which can be used online and offline for base-building and winning campaigns.


When July 9 to August 20, 2020

              Every Thursday 1-4pm EDT/ 10am-1pm PDT for 6 weeks

Who:  65 formerly incarcerated or directly impacted people from across FIP-led organizations.  Participants may be staff (Director of Organizing, Organizer, or other), organizational members, or volunteers. 2-3 participants from each organization is ideal. 

WhatParticipants will join a 3-hour online experiential workshop designed to directly strengthen their work on the ground. Each session will feature a new skill, with hands-on opportunities to practice and receive feedback. Participants will receive a Certificate from the Leading Change Network upon completion. 


IMG_6270 (1).jpg

Phase 2: Training For Trainers to Build the Movement

After the six-week online organizing training, a subset of participants will be invited to join a Training for Trainers online program. Over the course of six weeks, participants will develop a deeper understanding of the content and pedagogy, while learning how to effectively coach and train new leaders on the ground in the five leadership practices learned in the online training. 

Newly trained trainers from Phase 2 will be encouraged and supported to provide ongoing training for the FICPFM network, local affiliates, and directly impacted communities.

When: Late August to September (TBD)

Who:  A subset of people who completed Phase 1 of the program will be invited to join Phase 2. 

What: Participants will join 6 weekly online workshops over the course of 6-weeks. Participants will receive a Certificate from the Leading Change Network upon completion.


About the Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People’s Movement

The Formerly Incarcerated, Convicted People & Families Movement (FICPFM) is a network of over 50 civil and human rights organizations that are led by people who are living with criminal records, and their family members.  We are a national movement of directly impacted people speaking in our own voices about the need to end mass incarceration, America’s current racial and economic caste system.

The mission of FICPM is to change the criminal justice system and find alternatives to incarceration, and work toward a society where prisons do not exist.

FICPM is led by a Steering Committee of leaders from across the Movement. Participants will get to hear directly from Steering Committee members members and learn from their experiences building the movement.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 3.42.47 pm.png

George Galvis 


Desmond Meade 


Daryl Atkinson

Forward Justice

Miea Walker

Forward Justice

Hamdiya Cooks-Abdullah


Dorsey Nunn


Norris Henderson


Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 3.44.03 pm.png

Bruce Reilly


Deanna Hoskins


Rev Vivian Nixon


Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 3.43.35 pm.png

Manuel La Fontaine

Burns Institute

FICPFM Steering Committee 

About the Training Team 

The training will be delivered by a skilled team of trainers and coaches from the Leading Change Network. Rooted in community organizing, social movements, and civic traditions, the Leading Change Network's approach to change is an adaptive four-step pedagogy based on five key organizing practices that equip people with the leadership skills and capacity to respond with agency to the world’s urgent challenges. 

This approach was originally developed by world renowned organizer and professor,  Marshall Ganz, in collaboration with a global community of activists and organizers. This framework is rooted in a rich history of organizing on the ground in the US and abroad — from the Civil Rights Movement and the United Farm Workers movement, to contemporary movements in a wide range of issue areas such as criminal justice reform, climate change and labor movements, education and healthcare reform, gender equality and political campaigns.

Introducing Abel R. Cano - Lead Trainer 

Abel R. Cano is Founder and ED of The Arc of Change, a Boston-based training initiative focused on harnessing the power of community organizing practices as a transformative craft for leadership and social impact. Abel is Dominican-American, raised in Boston, Honolulu and Indianapolis. As a leadership trainer and coach, Abel’s passion is to ignite breakthroughs that empower a rising generation of social movement leaders.

Encountering the powerful force of family and faith sparked Abel’s desire to be part of something bigger than himself. In Abel’s years of leading trainings around the world, he has learned our capacity to achieve change is limitless when we stand united.

Abel first began organizing against youth violence in high school. He went on to become a first generation college graduate at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where he led the largest Latinx student organization on campus, Casa Latina.


After graduating, Abel joined the Obama Campaign as a staff Field Organizer for Greater Boston and statewide constituency groups in 2012. He went on to lead campaigns to successfully elect first time candidates of color to political office in Massachusetts as a Field Director.


After years of organizing, Abel Cano found himself teaching graduate courses on leadership as a Head Teaching Fellow alongside legendary organizer Marshall Ganz at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Over the past 10 years, Abel has organized in marginalized communities, co-founded a thriving arts nonprofit, served as Field Director on electoral campaigns, trained and coached 1000’s of progressive leaders, and led 100’s of immersive workshops with the world’s leading universities and nonprofit organizations. 

About The Curriculum & Certification  

The Fellowship program’s curriculum is based on the Leading Change Network’s 5 core leadership practices, originally developed by Marshall Ganz and his associates. Throughout Phase 1 of the organizing training, participants will learn each of the 5 core leadership practices (story, relationship, structure, strategy and action), along with the skill of coaching. Participants of Phase 2: Training for Trainers will also learn how to coach and teach others each of these practices.: The core leadership practices:

  • Storytelling Learn how to tell your story, the story of this movement, and the story of this moment in a way that inspires hope and courage and moves people to take action for social change. Building your capacity to tell stories will boost public speaking skills that you can use to talk to the media, lobby legislators, and inspire others in your community to get involved. 

  • Relationships — Movements grow at the speed of trust. Practice building trust and commitment with deep relationships based on authentic stories, shared values and interests, and mastering the organising one-to-one conversation.

  • Team BuildingWhat does it take to win the Super Bowl? A championship team with great coaching and training. Learn how to build strong interdependent leadership teams online and offline. Meaningfully engage your people around a shared purpose, community agreements, and clear roles that enable you to have productive meetings, develop sharp strategy, set goals, and achieve your goals. ​​

  • Strategy & Tactics What’s your campaign goal right now? What’s your theory of change? Who is your target? What tactics and timeline will engage your base and build your power to win? Whether you are working to get people released from prisons and jails right now, supporting reentry programs, or changing state policy, the capacity to develop strategy, especially when the environment is rapidly changing, is critical in order to build your base and win. Learn what others in the movement are doing and strategize together to develop creative new strategies and tactics.

  • Action — Recruit and mobilize large numbers of directly impacted people to take action in ways that will not only advance your campaign goals, but also motivate them to stay engaged for the long haul.


  • Coaching You can’t build a Super Bowl championship team without great coaching. Practice coaching and getting coached by directly impacted people in order to strengthen and deepen all of the leadership skills above. Coaching is the fundamental practice of enabling others to build their power and capacity as organisers and leaders. 

All participants will receive a Certificate from the Leading Change Network (LCN), along with a one year membership of LCN's Community of Practice, giving access to learning opportunities and connection with over 6,000 organizers the US and the world. 

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Movement Capacity Building Team is partnering with the Formerly Incarcerated, Convicted People & Families Movement and Leading Change Network to deliver these courses, with the aim to create leadership training opportunities for grantees and members of the FICPFM Network and the State Justice Accelerator Program. 

LCN-Full-Logo (3).png


About Our Partnership