My CCIL Fellowship

Written by Cara Lewis on August 18, 2017

Springfield Capitol Thumb

I started working for Common Cause Illinois in March for academic credit through my university, and at the end of the quarter, I found myself with projects upon which I wanted to continue working. Luckily, I was able to get a grant from my school that has allowed me to stay on and keep contributing. Over the course of the two quarters, I have learned a number of lessons that will stay with me during my future career.

1.     Teamwork is key. There is no substitute for a team of motivated and intelligent people. Having feedback and support from my incredible cohort of fellows made me a better worker, thinker, and peer.

2.     Organizing is the backbone of any movement. People power requires constant work, but its payoffs are unparalleled. The task of recruiting volunteers and helping maintain relationships between them and CCIL have strengthened my communication skills as well as my confidence.

3.     Democracy is a process. While CCIL has specific goals, they require a long-term strategy. Instead of packing up after achieving one, we look forward to the next step or campaign to support open, honest, and accountable government.

This fellowship is fast-paced; each day you will have a new set of projects to accomplish. For example, one day you might compile reports on a certain democracy issue such as voting rights and the next, you might draft an opinion piece about it to be submitted to publications across the state of Illinois. I worked on several long-term projects, but I never got stuck or bored because I was able to jump between those and the different smaller tasks every day.

From meeting and working with Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. to teaching Chicago Public Schools students about civic engagement, my fellowship at CCIL has given me many irreplaceable opportunities. I have gotten to learn about organizing, coalition building, and the state policy-making process and have been able to participate in work that is both fulfilling and valuable – to me and to our democracy.

Interested applicants should submit a current resume to

Office: Common Cause Illinois

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