"With these powerful arts resources, we are breaking the chains of trauma — turning them into links of community and connection.”


Social Justice Fellowship Program


Art has always been an accessible tool for communication, raising awareness about social issues and affecting positive change.

At A Window Between Worlds, we believe in centering art as a powerful tool for initiating dialogue, raising awareness about social issues, and affecting lasting change.

By empowering community-based leadership, our Social Justice Fellowship Program cultivates the leadership and lived experience of our fellows to innovate collective art actions in communities across the country and abroad.

The AWBW Social Justice Fellowship consists of:

  • A unique year-long personal and professional development opportunity for emerging social justice leaders, including cohort and individual meetings
  • Access to arts resources that create powerful connections that bridge across bias, both for the fellowship year and after
  • Scholarship-funded AWBW Facilitator Training on June 23-24, 2022 & Art Supply Stipend


"I never thought I would connect with the [art] as much as I did today. I have more of an impact than what I thought. I can continue to make my community safer by advocating for people’s rights and for more inclusivity across our campus."


Rialto Unified School District, California

"Drawing my depression makes me feel like I can cover it with love."


Prism Youth, Kansas

“The Windows art program has enabled participants to connect with their hopes and dreams, find the language to articulate their trauma, and reflect on meaningful ways of self-care and healing, in a safer, non- judgemental space.”


Just Detention International, South Africa

"I never thought I would connect with the [art] as much as I did today. I have more of an impact than what I thought. I can continue to make my community safer by advocating for people’s rights and for more inclusivity across our campus."


Rialto Unified School District, California

"Drawing my depression makes me feel like I can cover it with love."


Prism Youth, Kansas

“The Windows art program has enabled participants to connect with their hopes and dreams, find the language to articulate their trauma, and reflect on meaningful ways of self-care and healing, in a safer, non- judgemental space.”


Just Detention International, South Africa


UNATHI MAHLATI<br/> <span>Just Detention International</span><br/> <span>South Africa</span>
Just Detention International
South Africa

Unathi Mahlati
Just Detention International, South Africa


Unathi Mahlati is a Programme Officer at Just Detention International-South Africa (JDI-SA) — a health and human rights organisation that seeks to end sexual violence in all forms of detention. She is passionate about protecting and advancing the rights of marginalised and vulnerable populations. She is equally passionate about storytelling as a tool for reflection, healing, and shining a spotlight on contested issues. She conducts research, provides technical support to the Department of Correctional Services’ (DCS) officials, manages JDI-SA’s communications, and ensures that survivors of sexual violence in detention get the psychosocial support they need and deserve.


As a Social Justice Fellow, Unathi is pairing the Windows art program with discussions with currently and formerly incarcerated women aimed at better understanding the health and safety needs of women behind bars — the majority of whom have suffered sequential gender-based violence. The Window workshops are a valuable tool for reflection, healing, and creative expression, enabling participants to find the language to articulate their trauma, and reflect on meaningful ways of self-care and healing, in a safer, non-judgmental space.


The inward-looking process of creating art allows participants to acknowledge their needs for healing. This awareness of both individual and collective healing has led to participants expressing a need for counseling, something that JDI-SA has been facilitating through its counseling partner organization. This is a crucial step towards ensuring participants’ well-being and processing of trauma ahead of their leadership roles in our advocacy work to end sexual violence in detention. Moving forward, the participants’ counseling needs underscore the necessity for the DCS to make the Windows art program and counseling services available to all incarcerated persons; JDI-SA is currently working to make this a reality.

<h4>SHANIKA RUCKER, LCSW</h4> <br/><p>Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants</p>
Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants

Shanika Rucker, LCSW
Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants, Connecticut


Shanika Rucker is the Clinical Program Manager of Survivor Services at Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) and has a part-time private practice where she provides arts-based psychotherapy. At CIRI, she supervises the program Case Manager and Staff Attorney, who provide direct services to torture survivors. In addition, she offers clinical support to agency staff, coordinates the Mental Health Evaluator Network, and conducts statewide presentations to raise awareness on the only torture survivor program in Connecticut.


At the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants, services are provided to arriving refugees, unaccompanied minors, and survivors of torture and/or human trafficking through comprehensive case management, advocacy, immigration legal aid, and community referrals. These services are complemented with a focus on building client’s economic independence and security through workforce readiness and job placement services as well as financial literacy education.


As a Social Justice Fellow, Shanika will use the Windows program to serve CIRI’s work as it spans from the personal to the systemic levels of change. On the personal level, a key area of focus will be self-care, which can be extremely difficult to cultivate amidst the crisis circumstances and multi-layered trauma CIRI's clients navigate. There is almost no language to anchor actions of self-care. Shanika will develop Windows workshops to support CIRI’s clients to conceptualize self-care and create their own resources and road map navigating the dimensions of well-being: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environmental, occupational. On the systemic level, Shanika will explore how art can enable legislators to not only see and hear but literally carry the voices of refugees and immigrants in their policy development. As part of the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs that meets to lobby in March every year, Shanika will explore art-based tools to leverage collective impact.

<h4>CARLOS MARES</h4><br/> <p>Rialto Unified School District</p><br/> <p>California</p>
Rialto Unified School District

Carlos Mares
Rialto Unified School District, California


Carlos Mares is the Restorative Practices Coach for Rialto Unified School District. His goal is to transform the lives of children and youth dealing with trauma through healing and connection. He works to provide a collective space to students of all grade levels and sub-populations through the use of support groups and restorative community circles where students have a voice as far as their disparities, direct trauma, vicarious trauma, victims of systematic oppressions and building opportunities for awareness in the community.


As a Social Justice Fellow, Carlos will utilize his role and platform at Rialto to facilitate a creative way for students from marginalized communities to express trauma and healing and most importantly, voice. He will use the Windows art program to create an open and inclusive space for students and families to come together collectively. This safe space of voice and belonging will then allow for his school district to develop advocacy work, inviting the community to join Rialto Unified to empower community voice and choice in educational needs and community needs.

MICHELLE DANIELS-HOLLOWAY<br/><p>S.P.E.A.K. OUT LOUD</p><br/> <p>California</p>

Michelle Daniels-Holloway
S.P.E.A.K. OUT LOUD, California


Michelle Daniels-Holloway is Founder/Executive Director at S.P.E.A.K. OUT LOUD, a Los Angeles-based organization that serves as a voice for the voiceless. S.P.E.A.K. OUT LOUD is dedicated to serving underserved & at-risk youth through advocacy, initiatives and ongoing support to create positive change and catapult them into long term success.


As a Social Justice Fellow, Michelle will establish a bi-weekly art program for youth and innovate Windows practices that serve S.P.E.A.K. OUT LOUD’s ongoing community outreach. By helping youth to find their own unique voice and speak out, Michelle aims to positively develop their leadership in the areas of social justice and racial equality, with an ultimate goal to positively impact system change. S.P.E.A.K. OUT LOUD understands that working to create positive change in these areas is not an easy task and requires confronting factual decades of ongoing trauma of racial inequality, social injustice, and the systems currently in place that negatively impact our youth today. Michelle aims to be a beacon of light within these communities. She believes that there is indeed hope to create better systems for a better future, and as a Social Justice Fellow, she will innovate with youth the role creative healing can play in birthing positive change.

<h4>ANNE HILLMAN</h4><br/> <p>Out North</p> <br/><p>Alaska</p>
Out North

Anne Hillman
Out North, Alaska


Anne Hillman is Mental Health Mosaics Project Director and Lead Reporter at Out North, an Alaska-based organization which has focused for 35+ years on amplifying the voices of underrepresented communities with an initial focus on the LGBTQ+ community. Anne leads their new project Mental Health Mosaics, a journalism, arts, and community engagement project focused on destigmatizing mental health.


As a Social Justice Fellow Anne will develop Windows workshops that engage community members, especially those who have experienced oppression, in immersive experiences that help them process trauma and discuss mental health in healing rather than damaging ways. These sessions, in conjunction with Out North’s podcast episode releases, will build art as an entry point for deeper conversations about individual and community health including discussions of solutions for systemic problems. This is especially relevant in Alaska where the effects of colonization are vivid and evident in all systems and in the high rates of intergenerational trauma and abuse. Anne believes that the Windows program will help her listen to people and understand these issues in new ways, connecting with others—and with herself—through avenues that help her see people more clearly. Anne’s goal is to make the reporting/podcast aspects of Mosaics more effective in sparking community change.

<h4>XELESTIÁL MORENO-LUZ</h4><br/> <p>REACH LA</p><br/> <p>California</p>

Xelestiál Moreno-Luz
REACH LA, California


Xelestiál Moreno-Luz (she/her/ella) is a Los Angeles-based artist who uses Photography and Cinematography to uplift, empower, and weave solidarity networks that highlight LGBTQIA+ communities of color. Her community work in approach to art production comes from a lack of trans and queer inclusion within institutional art programming. In her efforts to combat art inequity she has led social actions that highlight art production, fostered community spaces through magazine making programs, and curated photography incubators for queer and transgender people in Los Angeles.


As a Social Justice Fellow, Xelestiál plans to tap into a framework of healing to holistically serve and empower LGBTQIA+ clients & staff at her organization, REACH LA, where she currently serves as the Program Manager. She aims to cultivate art incubators free from judgment and harm, tailoring spaces of inclusivity by fostering collaboration, and bridge networks of care between communities of color. Xelestiál’s ultimate goal is to design a framework for queer-trans art education that utilizes affirming mental health practices when engaging in curriculums that center community art production.

<h4>AMY CHOU</h4> <br/><p>Los Angeles Education Partnership</p><br/> <p>California</p>
Los Angeles Education Partnership

Amy Chou
Los Angeles Education Partnership, California


Amy Chou is an evolving equity-minded educator at Los Angeles Education Partnership, a nonprofit organization that advances educational equity. Amy is committed to building transformation, resilience, and promise because every voice and contribution matters. She is a dynamic facilitator who uses art and storytelling to nurture the growth and development of those she serves. As a transformative leader and coach, Amy is inspired to co-create an equitable path forward together with the community to increase transformative relationships and systemic change through authentic interconnection.


During her time as a Social Justice Fellow, Amy plans to develop a project that will focus on an interdisciplinary experience that infuses the arts in equity-focused leadership development. The end goal is to create more equitable schools for underserved and historically marginalized students by exploring ways, through art, to identify and process emotions with the school community for healing and prevent distortion of LAEP’s work.

<h4>ALLISON KNIER</h4> <br/><p>Prism Youth</p><br/> <p>Kansas</p>
Prism Youth

Allison Knier
Prism Youth, Kansas


Allison Knier created Prism Youth — A first-of-its-kind program of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Finney County Kansas. Prism Youth caters to LGBTQIIA+ youth and allies in grades 5-8, providing a safe space where they can be themselves, weaving in education about safe relationships, mental health, first aid, bystander options, how to access resources, and how to support their peers. Allison is an LGBTQIIA+ parent who aims to create a ripple effect of mental health awareness, resource awareness, and relationship safety for her group participants and their peers.


As a Social Justice Fellow, Allison will provide an outlet that currently isn't available to LGBTQIIA+ youth in rural southwest Kansas. A Window Between Worlds gives Prism Youth an amazing opportunity to create an environment where the students feel safe and supported using art to build community and establish safety within a population especially vulnerable in rural Kansas. That feeling of belonging is one of the most important elements of safety and empowerment. Art is one of the most requested activities, and the resources and training are of great value to the mission of Prism Youth.

<h4>ESMERALDA MENDOZA</h4><br/> <p>East Bay Sanctuary</p><br/> <p>California</p>
East Bay Sanctuary

Esmeralda Mendoza
East Bay Sanctuary, California


Esmeralda Mendoza currently works in Berkeley, CA at East Bay Sanctuary, an organization that provides legal and social services, community organizing, and transformative education to support low-income, undocumented immigrants. Esmeralda facilitates a group of indigenous Maya Mam women coming together to share their needs and experiences with trauma.


As a Social Justice Fellow, Emeralda intends to use art as part of a model of training, empowerment and support for Mam Maya women to become advocates in their own lives and in their communities and build on this model to create similar groups for other marginalized low-income immigrants in the community. Esmeralda’s goal is to use art and stories as part of the Amplifying Sanctuary Voices oral history project to help educate the broader community about immigrant rights.



Please fill out the form below to be notified when the next application cycle opens.

Visit our frequently asked questions below for more info. For additional questions, contact us at fellowships@awbw.org




No, participants are not required to have a formal leadership position in their work or volunteer roles, but should be able to demonstrate their interest in further developing their leadership skills.

No, experience in the not-for-profit and public sectors, or experience in a role with an explicit social mandate, is not a requirement.

No. All applicants are welcome regardless of educational background.

While our organization is based in the Los Angeles area, our network of 750+ Windows Facilitators live all across the nation and abroad.  You are not required to live locally. You should, however, have a meaningful connection to the community you serve.

Please only apply once per application cycle.

Here are some qualities that contribute to a competitive application:

  • Time and capacity to attend online sessions and commit to fellowship work
  • Diverse skill sets, backgrounds and experiences
  • Commitment to driving social justice change
    Strong relationships and experience with the community/organization you plan to work with
  • Curiosity and openness to learning
    Personal and professional development goals for the Fellowship
  • Strong interest in working on the issues that are central to advancing social justice

All applications must be for one person only.  During the Fellowship, you will have the opportunity to collaborate and work with other fellows.


No. There are no fees for the AWBW Social Justice Fellowship. Your $1500 AWBW Facilitator Training scholarship  is supported by private donors.

The AWBW Social Justice Fellowship offers stipends to reduce the expense of art supplies for individuals served. Applications will be available during the last quarter of  the Fellowship.


The AWBW Social Justice Fellowship runs from June 2022 to May 2023.

Fellowship activities include:

  • Mandatory Facilitator Training June 23-24, 2022
  • Introductory & Quarterly Cohort Meetings (June 7, June 28, September 27, December 13, 2022 & March 14, 2023)
  • Bi-monthly status and support sessions with AWBW Staff
  • Culminating vision session recording

Fellows will work collaboratively and therefore must be able to meet regularly with the cohort throughout the year-long Fellowship.

Successful candidates will receive a comprehensive program schedule prior to the first session.

No. All of our sessions will be held via Zoom.

Fellows will sit for recorded interviews during the last quarter of the fellowship year, reflecting on the arc of their progress as facilitators.
Fellowship applications are reviewed and scored by a review committee composed of AWBW stakeholders. Each Application is reviewed separately by multiple panel members. AWBW is committed to  producing a diverse fellowship that is considerate of the balance of  sector distribution, geographical location and demographics when finalizing application decisions. Successful applicants will be contacted in late May.