Ayada Leads

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Amount: $75,000

Term: 2 years 

We are the first and only organization that encourages and trains African Diaspora women to run for office. We are committed to strengthening our democracy by ensuring that nobody is left out of the civic process, revealing the full talent that America has to offer for service in elected offices. 

Ayada Leads supports New Americans, particularly African diaspora women, to overcome obstacles preventing them from achieving their leadership ambitions. Their core work includes innovative civic engagement strategies, leadership development, and demystification of the process of running for office. They work to build a world in which African diaspora women and girls feel valued, safe, and prepared to achieve their academic, professional, and leadership dreams. 

Since 2015, Ayada Leads has encouraged African diaspora women, their families, and their communities to participate in the civic life of their cities and states. Their work to build a multiracial democracy where everyone can engage in the civic process is helping to eradicate racism and Islamophobia and shape a better future. Because of Ayada Leads, more African diaspora women are leading in political office at every level – state, county, and city. 

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Their innovative and intersectional approach includes candidate recruitment, training, and support that recognizes and addresses the unique challenges African diaspora women face in running for office. Their programs coach trainees to act from their innate strengths, not from a prescriptive set of strategies. Ayada Leads embraces their trainees’ identity as an essential way to develop and practice civic leadership. 

Ayada Leads’ work is authentic, collaborative, and rooted in relationship building. They prioritize relationships over one-size-fits-all skills training and meet their community where they are. Put together, their goal is not simply to have innovative programming, but to create an inclusive space for community where African diaspora women feel belonging. 

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By building inviting spaces for African diaspora women, breaking down stereotypes, and demystifying misconceptions surrounding African and Muslim women and civic leadership, Ayada Leads is building an anti-racist and pro-immigrant future where African diaspora women thrive in leadership. 

Get to know Ayada Leads